Thorpe pub’s history appeal as it celebrates 80 years since opening

Landlord Josh Dickens and historian Nick Williams discuss the history of The Gordon pub in Thorpe.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Landlord Josh Dickens and historian Nick Williams discuss the history of The Gordon pub in Thorpe. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Thursday, May 8, 2014
6:30 AM

A Thorpe St Andrew pub is appealing for information about its past as it celebrates 80 years since it first opened.

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The Gordon public house was built in 1934 on the Hillcrest estate to provide a community facility for the families who settled there.

Thorpe History Group secretary Nick Williams said while the pub was named after the 19th century Major-General Gordon, also known as Gordon of Khartoum, nobody knew why that name had been chosen.

He added: “While pubs were often named after the road they are in, I’ve been told this used to be Walberswick Avenue and it was renamed Gordon Avenue to fit the name of the pub.”

The pub has been through a turbulent time in recent years, including changes of management, brief closures and being listed for sale.

Landlord Josh Dickens, who has been running the pub for nearly a year, said he was keen to ensure the pub has a brighter future.

He said: “We have got a really hard core group of regulars but it’s been a struggle getting new people in and I would encourage people to give us a try.

“If anyone has anything interesting about the pub history then it would be great to hear from them.”

Former landlord David Webster, 68, ran the pub from 1974 to 1981 and after a spell working abroad he returned to live in the area and is now a regular.

He said: “Sometimes you couldn’t get in here on a Friday night. I remember one Christmas Day people were all outside because they couldn’t fit in here it was that packed.”

Donald Rayner, 75, who first started freqenting the Gordon in 1962, said: “Other pubs in the area I’ve only probably been in once or twice in the whole time. Why go any further when you have got a good pub here?”

Mr Rayner, who was involved in Thorpe St Andrew Football Club for many years, said he had seen the pub have its fair share of ups and downs, including a time when one landlord had allowed the pest problem to get out of control and there were mice running up and down the bar.

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