A POPULAR chain is preparing to open its new £2.6million pub and hotel in the heart of Dovercourt.

JD Wetherspoon will throw open the doors to the Bottle Kiln on Tuesday, March 28.

The company has developed the pub and nine-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Co-op furniture store, in Kingsway.

It has created 60 jobs.

Community stalwart Les Nicoll will be on hand to officially open the pub at 10am.

Mr Nicoll, of Dovercourt, is a retired firefighter who works as a “community builder” and chairs Harwich and District Food Bank.

The venue, which was named by Standard readers, will be managed by Peter Campbell.

He said: “We are looking forward to welcoming customers.

"We are confident it will be a great addition to the Dovercourt community.”

The name of the pub derives from the for mer use of the site as a mill, which was was owned by one-time Mayor of Harwich John Patrick.

By 1881, the mill consisted of 12 cement kilns and drying flues, as well as 14 distinctive bottle kilns.

The pub will be open from 7am until midnight from Sunday to Thursday and from 7am until 1am on Friday and Saturday.

Historical photos and works of art are displayed in the pub, together with information boards relating to upcoming events.

On display in the hotel bedrooms are paintings by pupils at the nearby St Joseph’s Primary School.

Artwork in the pub includes black and white photographs of Dovercourt by local professional photographer Marcus Howlett, and a painting by local artist Sylvia Paul.