The Ship Inn, Chapel St Leonards

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An external image of The Ship Inn.Last week I ended my trip to Chapel St Leonards with a visit to the Ship Inn. Originally a beerhouse, the Ship is among the oldest pubs in the village. Built during the early 19th Century as a house or smallholding, the pub can be found on the old road to Mumby and Hogsthorpe next to Willoughby Drain. L-shape in plan, the ship is a two-storey structure with reduced ranges to the front and side.

A early image of The Ship inn.An early photograph (please click on title of this post to see all pictures) shows some of the changes to the exterior, including rendering to the exterior walls and mock half-timbering to the upper floor. Elsewhere, the entrance has been improved with a porch and windows added to each floor.

When I arrived at the Ship, the pub was closed but I was lucky enough to catch the landlords Nigel and Mandy Bradbury who were very happy to show me around. Inside, the pub’s interior is a mixture of modern and period features. The bar area and counter has been completely reworked with the latter built in brick. Much earlier in date are the fixed benches by the window and fireplace and wooden wall paneling. Exposed oak ceiling beams once decorated in horse brass and brick fireplaces complete a tasteful balance of old and new.

A image of a map of Chapel St Leonards and the Ship Inn's location.In 1888, the ship was sold to brewers Soulby and Son together with the Red Lion Inn at Alford. In 1897, a full licence (six days beer and wine licence) was granted to Thomas Short of the Ship Inn, a wheelwright (Kelly’s Directory 1909). A 1900 OS Map revealed there was once a long rectangular building behind the pub that would have served as a workshop and garage. As tourism to the coast increased, so did business opportunities for publicans. In addition to serving beer and wine, the Ship repaired vehicles, made caravans and supplied bacon and poultry (the Ship also had a corrugated iron shop on wheels). In the first half of the 20th Century, a camping ground was added which is still in use today.

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