See Ipswich pub's journey from inn and Cindy's nightclub to church cafe

The interior of the brightly painted Cindy’s nightclub as it was after closure in April 1993 Pictu

The interior of the brightly painted Cindy's nightclub, formerly the Old Buck, as it was after closure in April 1993. It later became the Key's cafe in Ipswich. - Credit: RICHARD RACKHAM/ARCHANT

An Ipswich pub's journey from a 17th Century inn to a church cafe has been one of "heart", a book has revealed. 

The Old Buck, known as the Running Buck, in St Margaret’s Plain in Ipswich has stood the test of time, standing for around 400 years. 

The building on St Margarets Plain, Ipswich, when it was operating as Canes Picture: ALBERT GONZALE

The building on St Margarets Plain, Ipswich, when it was operating as Canes Picture: ALBERT GONZALES - Credit: Albert Gonzales

And in the Old Buck with a New Heart Revisited by Charles Clarke, the author explores the inn's history up until its present day's use by Bethesda Baptist Church as the Key cafe.

The earliest reference to the pub, according to Mr Clarke, was in 1689. 

The interior of the then closed Cindy'�s nightclub at the former Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in April

The interior of the then closed Cindy'�s nightclub at the former Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in April 1993 Picture: RICHARD RACKHAM/ARCHANT - Credit: RICHARD RACKHAM/ARCHANT

It was established along with the Woolpack and the Shears in the "hub" of the wool trade in Ipswich. 


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Before the 20th Century, the pub was also called several names including the Running Buck and later became the site of the nightclub Cindy's.

In 1991 it shut its doors with little notice but was restored thanks to Bethesda Baptist Church. 

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It then became the Key cafe in 1999 and has been going strong since. 

Carpenters, who had the huge task of building the nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in 196

Carpenters, who had the huge task of building the nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in 1965 Picture: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT - Credit: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT

Mr Clarke first told the inn's story back in 2000, shortly after the Key opened where he traced the history of the town since King John and the inn's history along with the neighbouring baptist church. 

In 2009, in the New Heart Still Beating, he explored the fantastic events and reconstruction and refurbishment of the old inn. 

Crowds on St Margarets Plain greeted Queen Mary as she arrived by car in June 1938. Picture: DAVID K

Crowds on St Margarets Plain greeted Queen Mary as she arrived by car in June 1938. Picture: DAVID KINDRED'S ARCHIVE - Credit: David Kindreds archive

One of these key events was Queen Mary visiting in the 1930s. 

Carpenters, who had the huge task of building the nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in 196

Carpenters, who had the huge task of building the nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in 1965 Picture: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT - Credit: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT

He then updated it further in this latest edition with the Old Buck with a New Heart Revisited. 

The newly completed nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in January 1966 Pictures: IAN MCGRA

The newly completed nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in January 1966 Pictures: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT - Credit: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT

The last chapters of Mr Clarke's latest edition focus on how the coffee shop has become a hub for the community and how it has adapted to lockdown. 

The newly completed nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in January 1966 Pictures: IAN MCGRA

The newly completed nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in January 1966 Pictures: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT - Credit: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT

It also covers the "wonderful fulfilment of the original vision" by the church. 

The newly completed nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in January 1966 Pictures: IAN MCGRA

The newly completed nightclub at the Running Buck Inn, Ipswich, in January 1966 Pictures: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT - Credit: IAN MCGRATH/ARCHANT

"The added bonus of this reprint is that all the pictures have been produced in colour as opposed to the black and white of the 2000 edition," he wrote. 

The interior of the brightly painted Cindy’s nightclub as it was after closure in April 1993 Pictu

The interior of the brightly painted Cindys nightclub as it was after closure in April 1993 Picture: RICHARD RACKHAM/ARCHANT - Credit: RICHARD RACKHAM/ARCHANT

Some of the images of the Old Buck's previous life are also available in images from our archives. 

Charles Clarke, from Bethesda Church, Ipswich, at a snow covered former nightclub site in November 1

Charles Clarke, from Bethesda Church, Ipswich, at a snow covered former nightclub site in November 1993. The Bethesda Church, at the corner of St Margarets Plain and Fonnereau Road, is in the background Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL/ARCHANT - Credit: RICHARD SNASDELL/ARCHANT

To order copies of our archive photos, visit our website or call Diane Townsend on  01603 772449.

A dedication service in April 1993 when the neighbouring Bethesda Church, Ipswich, took over the sit

A dedication service in April 1993 when the neighbouring Bethesda Church, Ipswich, took over the site of the nightclub at the former Running Buck Inn, Ipswich Picture: JERRY TURNER/ARCHANT - Credit: Jerry Turner/Archant

A dedication service in April 1993 when the neighbouring Bethesda Church, Ipswich, took over the sit

A dedication service in April 1993 when the neighbouring Bethesda Church, Ipswich, took over the site of the nightclub at the former Running Buck Inn, Ipswich Picture: JERRY TURNER/ARCHANT - Credit: Jerry Turner/Archant


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