Second of the day in our pub study tour was the Queen’s Head, a venue that I visited last December with friends for food. It was all rather pleasant, although not particularly cheap, with efficient service and decent food. The building itself is historic, dating back to the early seventeenth century after the previous one was destroyed by fire. In the nineteenth century it was taken over by the Diss Brewery, then became part of Lacons and then in turn it was purchased by Whitbread.
It was noted in the local press in May 1982 that Whitbread had overseen an extensive renovation with Roger and Pat Fitton being the licencees. They were proudly noting that they sold a real ale at this stage, a beer from the Thomas Wethered brewery. At that point they had already been operating the pub for six years, having managed a pub in Suffolk and then before that Roger had been in the Royal Navy for 22 years and Pat was a former Wren. Unfortunately Roger died a couple of years later, although Pat kept the pub until 1986.
There was one real ale available, the Ghost Ship from Adnams which was well kept and tasted as expected. The beer selection is generally weak, there’s the slightly less generic keg option of Beavertown Neck Oil, but otherwise it’s one of the poorest selections in Wymondham.
It’s a food-led pub, but they make drinkers welcome and there are some seats at the bar for when the tables are filled with diners. The service was friendly and the atmosphere in the pub is inviting and laid-back. Everything was clean, so it felt comfortable and organised.
There’s another story relating to John Pearson, the son of this venue’s landlord, George Pearson (although he had left the pub by the time of the incident). John Pearson was found dead in a straw stack in 1907 and it was thought that he had been poisoned. John had apparently done a few things he shouldn’t have been doing with the accounting of the Forehoe Guardians, but matters had been resolved and he was given his job back after the suitable apologies. John continued with problems relating to mental health relating to the incident and the jury at his inquest found that he had “committed suicide by poisoning himself with carbolic acid while temporarily insane”. I mention this as mental health problems were not rare at the time, but the media sometimes reported them in a slightly careless manner shall we say. At least with John Pearson, the local media made clear about the work that he had done in the community and noted how much he would be missed.
The on-line reviews for the pub are very positive and for food, I’d suggest that this is one of the better options in Wymondham. We would have considered eating here, but we arrived just as they stopped the lunchtime food service, so we had to make other plans for that. For those just wanting a beer, I wouldn’t say that it’s unwelcoming or a bad choice, but it’s not really aiming at that market in terms of the breadth of beer options. Those wanting wine and other decadent drinks might find the choices more exciting, but whatever customers go in for, this is a well-run venue and I rather enjoyed it.