Pub owned by just two families in 125 years of serving customers

REGULARS Tom Allen and Kevin Dorey, right, in the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms, Southsea.    Picture: Allan Hutchings (110946-131)
REGULARS Tom Allen and Kevin Dorey, right, in the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms, Southsea. Picture: Allan Hutchings (110946-131)
Picture: RNLI

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Tucked away among Albert Road’s specialist bars and drinking spots, a traditional pub is proving as popular as ever with a wide range of customers.

The Southsea pub has stood firm in its location for more than 125 years, and in that time has only ever been in the ownership of two families.

But during that time its reputation as a focal point of the community has never changed.

Regular pub-goer Tom Allen, 27, of Southsea, said: ‘This place has a good, friendly atmosphere where you always feel welcome.

‘There’s a real mixture of people and everyone gets on really well.

‘I like coming here because you can relax and have a drink with friends.’

Regular Kevin Dorey was also full of praise for his local pub.

The 50-year-old of St Ronan’s Road, Southsea, said: ‘I have been coming here for about 12 years and think it’s one of the best pubs in Portsmouth.

‘There’s always a great atmosphere and things going on in the evenings.

‘You can come in, listen to some music, sing along, and have a good time.

‘The staff are brilliant too, friendly and easy to get along with.

‘I know recently people have started to drink at home more, because it might be cheaper.

‘But it’s definitely not as social.

‘I would rather walk down to the pub and have a laugh with friends, than sit alone at home.’

The pub was originally owned by the Walker family.

Bar manager Laura McAllister, who has been working at the pub for four years, explains how the pub got its name and its history.

Laura, 23, said: ‘The pub was named in 1885 after the Fifth Hants Volunteers battalion, which has now been disbanded.

‘If you look around the pub you can see there’s loads of references to them.

‘We have paintings and memorabilia, which hang on the walls.

‘The pub has only ever been in two families’ hands since it first opened 126 years ago.

‘It first belonged to a man called Ted Walker, who passed the pub on to his daughter Gladys – and apparently she was born in the pub.’

The pub was then sold on to current landlord John Nash, who has been running it for 26 years.

‘We always get a great crowd in here,’ added Laura.

‘We’ve started to get younger people in, but at the same time keep our regular customers.

‘I love running the bar and talking to the customers.’