Last pub in Portsmouth road to close after more than 70 years

Ray Shaw
Ray Shaw
John and Aneta Orlowska with Nicola and Luke Bailey

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A WELL-ESTABLISHED Portsmouth pub has announced that it will be closing after more than 70 years.

The Battle of Minden, in St Mary’s Road, Kingston, which has been on the site in its present form since 1946, will serve its last pints on Saturday, January 28.

The Battle of Minden public house in St Mary's Road, Fratton

The Battle of Minden public house in St Mary's Road, Fratton

Landlord Ray Shaw, 68, who has run the pub for nearly 25 years, is retiring, with the pub’s future now hanging in the balance.

He said: ‘I would like to thank all the customers for their support over the years.

‘I have explained to them all that, especially with the state of the industry now, I fancy a bit of retirement.’

Ray, a Royal Navy veteran, said his trade had been hit by low supermarket prices, which have encouraged people to drink at home.

He said: ‘Trade is not as it used to be; it’s the same with many back street pubs because of the competition from supermarkets.’

Ray, who is originally from Sunderland but has lived above the pub since he started, said he would be staying in Portsmouth.

‘It’s not just a pub to me,’ he said. ‘It has been my home for the past 24 years. It is a double wrench.’

Ray said he was looking forward to spending some time travelling with his partner and seeing more of his seven grandchildren – with the eighth due later this month. Pub owner Kipcroft Propertries Ltd gained permission to turn the building into eight flats after it bought the building from Enterprise in 2010.

However Ray won a reprieve to stay at the pub, but it is believed that Kipcroft will now look to renew the planing permission and carry out the conversion.

Residents were shocked at news of the pub’s closure. Paul Stables, 30, from Samuel Road, said: ‘It seems to be closing without much warning.’

Terry Shogger, 81, said: ‘It always seemed rather busy. Every time I walked past it looked like there was a good atmosphere in there.’

The pub is the last of five pubs that once traded on St Mary’s Road. It was also reputedly the only pub in the country to bear its name, which derives from a battle fought during the Seven Years War between 1756 and 1763.

The pub is still open and a final party will be held on January 28 from 8pm.