First look: Pub in heart of Constable Country transformed after two year revamp
PUBLISHED: 09:06 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 03 September 2020
A pub in East Bergholt is preparing to open its doors after being closed for more than two and a half years for an extensive refurbishment.
The Lion pub, known by many villagers as The Red Lion, will open its doors on Friday after a long-anticipated wait – offering the finest local produce and a “destination” for villagers.
The 1770s building has been stripped back to its roots by owner Jonathan Peachey and his team, revealing fascinating features from an era where John Constable grew up in the village.
Mr Peachey has lived next door to the pub for more than 14 years, with his original plan to make a few adjustments to its interior.
However, Mr Peachey said one side of the building was almost in a “state of dereliction”, forcing builders to reset the timber frames.
The pub has been given a complete overhaul, with a brand new kitchen, bathrooms, rooms upstairs which people will be able to stay in by the end of the year, and a brand new restaurant.
“The whole driving ethos of this building and what we are doing here is simply elegant,” explained Mr Peachey, who grew up in Langham.
“Simple and elegant are two of the hardest words to execute well. Doing something so it doesn’t look like it’s complex, delivering perfection, it really has been a long journey but it’s been great fun.”
Mr Peachey’s vision is to create a “destination” where people will come for a spot of lunch and to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the surrounding villages and everything Constable Country has to offer.
Last year, the pub opened ‘Red Lion Antiques’ to the rear of the building, which is run by villager David Baksh who has 40 years of self-taught experience with antiques.
Mr Peachey said: “Customers can park safely in the car park behind us and then just come and eat food, visit the antiques shop and enjoy the village and Flatford. Personally I think it is one of the best places in the country.”
The food on offer will be an “eclectic mix of beautiful, fresh, well-prepared produce”, which Mr Peachey says is all locally sourced.
The fish will be from Mersea, the meat from Hadleigh and the rest will all be sourced within 10 miles of East Bergholt.
Mr Peachey said there will be something for everyone, the ‘lion cubs’ too, providing a space where the whole family can come and meet.
“It is a village pub and it really is the heart of this village,” he said.
“I’m quietly excited, optimistic, but as nervous as anything underneath. I apologise for the time it has taken but I hope you will forgive me when you come.”
Mr Peachey has hired around 15 members of staff in total, excluding the building team of 20 people, who he thanked for their “meticulous work” and for being “true craftsmen”.
“We really are fiercely proud of what we have done here, as you might expect The Lion to be proud.
“I’m excited, nervous, and a little bit emotional to be honest. But I am looking forward to seeing how it unleashes itself now.”
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