GLOUCESTERSHIRE’S ‘beachside’ pub is set for a new lease of life under new owners.
The Red Lion at Wainlodes Hill was known as a holiday destination during austere post war times, the county’s longest serving landlady pulled her pints there, and a boatload of vicars were beached just yards from rescue and refreshment.
Now Rob and Michelle Chamberlayne hope to add another chapter or two to the famous pub’s tales of the riverbank.
The couple want to reopen it at Easter, run it until the Autumn then give it a refurbishment over the Winter.
“It’s always been a fantastic pub,” said Rob, who with Michelle has breathed new life in to the Royal Exchange at Hartpury.
“It’s passed through a few hands in recent years and we want to put it back on the map.
“We don’t want to change much - we want to sell good local real ales, such as Wye Valley and others, and ciders from Weston’s, and good food.”
On the eastern bank of the River Severn north of Gloucester, it hasn’t flooded since 2007 but has been marooned by high water, most notably in 1947 when Cheltenham-born landlady Joan Mitchell and her husband Griff had been behind the bar for seven years.
She only stopped pulling pints in 2001 and died a year later. Despite the death of Griff in 1950, she brought up two young children, six-year-old Ann and two-year-old John, who became landlord in 1985.
She diversified in to riverbank fishing, camping, caravanning and catering. It went down well during the austere 1950s, as Gloucestershire folk in need of a break came to the now eroded ‘beach’. It was known locally as the Gloucester Lido, although the waters are too dangerous to swim in now.
In 2002 a party of vicars from Stonehouse Deanery aboard the King Arthur became stuck on a sandbank in the middle of the Severn, near the pub. None were able to walk on water, so a crew member had to wade to the shore to be rescued.
*An equally famous watering hole a short trip downstream on the western bank, The Boat Inn at Ashleworth Quay, is temporarily closed but its owners are hopeful of reopening soon.