This public house has been traced back as far as 1820 when it was already trading as The Barge Inn.
In the nineteenth century horse-drawn barges left the Forty Foot Bridge (or Swineshead Bridge as it is known today) to travel to Boston, Lincoln & even as far as Yorkshire along the local waterways. Anyone could travel & they would embark here onto what was a very haphazard form of transport by today’s standards. There were no regular departure times & the speed was only 6 miles per hour with regular stops to load & unload goods.
When the railway was constructed alongside the forty foot drain in the 1850s, the name was changed to The Railway Hotel - possibly with the hope of attracting a higher class of trade.
The census of 1881 records those staying at The Barge to be:
Landlord William Butler – also a butcher & farmer of 50 acres
His wife + four daughters
Thomas Smith - live-in groom employed at the Inn
Ann Wrench - live-in domestic servant at the Inn
Thomas Rawlinson - a cattle dealer
Elizabeth Oxby - a nurse
John Foster & William Martin - both local labourers
By 1937 the name The Railway Hotel had reverted back to The Barge although the reason is not known.
After the 2nd World War The Barge was owned by the Homes Brewery in Nottingham and various other breweries & pub companies until August 2001, when the freehold was purchased by the current owners & it is now a Free House.
My parents managed one of the old Berni Inns when I was growing up. Consequently I trained as a Chef when I left school & started work at the same place. I changed careers in my 20’s & spent the next 25 years as an Engineer before deciding to go back into the pub trade in the late 90’s. My engineering background & DIY skills were put to good use when I spent the 1st 6 years of ownership renovating
My background (in-between raising 3 sons) was always office based in Banking & Accountancy. When Kevin talked me into taking on a pub, little did I know what a huge life style change this would be. However my bookkeeping skills stood me in good stead to cope with the demands of a growing business.
Together we bought The Barge - a healthy business famous for its Fish & Chips. But there was a down-side - no serious repairs or renovations had been done for about 20 years, so the building was in a bad state - very run-down & neglected. We decided it was worth the gamble & set about updating & modernising everything - from the roof to the electrics to the drains. We built an extra dining room, a disabled toilet & doubled the size of the kitchen. The toilets were the 1st thing to be updated, but by the time we finished 6 years later they had to be done again. The result is what you see today & we are proud of our achievement, with many, many customers passing comment on how good the place looks & feels.
Today’s menus are far removed from the old Bar Snacks we took over. We still offer our Famous Fish & Chips but have added many & various home-cooked dishes, which we are increasingly becoming famous for as well. With 4 Chefs & many other staff covering 7 days a week opening, we can offer most customers what they want. We do not advertise & depend on “word of mouth” from our customers to spread our reputation far & wide.