New landlord toasts ‘lovely town’ as he reopens historic pub

Tony Parker and ZsuZsanna Toth outside the Swan Hotel, in Downham Market Picture: Chris Bishop

Tony Parker and ZsuZsanna Toth outside the Swan Hotel, in Downham Market Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A town centre pub which closed suddenly six months ago is back in business.

Previous licensees Brendan and Nikki Morgan called time on the historic Swan Hotel in Downham Market at the end of March.

The couple, who had run the High Street venue for four and a half years, said it was no longer viable in the current climate.

But pints are now being pulled again on a site where a watering hole of one form or another has served the town for around 1,000 years.

And new landlord Tony Parker says Downham is just his tipple.

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"It's a lovely town," he said. "It's well looked after with nice people, nice countryside.

"It's almost hidden, it's a little bit out of the way. It's nice, it feels comfortable, there's a good sense of community here. It's a beautiful market town." Mr Parker, now 42, has run pubs on and off for 18 years with stints in the engineering trade thrown in. He currently also operates The Railway in Whittlesey, Cambs.

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As well as manager ZsuZsannah Toth, he expects the Swan will need another four staff who will be recruited locally. He said it would remain a community-focussed pub.

Mr Parker plans to gradually refurbish its bars and upstairs letting rooms over the coming months.

Previous landlords Mr and Mrs Morgan paid tribute to the town as they announced the end of their time behind the bar.

They posted on its facebook page: "It is with great sadness that the time has come for us to say goodbye to the Swan Hotel.

"We have made many lifelong friends over the last four and half years and are so very grateful to those who have continued to support The Swan through the good and bad times."

The site of the Swan, a stone's throw from the clock tower, is said to have played host to some Royal guests centuries ago.

King John stayed at a hostelry which stood on the site in 1216. It was also a place of refuge for Charles I in 1646, when he was trying to evade capture from Parliamentary forces disguised as a vicar, after losing the Battle of Naseby.

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