Sadly missed: Kelly’s Tavern, Newark-on-Trent

Many are the public houses that are closing down one by one in the UK in these times. Some are not necessarily lamentable but many certainly are; such a place for me is the old Kelly’s Tavern near the Town Lock at Newark. Probably the nicest thing about it was it’s lovely position overlooking the Trent where you could while away a pint or two gazing out of the window on the peaceful scene outside. I read that the pub dated back originally to 1770 and had previously been named ‘The Swan and Salmon Tap’. In it’s last guise before closing it had been refurbished and branded as a ‘Manx’ theme pub and sold beers from the Isle of Man.

My most memorable time in there was on a Friday night of the excellent free music festival that used to be held on the riverside park just opposite. A few friends and I had taken the early train to Newark from Nottingham to take in the music and sink a few beers before the last train back home from Newark Castle Station. As so often seems the case with these things the storm clouds gathered ominously and we pre-empted the impending downpour by skipping over the lock into Kelly’s for a pint and some shelter from the obvious meteorological onslaught that was about to take place. Once safely inside the pub and strategically placed we had a terrific grandstand view of an enormous electrical storm unfolding over the river the other side of the huge picture windows.

Kelly’s Tavern was also useful for a twin-pub thrash with the great and unusual Castle Barge floating pub just up the river at the wharf.It’s such a shame that this place closed down and I always wondered, considering its position, why it had not been a success. When I think about it most of the pubs I miss are ones that have been by water of some sort, be it a river, seaside, stream or lake.

3 thoughts on “Sadly missed: Kelly’s Tavern, Newark-on-Trent”

  1. My great grandfather used to own barges on the Trent. He was struck by lightning and killed while going through the lock, They laid out his body in a riverside pub, probably this one. My grandmother had a tragic life. As well as losing her father in that way, she also lost two of her four children and both of her husbands in tragic accidents. They say she died of a broken heart(before I was born).

  2. Thanks for your comments, Martin. Would assume that possibly your grandfather’s barges would be transporting coal back in the day? There is a potted history of the coal barges on an information sign at Gunthorpe Lock. Sad tales indeed, life was far from easy and straightforward for people in those days. Bless them.


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