Grandson of former US president Dwight Eisenhower pays visit to Southwick pub to remember links to D-Day

Greg Clark, landlord of The Golden Lion at Southwick
Greg Clark, landlord of The Golden Lion at Southwick

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It’s a pub bursting with history – but The Golden Lion prides itself on remaining relevant as ever.

The local, tucked away in the village of Southwick over Portsdown Hill, clinched second place in The News 2015 pub of the year competition.

He just wanted to come and sit in peace and quiet and remember that this was where his grandfather came to have a beer.

Greg Clark, landlord of The Golden Lion, in Southwick

It was one of more than 100 pubs that took part, and was pipped to the post by The Tap, in London Road, North End.

But landlord Greg Clark says he’s proud to be known as one of the best in the region – and puts his success down to his pub’s character, local beers, fresh meals and loyal customers.

Greg said: ‘I always explain it that this village is 10 miles but 100 years away from Portsmouth.

‘Because of its location, and its unique position within the Southwick estate, we get lots of visitors.

‘Especially as it has links to D-Day, we get American, Australian and Canadian visitors on a regular basis.’

Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Montgomery met at Southwick’s Golden Lion just days before the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy.

The pair chatted over an ale and a grapefruit juice at the pub, which served as an impromptu officers’ mess in the run-up to the D-Day landings. And recently, General Eisenhower’s grandson David Eisenhower, also the son-in-law of the 37th US president Richard Nixon, stopped by.

Greg recalls: ‘He just wanted to come and sit in peace and quiet and remember that this was where his grandfather came to have a beer.’

Up until 1957, master brewer Dick Olding supplied the pub’s ale from a brewery opposite the car park.

When he retired, the building became a museum for locals to discover the secrets of the trade. But Dick’s legacy still lives on in an ale named after him.

‘Old Dick’ is brewed by Suthwyk Ales, a group of farmers living on the Southwick estate.

Part of the defunct brewery is now a beer shop, run by Southwick Brewhouse.

The pub prides itself on selling ales from within a 30-mile radius, though it branches out when holding a beer festival as part of the village’s D-Day Revival celebrations. The event is held every summer and sees the area transformed into war-time Britain.

Talking about the pub’s success in The News contest, Greg said: ‘It’s a really, really great feeling, it’s amazing.

‘It would have been nice to win, however I’m not bitter about it. I came second in a competition with more than 100 pubs, so to be one of the top two pubs in the area – that’s amazing.’