Friday, 1 April 2011

The Volunteer

Description of The Volunteer, 1953.

In 1953 the bar of the Volunteer was a replica of the bows of a ship, complete with lights, lifebuoys and other trimmings. Made from teak, the wood from the top of the bar to the floor was curved and, according to the landlord Mr. Albert Bosnell, was made in the clinker style with the planks overlapping. The two sides of the bar met at the “prow” of the ship and on either side of it was the name “Volunteer.” Between the deck and the bows was a cabinet, also of teak, with a glass front containing spirits.
On the wall hung a ship’s barometer and a ship’s clock, and on either side was a light - one red, one green. In the evening, with all the lights out except the coloured ones and one inside the “ship” the impression of a sea going vessel was even stronger. Even the room furniture matched the bows, it was of plain limed oak and all the doors had “portholes” in them.
But this was no new idea, it was a link with the pub’s past. Generations before seamen had called regularly at the Volunteer, in fact it was one of the most popular inns for sailors in the town. There used to be two rooms (the larger one was the one described above) while the smaller one was the Captain’s room which only captain’s and officers of the Merchant Navy used, while the crew always used the larger room. Even in 1953 some of the old salts could remember those days. Today the “Vol” as I remember it being affectionately called (pictured below in 2011) is in a bad state with cracked windows and peeling paintwork, a far cry from this 1953 description.

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