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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Suffolk

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Beer in a Nutshell

The Nutshell Pub sign, Bury St Edmunds
© David Webb, 2003
During the Second World War, thousands of Americans were based in nearby air bases - they now make regular nostalgic visits to their old local - but the landlord hopes they do not all arrive at the same time.

On an average night, the pub plays host to around 20 customers. However, on 10 March 1984, 102 people and a dog named Bob actually squeezed in - they beat their previous record by just one.

Keeping up the traditions

None of the ornaments are ever dusted, a tradition dating back to that first landlord, Mr Stebbings. And, in line with other pub traditions, the Nutshell has its resident ghost. In fact, it boasts four - a little greedy, you might think for a place so small.

Ghost number one, first seen in 1971, lives on the third floor and is said to be a young, blonde-haired boy who was murdered in his bath - the date of that dastardly act is unknown.

Man drinking in the Nutshell Pub, Bury St Edmunds
© David Webb, 2003
The second ghost roams the second floor and has the appearance of a long-haired Victorian gentleman. His preferred place of residence is just outside the toilet door. The Landlord, Martin, stresses that it has nothing to do with the beer he sells.

The last of the ghosts - a pair - are seen by many regulars and can be found in the cellar.

They take the appearance of a monk and a nun who had an illicit love affair. When she became pregnant the monk rapidly disappeared. Fortunately for him it was long before the Child Support Agency was on the statute book.

Apart from being the smallest pub in the country, it might well be the smallest restaurant too.

On the second floor you can find one table and two chairs where couples can enjoy perhaps the smallest menu - order a small chicken dinner and you will be presented with a pickled egg!

Words: David Webb

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