THE LOCKS INN; PAST AND PRESENT…
The origins of the Locks Inn at Geldeston are inextricably linked to the historic navigations of the River Waveney. The navigation was a private one, part of a series of three, owned throughout the 16th to 18th Centuries largely by a series of merchants in coal, grain and malt, in use until 1934. The navigation is much older though, an Act of Parliament in 1670 reinstating it as a private navigation. Wherries and other craft hauled goods between the ports of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, through the lock, to Bungay and its thriving brewing and malting industries.
Still far out on the marshes of the river valley, remote from all mains services, the Locks Inn began life as a mill-keeper’s cottage, later being used by the lockkeeper. Said to have been built in the 1560’s, and modernised in 1666, it was granted a public house license in the 17th Century.
In these bawdy times, as well as locals tramping across the marsh footpaths and trade from river traffic, with differing constabulary on either side of the county border running through the lock, it was a haven for cross border smuggling and illegal prize-fighting. Though in guidebooks as a local beauty spot for the last 150 years, the Locks became one of the many destinations for the booming Broads leisure industry from the 1930’s. Scenes from around the Locks throughout the centuries can be found in prints and photographs on the pub walls.
The middle of the 20th Century brought famous long-standing publicans such as the inimitable and bizarre eccentricity of Susan Ellis and the friendly Walter Coe, renown for attracting customers as trade dropped in the winter with tales of ghosts spotted. Mind you, the current residents will testify to the visits of benign presences that keep a watchful eye over the running of the pub.
While we never dare lose touch with the heritage of the old ways, country traditions and a respect for the natural world, now in the 21st Century and with ‘improved’ road access, alongside visitors from our local urban, rural and waterway communities, we attract walkers, boaters, canoeists, anglers, birdwatchers and people from all walks of life from across the country and beyond – all enjoying a pub set in surroundings of outstanding natural beauty. With a huge riverside garden, adjoining games/function/dining rooms, being free to provide award winning ales from the Wavney Valley, surrounding counties and across the country, live entertainment, real pub food, pub games, a roaring fire and a unique atmosphere, it’s fair to say the Locks Inn is truly all things to all people.
Images courtesy of www.BroadlandMemories.co.uk