John calls it a day after 28 years as Portsmouth pub landlord

LEAVING John Nash who is retiring from running the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms in Albert Road, Southsea. He has been landlord at the pub for 28 years.' Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (122944-4)
LEAVING John Nash who is retiring from running the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms in Albert Road, Southsea. He has been landlord at the pub for 28 years.' Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122944-4)

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HE’S poured tens of thousands of pints and met people from all walks of life during his career.

Now one of Portsmouth’s longest-serving pub landlords is calling it a day after 28 years.

John Nash, 62, of The Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms, in Albert Road, Southsea, has decided to retire and swap the beer pumps for golf clubs instead.

And he’s looking forward to spending more time pursuing his passion for fishing – and having a home with a garden.

‘It’s most definitely the end of an era,’ John said.

‘The pub has never had a garden so I’m looking forward to getting a place in the Southsea, Milton or Eastney area with a nice space at the back.

‘I must have served tens of thousands of pints during my time. It’s impossible to know exactly.’

John is the city’s second longest serving publican after Mollie Powell, who has been behind the bar of The Duke of Devonshire, in Albert Road, for 29 years.

John, who grew up in Willesden ino north-west London, left in 1975 to work behind the bar of a Pontins holiday camp in Somerset.

He then worked at Pontins camps at Selsey and Bracklesham Bay before becoming the landlord of The Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms in 1984.

‘I always loved pubs,’ John said.

‘I was fascinated with pub names and I always thought that I would one day become a landlord.

Steven Arnold, who played Ashley Peacock in Coronation Street, stopped by at the pub while he starred in the King’s Theatre’s 2010 Christmas panto Jack and The Beanstalk.

‘It was nice seeing a celebrity in the pub,’ John said.

‘He got on well with everyone.’

John also recalls an incident involving his second wife Carol, who he split up with in 2000, and their pet python.

‘One day back in the late 1980s she came down to the bar with the snake to show everyone,’ John said.

‘An Irish customer who was a regular at the time took one look at it and shot out the door.

‘We never saw him again after that.’

John will leave the pub, which is owned by Fuller’s, once his replacement has been found. Everyone was shocked when I told them I was retiring,’ he said.

‘A lot of people expected me to be here forever.

‘I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.’