The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

The Ram Inn, Redhill, Nottingham

The area of Nottinghamshire in which I live, Redhill, has seen quite a few changes over the years. Like many other places it has lost a few small businesses along the way, including a grocery store, a newsagent, the original post office and an excellent fish and chip shop. Two constants over the years though have been it’s two very old and neighbouring pubs, The Ram Inn and The Wagon and Horses which both stand prominently on the main Mansfield Road .

Just recently I have noticed that ‘The Ram’ has been closed up tight, boarded off and with workers cabins in the car park. It’s not clear whether this was to be a much-needed refurbishment as I’ve  been assured the old public house has closed it’s doors for good and that it’s future is apparently as an eighty-bedroom residential care home. Contradicting this there are signs outside which indicate that is to reopen as part of a chain of pub restaurants. Who knows the truth but it raises the thorny situation of the future of so many British pubs.

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Both of Redhill’s pubs are of a considerable vintage. The Wagon and Horses was reputedly built in 1827 as a coach house for the main arterial road north it stands upon while the The Ram is a few years it’s senior being built in 1789. I am informed that both pubs these days have a shared owner who has decided to close one of them. I dare hazard a guess that The Wagon has been kept because of it’s historic coaching inn past but that’s just conjecture on my part.

Over the years I had been a customer of both pubs. Before their lamented disappearance, the two main local breweries had been represented in the two pubs, The Wagon carrying Home Ales beer from it’s Daybrook premises just a mile down the road whilst The Ram sold the less popular Shipstones ales made at The Star Brewery at Basford perhaps just three miles away. Customers tended to go the pub whose beer they preferred. Well into the 1970s, The Wagon still retained its stables that had been originally used to replenish stage coaches with new horses in order to climb up the ‘interminable rise of Redhill’ northwards. Latterly the stables housed the pub’s toilets and in another area had swings for children as I recall.

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Local landmarks: The Wagon and Horses and The Ram Inn

Latterly, The Ram had slipped so far backwards it was difficult to know what could be done to improve the place. It was a very good example of the typical ruination of a decent pub after the separate bars were gutted to make one large area.  Together with a considerable extension to the rear, largely to woo potential diners, the atmosphere was barn-like and it also looked worn, tired and dated with it eighties-style former renovation.

Although only minutes walk from my home I have rarely used either pub in many years so I can understand how it has been difficult to retain the profitability of both establishments. I would have loved to support my local community’s public houses if either had been more to my taste. Typically, about once a year I’ll take an annual strollup the road to see if anything has changed. With both pubs being in such close proximity it was always easy to pop round next door if one was a little quiet. My usual experience has been to enter The Ram through it’s side door, find it almost completely deserted and walk straight out of the front door and on to The Wagon. In truth though, neither pub seem like the nice old local pubs that I used to visit years ago. Times have changed and I’d sooner go the trouble and expense of taking a return bus ride into the city where I can have a quiet drink in somewhere with a little ‘life’ in it and enjoy a good range of more interesting drinks such as some of the continental lagers and quality ciders. I don’t feel particularly pleased to say that and I’d love to have seen the old Redhill pubs back in their former guise and enjoy a walk up the road to enjoy a drink with a neighbour or two in a proper ‘local’ pub. It’s all a bit of shame.

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‘The Ram’

The news about The Ram Inn is hardly isolated. So many of our old pubs are disappearing forever and things will never be the same again. Another local pub, The White Hart which was an incredibly popular and busy pub years ago, now lies forlorn and graffiti-laden, doubtless awaiting demolishment and redevelopment for retail purposes. It’s last apparition as part of a mediocre restaurant chain now a predictable memory. I never would have in the past foreseen the day when the likes of that place was no longer.

The Ram Inn at the moment lies in sullen darkness after over two-hundred years of quenching locals’ and passing travellers’ thirsts. I hope it’s not all over for this well-known local landmark. What a dire state of affairs our local community pubs find themselves in in 2010. The biggest shame is that should the likes of The Ram Inn close down it would do so largely unloved and unlamented. It was not always thus.

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October 23, 2010 - Posted by | On The Road | , , , ,

22 Comments »

  1. Hi Stuart, some of the information you have posted about the closure of The Ram, and info regarding turning The Ram into a nursing home is incorrect. The Ram will be re-opening in mid-November of this year as a Sizzling pub brand, under Mitchell & Butlers. The pub had been loosing money, I am led to believe, from sometime in 2009 up until around June of this year, not necessarily due to reduced levels of customers.

