BBC News

Lundy Island: New staff wanted for 'magical' pub

By Johanna Carr
BBC News

image captionThe Marisco Tavern is the only pub on the island and keeps its doors open through the night

A tiny island that has "everything and nothing" needs new staff to work in a pub that never closes its doors.

The successful applicants will get their own cottage to live in, a commute of a few hundred metres and a ready-made group of friends.

Lundy, which has a population of 27 permanent staff, lies 11 miles off the coast of North Devon and is just three miles long and half a mile wide.

Despite its isolated location, current staff say life there is never lonely.

The Landmark Trust, which has been managing Lundy for 50 years, is advertising for two couples to move to the island.

Three of the four people will work as general assistants at the only pub, the Marisco Tavern, and the fourth job is for an island maintenance person.

image copyrightPaul White Aerial views / Alamy Stock Photo
image captionLundy has 23 holiday properties, a campsite and a 14-bed hostel for group bookings

The pub keeps its doors open 24 hours a day so people can use the payphone, or campers can avoid the rain.

It is also the only building on the island to have lighting after the generators shut down for the night - another quirk new staff will have to get used to in their own homes.

Island manager Rob Waterfield said the biggest skill staff needed was tolerance.

"You have really got to learn to accept people's faults and their idiosyncrasies," he said.

He said the pub was a "massive part of the community" and added: "Everyone meets up, everyone goes. It is a really old-fashioned way of living."

image captionRob Waterfield has been island manager for the last three years

Zoe Barton, 29, who came to Lundy with her partner two and a half years ago, said island life was quite vibrant and it was hard to be lonely.

"Sometimes you want a night in and you have to say 'I want to be alone tonight'.

"You have to be specific or people will keep texting you like 'when are you coming down for a drink'," she said.

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Working in the tavern will mean serving staff, volunteers and visitors, including many who return regularly to the island.

Pub regular Adrian Smith, 55, from near Preston, first came to Lundy as a child on a day trip in 1975.

A day trip turned into yearly family holidays and then 13 years ago he started bringing his own sons to the island he describes as "magical".

image captionThe shop is staffed by Sue Waterfield and Zoe Barton
image captionThe pub is decorated with historic flotsam and jetsam rescued from the many wrecks and previous supply ships

"It is one of those places where I say to people there is nothing and everything here," he said.

"There is nothing on tap for you, you find what you want but there's castles to explore, there are lighthouses to climb, there is prehistoric hut circles you can sit in."

image captionAdrian Smith and his son Thomas Smith regularly come to the island on holiday
image captionGrant and Shelley Sherman work on Lundy

Mr Smith said the Marisco Tavern was "a proper pub in terms of what a pub used to be as a hub, as a focal point of the village".

He added: "It is the only place in the world I think I have ever been the last one kicked out of the pub."

Receptionist Shelley Sherman, who has worked on Lundy for 11 years and met her husband there, said there was one thing that helped make the small community work.

"We have all got a common love of the island and that goes a long way to holding us all together," she said.

image captionThe new staff will rely on the MS Oldenberg as their main link to the mainland

Related Topics

  • Ilfracombe
  • Preston
  • National Trust

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