At a time when 18 pubs are closing down across the country each week, one historic hostelry at Pinchbeck is fighting back with a magnificent new thatched roof.
Norfolk thatcher David Bennett completed his task last month after working since December in all weathers to totally renew the thatch.
The exterior of the pub – all the responsibility of the Enterprise Brewery – has been painted to match, making a picture postcard scene as the pub nestles in its large garden on the bank of the River Glen.
Tenant Dick Morgan, who took over the pub with wife Fiona last April when it had been empty for nine months, aims to make it a destination pub for good food and a friendly drink in a beautiful setting.
He said: “We’re really delighted with the way it looks from the outside now.
“The pub’s very old and a listed building and the old thatch had started to leak quite badly in all that rain last summer.
“It had to have a new roof and because of the listing that had to be a thatch, but this is a magnificent, proper job.
“David took down at least two of three old thatches to start more or less from scratch.
“When we moved in we redecorated throughout as the interior’s our responsibility.
“We were starting from scratch too to build up custom .
“Pubs are suffering at the moment but we’ve had some great support from the locals since we arrived and also from customers at our old pub in Cowbit.
“There are five darts teams now – a couple of them from Cowbit – we have live music once a month, and last summer we held a beer festival which was a massive success.
“Our 2013 beer festival will be in the last weekend of July for three days.
“We’re lucky too that the restaurant has 60 covers and seats 120 for a buffet, so functions like wedding receptions are a big focus for us and we have plenty of bookings for the summer.
“The new roof is a vote of confidece and this one’s going to last for a good 25 to 30 years.”
Dick and Fiona Morgan and their two sons moved to live at The Ship from Ye Olde Dun Cow in Cowbit, a free house which they bought empty and ran for eight years.