Search

New owners aim to restore Ipswich's Lord Nelson pub as thriving hub for the community

PUBLISHED: 20:30 25 August 2017

Left to right, Thea McPhillips, Hannah Williams, Tom West and Josie Merrick behind the bar of newly reopened The Lord Nelson. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Left to right, Thea McPhillips, Hannah Williams, Tom West and Josie Merrick behind the bar of newly reopened The Lord Nelson. Picture: GREGG BROWN

One of Ipswich's historic pubs has opened under fresh ownership as the new managers aim to restore it to its former glory.

Punters enjoying a pint in The Lord Nelson pub in Ipswich, which has re-opened after being taken over by new owners. Picture: GREGG BROWNPunters enjoying a pint in The Lord Nelson pub in Ipswich, which has re-opened after being taken over by new owners. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Lord Nelson pub in Fore Street has been run by various people over the last decade, but on July 7 experienced pub owners Tom West and Josie Merrick – who run the Red Lion in Manningtree – completed the deal to take over the pub.

The pair have a combined experience of 20 years in the pub trade, and turned the Red Lion from an ailing pub into an award-winning establishment recognised by The Observer and The Guardian among others.

They are now keen to restore the Lord Nelson as a hub for the community.

The Lord Nelson, in Fore Street. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Lord Nelson, in Fore Street. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“It’s been lovely, absolutely fantastic,” said Tom, 33.

“We have got a nice consistent, relaxed atmosphere which is pretty much the secret to running a decent pub.

“The customers and staff have a good rapport – if you can bring a little bit of the community atmosphere with the quality of what you do then I think that is a good thing.”

The future is looking bright for The Lord Nelson. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe future is looking bright for The Lord Nelson. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Josie, 26, added: “It’s a traditional pub and that’s what it always needs to be.”

The pair have already made a raft of improvements such as outdoor benches, a new menu based on freshly-served meals rather than frozen, newly upholstered cushions, re-branded menus and sourcing ingredients from local suppliers.

A monthly pub quiz is set to begin in September while staff have been getting up to date with knowledge of the beers. Those dining can also get a refund on their car parking from the car park behind.

New owners Tom West and Josie Merrick outside The Lord Nelson. Picture: GREGG BROWNNew owners Tom West and Josie Merrick outside The Lord Nelson. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Crucially, with experience in running an already-thriving pub in Manningtree, Josie and Tom are hoping their experience can help the Lord Nelson thrive in an uncertain industry.

Since July the Grand Old Duke of York and the Mulberry Tree have both closed, while the County of Suffolk has faced a change of management.

“There was definitely a threat this could have closed had it carried on as it was,” Tom said.

“But pubs are the original Facebook – it’s where everyone comes to hear stories, spend time with each other, hear the local news. People come to celebrate and people come to mourn – pubs are a huge part of everyday life.”

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists