Inns on the Edge

What is so great about the British pub? - The good company? The beer? The food? The old buildings? The good times and memories you share there?

Lincolnshire County Council is launching a new project Inns on the Edge, where we will be celebrating the heritage of pubs along the much-loved Lincolnshire Coast.

Project Officer Marc Knighton will be visiting pubs from Boston to Grimsby to uncover their stories and history, whilst making a record of their current use and condition. Marc will also be speaking to landlords and locals to encourage them to record their memories of these historic buildings, which are rich in social history, that may have never been written down.

Keep up to date by following Marc's blog on our news feed below.

How can you get involved?

You can help by sharing your memories, stories and old and recent photographs relating to public houses and their artefacts along the coast. You can do this by commenting on posts themselves and on our stories page. We want to know more about why these buildings matter to communities to help preserve them for the future.

Everything you share will be read and recorded, and there will also be the chance for it to feature in our special Inns on the Edge Exhibition to be held at the North Sea Observatory from 16th-29th May 2022, and then available to tour local venues along the coast.

We will also be running four Pub History Workshops in April 2022 to help communities discover the history of their 'local'.

What is so great about the British pub? - The good company? The beer? The food? The old buildings? The good times and memories you share there?

Lincolnshire County Council is launching a new project Inns on the Edge, where we will be celebrating the heritage of pubs along the much-loved Lincolnshire Coast.

Project Officer Marc Knighton will be visiting pubs from Boston to Grimsby to uncover their stories and history, whilst making a record of their current use and condition. Marc will also be speaking to landlords and locals to encourage them to record their memories of these historic buildings, which are rich in social history, that may have never been written down.

Keep up to date by following Marc's blog on our news feed below.

How can you get involved?

You can help by sharing your memories, stories and old and recent photographs relating to public houses and their artefacts along the coast. You can do this by commenting on posts themselves and on our stories page. We want to know more about why these buildings matter to communities to help preserve them for the future.

Everything you share will be read and recorded, and there will also be the chance for it to feature in our special Inns on the Edge Exhibition to be held at the North Sea Observatory from 16th-29th May 2022, and then available to tour local venues along the coast.

We will also be running four Pub History Workshops in April 2022 to help communities discover the history of their 'local'.

  • Join Marc as he charts the historic pubs of the Lincolnshire coast

    My name is Marc Knighton and I am the project officer for Inns on the Edge.

    Over the last few months I have been researching historic pubs from behind a desk, but for the next phase of the project, I will be travelling up and down the Lincolnshire Coast visiting historic pubs to capture their stories and record the current use and condition of the buildings.

    I have always had a love of old buildings. I studied art, history and historical architecture at University and catalogued 1000s of architectural plans before spending a few years working at an auction house as a fine art consultant.

    My expertise in historical research, technical knowledge of buildings, and an eye for period detail will hopefully stand me in good stead for this unique and extraordinary project!

    Please join me on my journey by following my blog.

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  • "How to find your pub's history" workshops

    White Hart Hotel, BostonWe held four “How to find your pub’s history” workshops at venues along the coast in April.

    Whether you’re interested in local heritage, or just curious about the origins of your ‘local’, attendees learned how to discover the history of pubs.

    We explored these much-loved community buildings evolved over time, and how to read the history in their walls. We will also used free and easy to access resources to discover their history.

    However, much of the rich community history of pubs remains unrecorded, the workshop also looked at how we can all do our bit by recording and sharing memories.



    The Ship, Grade II Listed Art Deco public house in Skegness photographed c.1935



  • Inns on the Edge Exhibition

    supporting image

    We held a special exhibition in the stunning gallery space at the North Sea Observatory celebrating the historic pubs of the Lincolnshire coast from 16th-29th May 2022.

    The Lincolnshire coast is a land of shifting sands and changing fortunes. We explored how these inns, taverns and beerhouses were shaped by our coastal communities.

    Discovering stories of smugglers, shipwrecks, ghosts and local legends. We also shared memories from more recent history, and the games, drinks and communities that have made Lincolnshire's pubs special.

    You can be part of the story visiting and sharing your memories with our team. Like pubs across the country, many of these much-loved buildings now face an uncertain future. Find out what you can do to support them and help preserve their history.

    Exhibition on Tour

    The exhibition is now available to loan to community venues and heritage sites free of charge.

    If you're interested get in touch innsontheedge@lincolnshire.gov.uk

    Confirmed venues so far include:

    • Lincoln - David Chiddick Building, Brayford Pool, University of Lincoln - 20th-24th June 2022
    • Skegness - Tower Gardens Pavilion - 6th & 7th August 2022


    Pavilion, Skegness




  • Please click on the article headings to see all the pictures.

  • Victoria Tavern, Hogsthorpe and Kings Head Inn, Theddlethorpe

    by Samantha.Smith,

    Originally a beerhouse, the Victoria Tavern has been serving customers since 1869.

    In 1909 it was one of 3 licensed houses in Hogsthrope, the others being the long-established Saracen’s Head and the Bell. The Victoria Tavern is a modest two-storey building loosely rectangular in plan with an additional single-storey extension.

    In 1900, the licensee was William Parish. In 1922, Parish found himself as a witness in a bigamy case against his former wife, Annie Bell. Bell was charged with bigamy marrying several local men, including Parish.

    Under Parish, the pub was partly rebuilt, including the addition of the single-storey extension (left-hand side).

    The pub’s alterations helped compete with the Bell and Saracen’s Head as a place to stay for visitors to the village. Before this, local JP Mr William Briggs considered the pub in such disrepair that the license should be revoked! Unfortunately, the pub was closed when I arrived. Hopefully, I will get a second chance to visit before the project ends.

    The King’s Head Inn, Theddlethorpe, is located opposite the old methodist chapel, on the road towards Saltfleetby.

    The pub was closed when I arrived, but Dave, the landlord, came out to greet me while walking around outside. Dave and partner Jackie have been in the pub industry for decades and worked in a pub in Northumbria before purchasing the King’s Head in the early noughties.

    The King’s Head is a handsome thatched building that reportedly dates from the early seventeenth century.

    Originally a house or smallholding, the King’s Head was licensed to sell alcohol in the 19th Century; however, the age of the building (almost 400 years old) makes this one of the oldest places I’ve visited along the coast. Inside, the pub retains its old-world feel with open fireplaces and exposed wood and brickwork. In the 20th century, the pub was extended towards the east, adding additional rooms for dining and accommodation.

    A porch with a cloakroom was also built at the front entrance. An early photograph shows the pub before these alterations. In the 1950s, following a fire, the pub had a corrugated iron roof fitted. An old photograph shows what the building looked like before all the thatch was put back and the roof restored.





    Dave and Jackie kindly show me pictures of the internal framework of the roof, rebuilt in traditional methods. In the oldest part of the pub (overlooking the village main road), the ceiling is less than 5ft 9in high and even less where there are beams; an open brick fire dominates much of this room, adding to the place’s charm. I’m told this section of the pub was formerly a butcher shop before being converted into a snug and lately holiday accommodation.

    Jackie tells me it was in this room the famous poet Alfred Tennyson was taken following a visit to nearby Theddlethorpe Mill. Tennyson needed medical attention after hitting his head inspecting the flour mill.

    Apparently, Tennyson was laid down on a table while the local butcher added stitches to the poet’s head (I hope he was offered a strong drink before and after surgery)! A statue of Alfred Tennyson can be found in Lincoln outside Cathedral. Photo credit Andrew Price.



    Despite being almost 400 years old, the building is currently not on the national heritage list, and if the Tennyson story could be confirmed, perhaps it should be.




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  • The Bull and Dog and the Kings Head Inn, Freiston

    by Samantha.Smith,


    The Bull & Dog have been welcoming regulars and visitors through its doors since the first half of the 19th Century (if not many years before).

    L shaped in plan, the Inn presumably began as one or two ground-floor rooms with additional rooms added over time.

    Situated on the corner of the main road into the village, close to the ancient church dedicated to St James, the building has seen many renovations. The roof was previously thatched, replaced by modern tiles and dormers overlooking the church grounds.


    Aerial view of the Dog and Bull in the 1960'sAerial view of the Dog & Bull in the 1960's

    Adjacent to the Inn, to the right, is an old stable or barn, converted to residential use and now separate from the pub. In the past, the gap between the two buildings served as the entrance to the yard at the back of the Inn for stabling etc.

    Inside the pub, I am met by the landlady Oliva who bought the Dog & Bull from the brewery two years ago. Oliva has been in the trade for over 20 years, but this is the first pub she has owned.

    The pub interior is modern, with only a few hints of its history surviving in photographs on the walls and the exposed beams above my head.

    An image of the Bull and Dog in 2022The Bull & Dog today

    I meet some of the regulars at the bar, including Jane Majury, who kindly offers to promote the project on local radio (Endeavour FM). Jane tells me a few stories about the place, such as the adjacent barn used to be a dance hall before the brewery sold it off, and in the early noughties, the pub’s chimney caught fire, closing the place for a few months.

    I later found out that much earlier in the pub’s history was the sad death of Sarah Bourne, aged six, daughter of the landlord John Bourne. In 1855 Sarah died from typhus believed to be caused by contaminated water from an open-pit adjoining the churchyard.


    At the opposite end of the village, a few hundred yards away from the Dog & Bull, stands the King’s Head Inn.

    According to the website, the King’s Head dates back to the 1600s. The building is old enough to date from this period, built in a vernacular style (built in a traditional local style using local craftspeople and materials), originally one or two rooms constructed of stone (or mud and stud ) with a garret under a thatched roof.

    The roof is now tiled (although some original fabric may still lurk underneath), and the external walls are consolidated with render.

    The iron support post


    Inside, the pub retains some of its old-world feel, with an open fireplace, low ceiling with exposed beams and wall seating. At some point, the pub was extended towards the rear, doubling the size of the pub.

    Opposite the fireplace, an unusual iron post helps support the ceiling and marks the beginning of the later phase of the building.

    The servery area is small and the counter is framed by a basket arch, a feature in several pubs along the coast.

    The bar and servery


    At the bar, I meet with Dawn and Wayne.

    The couple have been running the King’s Head since August.

    Dawn kindly shows me around, and after a brief chat, we part waves but not before she tells me the pub have recently re-started a darts team 🎯.



    An image of The Kings Head Inn in 2022The Kings Head Inn todayIn 1961, the pub reached the national darts teams championships in London, losing to Clayton Arms from North Tyneside in the final.

    This year, the team would settle for beating their neighbours, the Dog & Bull 😀.


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  • The Corporation Arms, Grimsby

    by Samantha.Smith,

    An image of people sitting around a table in a workshopAttending the workshopSince my last post, I have been busy attending workshops on how to research local pub history with my colleague Ian Marshman.

    The first workshop was held at the Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre. Afterwards, we took the opportunity to visit the Corporation Arms on nearby Freeman Street.

    The Corporation Arms is a Grade 2 listed three-storey building. Built using red brick and stone dressings it's recorded as being constructed in the late 19th Century. The building is slightly older than the listing suggests, and we can now accurately date construction to 1864/5.



    An image of an old map of Freeman Street in Grimsby
    First licenced in 1865 and known as the Corporation Hotel, it was built soon after the completion of Freeman Street in 1863 in response to Grimsby's growing industry when the docks opened in 1849.

    Between 1858 and 1866 an astonishing 3,400 new houses were built to accommodate Grimby's rapidly increasing population.

    An 1866 advert in the Lincolnshire Chronicle boasts of the hotel's 'exceptional quality with superior accommodation for travellers and commercial gentleman'.

    During this period, the Corporation Arms was also a meeting place for societies and important town business. For example the decision to build the original Freeman Street Market was agreed upon at the hotel.


    An image of the outside of the Corporation Pub in GrimsbyThe pub as it looks today

    The Corporation Hotel has also courted notoriety:

    In 1883, the landlord of the Corporation Arms (Mr H. J. Curry) was prosecuted after harbouring prostitutes at the premises.

    In 1885, the hotel was the location of attempted murder! Frederick Muller, a public house pianist, shot his estranged wife with a revolver in the passage leading to the bar. Thankfully, the bullet missed his wife and passed through her hat. Muller was apprehended at the scene and sentenced to 10 years of penal servitude (prisoners sent to prison were forced to do hard physical work).

    In 1926, drama, tragedy and flames engulfed the hotel. The licensee, Mrs Maria Drayton, was tragically killed leaping from the second-floor window to escape a fire that had broken out in the early hours. Two female residents climbed onto the roof of the small canted oriel window (a bay window that you can still see today) on the first floor, before jumping to a nearby fireman's ladder. According to one report, wind from both directions turned the building into a 'raging furnace', leaving the interior 'completely gutted'.


    An image of the fireplace in the old smoke room of the pubFireplace in the old Smoke Room
    The Corporation Arms is one of the few pubs within the project area to make it into CAMRA’s Real Heritage Pubs booklet, described as “one of the best historic interiors in the region”. CAMRA supports pubs and breweries and campaigns for real ale.

    In the guidebook, the pub's old Smoke Room is described as a 'truly splendid historic interior of a once-proud Victorian pub.' However, one suspects the wooden field panelling of this room would have been among the first things destroyed by fire in 1926.

    Similarly, the "original" ground floor moulded plaster cornices and mantelpiece mentioned in the official list entry for the building were probably installed following the fire.

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  • Angel Inn, Wrangle


    Angel Inn location

    The current Angel Inn was built during the first half of the 19th Century. It stood in the shadow of the impressive church of St Mary and St Nicholas, the oldest building in the village.

    In medieval times, Wrangle was an important local port and market centre. It relied on nearby Hangel Creek for access to the sea. The sheltered port lay 400 meters to the west of the present church. Parish information tells us that a predecessor of the Angel Inn stood on its banks.

    The name Angel Inn comes from its close proximity to the church. The Inn reflects the early connection between religious establishments and travellers’ hostels dating back to the Middle Ages.

    The Inn is loosely rectangular in plan with a two-storey front flanked by single-storey ranges on either side. Access is via a front doorway decorated with frieze and cornice. A side entrance overlooking the road is of a similar design.

    The Inn's ground and upper floor windows are a mixture of modern casements and original sashes. They are in half and full Georgian designs. Ogee motifs decorate the ground floor window heads. These are accentuated in a larger three light window overlooking the road. A hipped slate roof and corbeled bricked stacks complete the building's outward appearance.


    During the 19th Century, the pub had a small courtyard at the back for stabling, adjoined to a blacksmith. An 1880 map of the area depicts a loose courtyard design. Which is easily seen by passing trade from the road to Boston and Wainfleet.

    At the beginning of the 20th Century, the courtyard was altered to the current layout. With some outbuildings demolished.

    During the 19th Century and early 20th Century, the pub was the headquarters for the Wrangle and East Lincolnshire Agricultural Society. They hosted dinners for members. Held lectures on food production and the benefits of farm mechanisation and provided advice on the latest new tech and methods coming to market.

    Sadly, the Angel was closed when I arrived. Still, a quick look through the window revealed a contemporary bar counter, wall seating, exposed ceiling beams and stud work. There are no obvious signs of the pub's links to agriculture until walking away from the building. Then I notice an old plough wheel fixed above one of the windows. A subtle gesture to the Angel's ties to the local farming community past and present.

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  • Old Leake, Boston


    Front view of the White Hart PubWhite Hart Pub

    This week I am in Old Leake, a small village just off the A52 on the way to nearby Wrangle. My first stop is to the White Hart, opposite the 12th Century parish church of St Mary.

    The White Hart was built in the 19th Century and Thomas Leake ran it between 1856 and 1870 followed by George Dawson. It is a modest two-storey inn with a central front doorway and marginal border sashes to each floor, crowned with a saltbox roof. Inside, the pub retains some of its mid-20th Century alterations, such as the wall seating and bar counter. At the bar, I meet Sheila who has been serving pints at the White Hart for 45 years Shelia is keen to talk about the pub’s charity work and links to the local community, as well as some of the changes to the pub in recent years, such as the loss of a single storey dining range and beer garden demolished to make way for new housing.

    After a brief chat about Inns on the Edge, I make my way to the Bricklayer’s Arms, just up the road along the A52.

    Outside front view of the Bricklayer ArmsBricklayers Arms Pub

    The Bricklayer Arms has been serving locals and visitors to the area for the last 180 years. The building is loosely rectangular in plan with single-storey ranges on either side of the main two-storey Victorian house. The pub is situated on the ground floor with landlord accommodation upstairs. Above the entrance is a small wooden door canopy dating to the early 1920s, given by Mrs Bateman (of Bateman’s brewery) from her own house in Wainfleet. Before Batemans, the pub operated its own brewery and builders’ yard at the back of the premises (circa 1837-1899).


    Picture of the Leake Brewery, a brick building with bright red doorsBricklayers Arms Brewery

    Bricklayers Arms Brewery was owned by the Horton family, who were bricklayers by trade hence the pub’s name. The brewery remained in existence until the beginning of the 20th Century when poor water supplies resulted in closure. Nearly all the brewery buildings have been demolished except for a small L-shaped building directly behind the pub, used to store raw materials (note the first-floor goods door) and a single brick range across the yard.

    Inside, the pub’s staff are busy serving customers. Still, I manage to have a brief chat with Clare, who tells me that after the Horton family, the pub owner was William Bush before, becoming a Bateman’s pub in the early part of the 20th Century.

    Black and white image of full sized elephant outside the Bricklayers Arms pubNot your average regular

    I am also shown a 1920s picture of an elephant outside the pub with landlord John Emmerson in the background. A little digging reveals the elephant was called Rosie, loaned to Skegness amusement park for the holiday season by a menagerie owner (why the animal visited the Bricklayers Arms is anyone’s guess). A few months after this photograph was taken, Rosie refused to be loaded on a train bound for Mexborough by her trainer and railway officials. Several nights and three attempts later, Rosie eventually departed but not before national newspapers picked up the story; The Scotsman ran with the headline: ‘Obstinate Elephant. Skegness Station Comedy.’


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  • Hildred's Hotel, Skegness

    Last week I was joined by my colleague Ian Marshman in Skegness. We were there to promote the project at Hildred’s shopping centre. As some might know, the centre takes its name from the Hotel that once stood on the same site before it was demolished in 1987.

    Two hundred years ago, Hildred’s was known as the New Inn or New Hotel, welcoming Georgian travellers to Skegness. The name (before it changed to Hildred’s) helped distinguish the business from the older Vine Inn further down the coast in what was then just a tiny village.

    Between 1808-1828, the hotel was run by Mr. Thomas Melson. He offered board and lodging at one guinea per week (not including tea in the afternoon) and a ‘warm sea bath at any hour of the day in addition to a ‘convenient, safe caravan for bathing at all times of tide’.

    For over 100 years, the hotel enjoyed an unparalleled reputation. The rooms were ‘luxuriously furnished’, and the dining and drawing room considered ‘the finest on the Lincolnshire Coast’.

    In 1828, Joseph Hildred bought the New Inn. Hildred learnt the innkeeping trade from his uncle, John Stafford, who ran the rival Vine Hotel. Until the railway arrived, it was very difficult for travellers to reach Skegness, and visitors tended to be wealthier people. Joseph Hildred began running a daily carriage between his hotel and the Peacock Inn at Boston, connecting stagecoaches from London and the Midland towns to boost trade.

    In 1850, when Joseph died, his wife Sarah and son Charles Hildred took over. As the resort grew, more and more hotels were built, so they called theirs Hildred’s. Charles was one of the local businessmen who helped build the pier in 1877. Charles applied for a licence to sell wines in the fashionable new Pier Pavilion when it opened. An old photograph shows the hotel with visitors making their way to and from the pier.

    In 1899, Hildred’s Hotel was purchased by the world’s largest brewer, Bass of Burton on Trent. Keen to invest in the booming resort, Bass rebuilt and expanded the hotel in a grander neoclassical style. Many people still remember this building as it stood until 1987 when the shopping centre was created.

    A photograph of the hotel’s demolition (note the wrecking ball in full swing), shows some architectural detail of the main façade, a mixture of classical motifs and Victorian invention. During our visit, we are told of a young female ghost roaming the stockroom in one shop, and elsewhere staff complain of an eerie presence within the store. The ghost is believed to be Eva May Saxby of Harby, a barmaid who fell to her death cleaning one of the hotel’s chandeliers.

    If you believe in the supernatural, the strange presence in the other store might be connected to a sailboat named The Shannon that capsized with the loss of 28 passengers in 1893. No prizes for where the corpses were temporarily stored – the hotel!

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Page last updated: 08 Jun 2022, 03:23 PM