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Love Your Local: The Northcote Hotel

ON THE OCHE The darts team at the Northcote Hotel public house. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (13125-4)

ON THE OCHE The darts team at the Northcote Hotel public house. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (13125-4)

 

The Northcote Hotel offers more than just a warm place for people to go with friends and have a drink.

Punters at the pub, in Francis Avenue, Southsea, can find out more about the history of where they live, celebrities and key events over their pint.

One section of the public bar is dedicated to Sherlock Holmes because the fictional detective was created by former Portsmouth resident Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The display contains a chiming clock in an alcove on the wall with a replica pipe, magnifying glass, Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat and Dr Watson’s bowler hat surrounding it.

In the pub’s lounge bar customers can find out about RMS Titanic’s doomed voyage from Southampton to New York City in 1912.

A replica of RMS Titanic stands in a tall, glass frame and a poster with information about technical details about the vessel is found above it.

Just when people think there’s enough to see, there’s a passage in the pub full of pictures of celebrities who have stopped by with their autographs on.

Stars who have appeared in the pub, which dates from 1896, include former EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor, British actor and comedian Bobby Davro and Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket.

Barry Kewell, who will celebrate his 23rd year in charge of The Northcote Hotel in March, said: ‘The different features in the pub are certainly a talking point. It’s stuff that I’m interested in, plus if people come into my pub it’s nice for them to have something to read and look at. It’s better than just having a few bits and pieces on the walls here and there.

‘In the Sherlock Holmes display there’s also a plate which lists all the names of the people that have played Sherlock Holmes on screen.

‘In the celebrity section there’s also a picture of Rod Stewart which was signed by him for me during the mid 1990s at Wembley Arena.’

The pub has one men’s and one ladies’ darts team as well as two pool teams.

Barry, 63, is joined at the pub by his wife Lynn Kewell, who does the finances, and his daughter Samantha Kewell, 29. Samantha lives at the pub with her son Jordan, six.

Barry’s son Lee Kewell, 39, holds a music quiz once a month. The pub has four real ales on tap; Wadworth 6X, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Hop Back Brewery’s Summer Lightning and Irving Invincible. ‘Though we serve real ale we’re not a real ale pub,’ Barry said. ‘We’ve got a great mix of people made up of locals and students who also like to drink lager and Guinness.’

MEET THE LANDLORD

MANY landlords find it difficult enough running one pub.

But Barry Kewell has held the leases of dozens of other pubs as well as The Northcote Hotel over the years.

Barry, who grew up in Copnor, Portsmouth, ran: The Graham Arms, in George Street, Buckland, for eight years; The Portland Arms, in Stamshaw Road, Stamshaw, for two years; The George Hotel, in George Street, Old Portsmouth and The Rutland Arms, in Francis Avenue, Southsea, for eight years; and The Leopard, in London Road, Purbrook, for six years.

‘The pub industry is in my blood,’ Barry said.

‘My great-grandparents ran pubs and my wife Lynn’s parents and grandparents ran pubs too.

‘Being a landlord isn’t a job, you can’t look at it like that.

‘It’s a way of life.

‘It’s a lot like being on the stage.

‘Every time you walk downstairs in the pub you have to leave your troubles behind and listen to what the punter has to say.

‘They want to tell you about their problems and they’re not interested in you having a moan.’

Barry said his second cousin is Australian football star Harry Kewell, whose career includes playing for Leeds United, Liverpool and Turkish club Galatasaray.

Barry’s daughter Samantha, who has worked at the pub since she was 18, said: ‘There’s a really friendly atmosphere here and I’ve got to know the local people fairly well.

‘Some people have known me since I was a little girl.

‘I like this job because I love talking to people.

‘Everyone is really nice.’

 

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