History of a Lanarkshire icon
The history of Angels Hotel can only begin with the man who started it all. Born on the 3rd of October 1944 at Stobhill hospital, Balornock, Henry Anthony Hood attended Saint Aloysius College, where he played Rugby until he was 15, changed schools and went to Holyrood where he switched to playing football and met his wife Kathleen.
Harry made his name at Clyde when he signed from Brunswick Boys’ Club in 1962, scoring 40 goals in 63 appearances where he first caught the eye of the then Celtic manager Jimmy McGrory. Despite courting from his boyhood club, Harry opted to join Sunderland in 1964 where he had two seasons, unfortunately missing a whole year due to injury, before moving back home to rejoin Clyde with his young family. Three years of goal scoring excellence saw Celtic make their move again, now under the stewardship of thelegendary Jock Stein, Harry joined a side packed with Lisbon Lions.
Harry had seven successful seasons with Celtic, winning five league titles, three Scottish Cup medals and two League Cup winners’ medals. Scoring a hat-trick against Rangers, scoring the winning goal in the 1971 Scottish Cup final and finishing Scotland’s top scorer in that same season.
Harry knew that when he finally hung up his boots he had to have something in place to support his young family – having devoted his early years to football he didn’t have an education to fall back on and chatting to some of the Celtic players on the bus after a game in Edinburgh in 1970, they passed a pub called The Mirn in Viewpark, and Harry overheard Jimmy Johnstone saying to Billy McNeill that it had potential. The following Monday he put an offer in and changed the name to the Sherwood Manor Hotel.
Speaking to a local newspaper in 1970 Harry said, “It’s been my ambition for some time to own a pub or a hotel.” I was a rep at one time and so I know something about the licensed trade, and my wife’s mother had a pub, so between us we know something about the business.” After enjoying success with the Sherwood Manor Hotel Harry continued to keep his eye on the trade. He spotted a pub in Bellshill called the Iron Maiden, which was said to be the ‘in’ place to go.
He added: “I thought to myself, if Bellshill can have an ‘in’ place, Uddingston can too – and that’s how Angels came about.”
The Hood family upped sticks to join the fledgling North American Soccer League in 1976 to play for San Antonio Thunder and experience life in the USA.
In 1979 Harry officially retired from football after returning from the US to play a season for Motherwell and finally Queen of the South. During that year an offer was placed and accepted for The Plough Bar in Uddinston, which began a journey of unbridalled success and established a legacy which was to see the venue become the number one venue in Lanarkshire.
The building itself dates back to 1906 so Harry and Kathleen had their work cut out making the changes they wanted to. The Plough was a short-lived name having been The McKinnon Arms for a number of years. They decided to change the name to Angels, after seeing a building in Los Angeles with the name and thinking it would work well for a hotel.
Little did they know the size of the task in front of them. There was a boat placed in the ceiling to catch the rain which had to be ripped out and completely replaced, the bar was created by removing two rooms and a corridor and relocating the kitchen to the back. At the same time Harry and Kathleen were building a new home a few miles down the road, so building materials and builders were redeployed to help finish off the huge works required.
As Harry’s reputation grew in the licence trade so did his family, daughter’s Lisa and Siobhan and son Nicky were to go on to take over the running of the business which was to become Lisini, the name derived from each of Harry and Kathleen’s children’s names.
Since those early days, Angels has been transformed beyond all recognition, moving with the times, always staying ahead of the pack and bang on trend. Although none of the changes made over those 40-odd years could compare to the undertaking which Lisini embarked upon in 2016. After careful planning and months of preparation, Angels closed it’s doors in September of that year to undergo a spectacular reboot.
The grand restoration project marked a significant investment and took over a year to complete, adding a two storey extension and over 40 covers in the beautiful new conservatory to the front of the restaurant. Embarking on such a vast enterprise on a 110 year old building wasn’t without it’s pitfalls, as the project team discovered problems with the building’s main bar floor area.
Siobhan Edwards, Lisini Director, explained: “When we ripped up the public bar floor it was clear this wasn’t something we could just put back down as a quick fix. We called in preservation specialists and their recommendations to replace all floor joists has meant a three week delay and will cost several thousands of pounds. However, this was an easy decision for us to make.
“As a family-run business, who are dedicated to our customers and the preservation of this old building in the area, we wanted to make sure this place was around for another 100 years to come.”
The hard work put in by all of the Lisini team certainly paid off; the restaurant has gone from strength to strength, the modern new look complimented by a fabulous dining experience and an unprecedented standard of service. Harry’s Bar is a pitch perfect mix of the traditional and the modern, satisfying the loyal clientele while moving forward into a new era of sophisticated, understated elegance that has seen the grand old lady of Uddingston re-invented and re-invigorated to ensure that Angels Hotel will remain the best of the best and move confidently into a bright future.
In a wonderful touch, Moussa Dembélé, opened Harry’s Bar. The man who became the first Celtic player to score an OId Firm hat-trick since Harry Hood had firmly cemented his legendary status by achieving the same feat in the League Cup Semi-Final in 1973, bringing the whole thing full circle back to the man who started it all.