One of West Dorset’s longest-serving landlords has retired – and his brother has taken over the pub. After 20 years at The Ship Inn in Coombe Street, Lyme Regis, Dave Henson is being followed by his brother Alan and his wife Virginia.
Alan and Virginia have moved down from London, where Alan was a self-employed roofer and Virginia was PA to a top civil servant in a major Government department. The couple got married in Lyme Regis before Christmas and now they’re running The Ship, which is their first pub.
“It’s been quite a change for us, really, and a good change,” said Alan.“We’re very happy.”Virginia said: “We’ve always loved Lyme Regis and I did harbour a dream that one day we’d end up living down here. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves, because we think – ‘Are we really here?”
Alan and Virginia have often been down to help Dave in the past, so they know the area, the pub, the locals – and The Ship’s owners, Palmers Brewery.
The couple are looking forward to getting The Ship repainted, to improving its small garden, and to building on the pub’s reputation for a good pint. Alan scored top marks on his surprise first inspection by Cask Marque.Alan said: “We’re getting a reputation for having a real nice pint and that’s the way I want to keep it. I clean the lines after every single barrel and before a new barrel goes on, I always try a little bit to make sure it goes out lovely to the punters.”
There are no plans at present to introduce food beyond crisps, nuts and other sundries.Nor will the clocks change. As Virginia explains: “They’re all half an hour fast. Dave called it London time, because he reckoned that London time is half an hour ahead of Lyme Regis time. It’s a running joke.”“All the locals know,” said Alan. “If we were to put the clocks right it would really confuse them, I can assure you.”“Everyone’s been so nice,” said Virginia, “and that’s how we want things to be. Good, friendly and fun.”