    I hope the refurbishment by M&B will strengthen the service provided to the local community, however as it is opening as an Sizzling brand, I fear the community spirit will be lost as these types of pubs are focussed almost entirely on food.

    As for the nursing home rumours, I have no idea where these came from. There was never any interest to turn it into a nursing home. The only prospective buyers were pub companies. One person has suggested the rumour was started by the pub next door, or perhaps more specifically, avid drinkers of said pub, to unsettle the business and increase popularity for itself.

    Comment by Stephen | November 1, 2010

  2. Hi Stephen, many thanks for the info regarding the Ram. I had heard quite a few different stories and I’m glad at least to hear the old place is staying open. It maybe as you suggest, won’t fulfil the same role for the community but it’s good to see that it still remains in some capacity.

    Comment by Stuart | November 1, 2010

  3. Stuart

    I can confirm exactly the situation as my wife and I (Anita) were the last residents of the Ram.

    Anita was the last general manager, leaving on the 28th of September. The Ram has been sold to Mitchell & Butlers and will become a “Sizzler”.

    After my wife took over the Ram started to return a profit for Punch, however the turn around was not so much to little but was to late.

    The sad thing for me is that that there will be no sky or pool table etc and will be dry led and thus will not be the heart of the community.

    All the other rumours are rubbish!

    Regrads

    Comment by Matt | November 12, 2010

  4. Hi Matt

    Thanks for taking the trouble to drop by and comment, it’s appreciated. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for Anita and yourself at your stay at The Ram. I know next to nothing about the trade but I’m told anecdotally that Punch are an exacting bunch to work for.

    I passed by The Ram last evening and it was lit up and looks to be not too far from opening having a lot of work carried out over the past few weeks. I’m glad that it remains open but would definitely echo your sentiments regarding it be a community pub. I had some very pleasant times there in the past.

    One has to wonder about these rumours! Bored or mischievous people perhaps!

    Good luck in whatever project Anita and yourself are involved in now.

    Stu

    Comment by Stuart | November 12, 2010

  5. Hi again

    Anita and I are still with Punch but now in Southampton.

    Matt

    Comment by Matt | November 13, 2010

  6. One last thing, thankfully M&B have kept ton those of the old staff that wished to remain. I’m sure there will be new faces but most of the old ones (Chewy, Sophie, Kirsty, Marie and Linda) will still be there.

    Matt

    Comment by Matt | November 15, 2010

  7. For those thinkig of having a meal at the RAM INN, REDHILL, NOTTS, my advice is to stay away. Overworked staff, poor quality food, luke warm at the best. If you all wish to eat at the same time, then you are best going by yourself. Young girl behind the bar worked so hard but despite long queues, the asst manageress (or mnanageress) refused to help, just wanting to try and look good by giving food out.
    Whilst we were there, complaints were being made with the manageress (or asst) not being customer friendly at all. You have been warned.

    Comment by andrew w | October 30, 2011

  8. Anyone got any pictures of “New Street” at the back of the Ram Inn car park?
    My Grandma and grandad used to live there.
    Paul

    Comment by Mr Paul Johnson | February 10, 2012

  9. Hi Paul. The road to the rear of the Ram Inn car park is called Lodge Farm Lane with Lilleker Rise and Derry Hill Road running off there. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of a ‘New Street’ in the area?

    Comment by Stuart | February 11, 2012

  10. I was born on Henry Street, and i used to take my Sister in for meals when she was alive, she loved having dinner and luncheon there .Glad to here other people will still continue to enjoy it I live in Corfu greece and we had some happy times there

    Comment by Jacqueline Vallance | October 28, 2012

  11. Thanks for your comments, Jacqueline. The Ram still seems to be quite popular I’m glad to say. I visit there occasionally.

