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The Margaret Catchpole, Holywells Park, Ipswich

Cliff Lane
Phone: 01473252450

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Margaret Catchpole

This is a large and extremely well preserved Tolly Cobbold pub, built in 1936 and retaining the original layout and many period features. The pub's name references a local heroine/outlaw who was briefly employed as a servant by the Cobbold family. Sadly, there was only one room open on my Good Friday lunchtime visit, which meant I was unable to explore the Saloon Bar or Smoke Room, having instead to make do with the huge Public Bar to the left of the entrance. This vast parquet floored space has loads of standard and tub chair seating filling the main body of the room, plus a few hard fixed benches around the perimeter, including a nice curved bench that follows the line of the large window bay on the left hand wall. The servery is on the rear wall and has a fantastic panelled counter and a comparatively disappointing bar back, decorated with a nice old radio set and pub clock and a less appropriate messy blackboard detailing karaoke, live music and quiz nights. The walls have lovely three quarter high panelling with a series of old paintings - many of a nautical theme - hung above. The front wall has an imposing stone fireplace which was lit on this visit and funnelled its smoke up one of the enormous chimneys that characterise the pub's exterior. There are a few bits of breweriana dotted around the room, but the eye generally gets caught by the numerous posters advertising live sport, with a TV to the right of the bar showing a rugby league feature as if to prove the point. There are a few slot machines and a juke box, but the more adventurous pub goer might want to try their hand on the immaculate bowling green which can be admired from the aforementioned bay window. One particularly unusual feature I noticed was a bell box mounted on a wall behind the bar, which would have alerted the bar staff to anyone using the bell pushes located throughout the pub.
Regrettably, the pub has three handpulls but had none in operation, leaving me a choice from the likes of keg Greene King IPA, Guinness and Worthington Creamflow. I opted for a pint of the black stuff, which set me back £3.50. The landlord seemed like an approachable chap, although the customers looked a little stand-offish, apart from their noisy kids who were briefly allowed to run amok.
This is a cracking bit of pub architecture and credit should go to the owners who have resisted the urge to make drastic changes down the years. It's a shame that the other rooms were closed and that there was no ale, as that would have rounded the visit off nicely. As it stands, the place is worth a look for the building, but doesn't really do much to encourage repeat visits.

On 19th June 2015 - rating: 5
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