Villagers gather to mark a year since closure of historic Nelson pub in Burnham Thorpe
- Credit: David Black
The heart and soul of the community was lost with the closure of a historic pub, said village residents who gathered to mark a year since the last pint was pulled.
The Lord Nelson in Burnham Thorpe closed on September 13 last year when it was repossessed by brewery Greene King after a dispute with tenants.
The owners said at the time they would be refurbishing the 17th century building before re-opening it by late spring but the pub, named after the village's famous seafaring hero, is still firmly shut.
Nearly 50 villagers and regulars who used to drink there, gathered in front of the pub for a pint and a song from the Nelson's Shantymen to mark the occasion.
Diana Black, speaking for the community group The Friends of Burnham Thorpe, said: 'It's so sad to see this historic pub, in the village where Nelson was born, still shut after a year.
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'It used to be a really important hub for the community.
'Greene King originally said it was their intention to reopen for trading as soon as possible, however they have now assured us that they expect to submit a planning application very soon to extend the rear of the building.
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'If that application goes okay then they can get on with that work at the same time as doing essential refurbishment and then reopen. It can't come soon enough for the village.'
Friends member Mima Garland, who lives next door to the pub, said she had spent a year explaining to disappointed visitors and tourists that the pub was closed.
'One older couple had walked a long way to get here and expected to be able to eat and rest before walking on,' she said. 'Luckily for them one of the locals went out of their way to drive them to the next village.
'The pub's closure has really affected everyone. It's been a real loss to the heart and soul of the community. Plus it's a real part of England's heritage.'
A significant feature of the pub was always the Nelson-related memorabilia. Much of this had been lent or donated to the pub over the years. It is hoped that when the pub reopens some of these items can be redisplayed and that new items will be lent so that the traditional character of The Lord Nelson will be restored.
The pub was named after Nelson in 1798 after his victory at the battle of the Nile.