    Comment by Stuart | October 29, 2012

  12. Gotta tell you a story about this pub; In the late 60’s a much loved girl friends hubby (a famous footballer of the day) walked out on his wife and their one and only offspring a baby girl just a few months old. My friend was gutted and began to turn into herself and she was almost a recluse. I offered to take her out for the evening to cheer her up and I noted there was an ad for the Ram Inn in the Post and it said there was a concert room where I’d supposed, there’d be a bit of life. We got there and it was dead. She and I were the only ones in there. We decided to sup up and go. As we stood up to leave, the door opened and a coach load of men en route home from a fishing trip dropped in and suddenly the place came to life. We got chatting to them and one of them got up and began playing the piano and he wasn’t half bad either. The lads asked us what we were doing there and I came up with ‘We are with the Ivy Benson band (she was playing in town that week) and we are just about ready to leave for home as we are due in New York next week’. They swallowed it. Now I was (still am I suppose) a professional singer and persuaded my pal to get up and sing with me. We belted out the hit of the day Hey Big Spender and made the most wonderful job of it. Our harmony considering we had never sung before was, though I sez it as shouldn’t, brilliant and we fetched the roof off and the lads begged for more, but I told them we should not have sung as we were under contract and Ivy would sack us if she found out. When we left the lads stood up and applauded and we melted into the night laughing our heads off having created a memory that has lasted all these years. .

    Comment by Joy James | August 29, 2014

  13. Great story and fond memories! You see I just love this kind of ‘romancing’ as my mum used to call it – it can be a lot of fun! I’d have been living just down the road from the Ram when your grand performance took place!

    Comment by Stuart | August 30, 2014

  14. must be getting senile,but was it the Ram or Wagon and horses that Bill Whare kept late 60s/early 70s?anyway my ex wife had her 21st there whichever one it was,she lives down south now and was asking me the other day,yes we still friends,and i could’nt remember which it was.

    Comment by Paul Scriven | September 2, 2014

  15. Hi Paul, yes, it was the Waggon and Horses that Bill Whare kept for many years. On memory he was still at the Waggon at the end of the seventies and in to the early eighties at least. The pub has (and still had I believe) a room at the back of the pub called the ‘Saddle Room where ‘do’s’ were held.

    Comment by Stuart | September 2, 2014

  16. Thanks for that Stu,i remember Bill Whare playing for Forest,famous for his brilliant slide tackles,probably get sent off for em’ nowadays

    Comment by Paul Scriven | September 3, 2014

  17. He was a bit before my time, Paul but I know all about him, FA Cup winner that he was. Apparently a very good right back for Forest. Came from Guernsey at a time when a few Channel Islanders were making it in the Football League. Aye, probably too tough for these guys running around in their carpet slippers nowadays!

    Comment by Stuart | September 3, 2014

  18. Early 50s was the time i first got my love of football and Forest,remember all the old players from that era,a Forest team was something like, Walker,Whare,Thomas,Morley,Gager,Burkitt,Scott,Leverton,Ardron,Capel,Collindridge, manager Blly Walker,trainer Tommy Graham,……….ha happy days, i think a few of them went on to play for Arnold St. Marys.

    Comment by Paul Scriven | September 5, 2014

  19. I think they were very good days for the game, Paul. One thing I remember from my own early days watching the game in the sixties was that it was easy to name and identify with the players who played for your team, you therefore had a bond and a relationship with the same or similar players through the seasons. I’m not a Forest supporter but I could name you the first Forest line-up I was taken to see in 1966-67 season quite easily. How many could do that with their team nowadays.

    Interesting about St Mary’s as I used to watch them also in the sixties when I was a lad and still have a soft spot for them (Arnold Town). People like Joe Boucher, Bobby Tate, Arthur Oldham and Pete Burton – very good players. I know that before those days Colin Colindridge turned out at Gedling Road, I’d be interested to know of any others?

    Comment by Stuart | September 5, 2014

  20. My great great great grandparents used to live here and I believe keep this inn around the mid to late 1800s. It is my family tree, their last name was Crich. It’s neat to read this and see pictures. Thank you for the article.

    Comment by kiersten | December 3, 2015

  21. Thanks for your comment, Kiersten. A little story to to tell you about the Ram Inn is that many years ago there was another pub across the road called The Three Crowns. I knew an elderly gent who had lived at that property as a youngster and he claimed there was an underground cave and corridor that went under the main road and surfaced in caves beneath The Ram Inn!

    Comment by Stuart | December 3, 2015

  22. I love tidbits like that! Thank you again Stuart for the story and article with pictures. I was excited to see something come up when looking for The Ram Inn. I am from America so I do not know if I would have ever seen it otherwise.
    Sincerely, kiersten

    Comment by kiersten | December 3, 2015


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