Welcome to the neigh-bourhood!
Published: Monday 30th Jul 2018
Written by: Chloe Baker
The Adnams name is synonymous with Southwold, the brewer’s influence over – and investment in – the town still very much in evidence today. Take a brewery tour and you’ll see some of the many Adnams-owned buildings that are dotted around the town… but book a self-catering break at The Stables and you’ll be at the centre of the company’s heritage too.
An exclusive development of only four properties tucked away on a little side street, just moments from the marketplace, this was once the stable block for Adnams Brewery's dray horses. And, complete with all the essentials for a hassle-free stay as well as some luxurious finishing touches, No 4 The Stables is perfect for holidays all year round.
Yet up until 2006 this development was what former Head Horseman Chris Orchard describes as ‘a menagerie’, housing up to four horses that played such an important role in maintaining Adnams supplies to the hostelries of Southwold and its surrounds.
Formerly a State Trumpeter in the Household Cavalry, Chris began working with the Adnams horses in 1992 and says: “When I started we had Prince, Sovereign and Regent – all Percherons. There was a maximum of four horses, and they used to go out as far as Wrentham, though I just did the town deliveries.”
The work of driving the horses was shared between Chris and colleague Emil Svoboda, formerly a trapeze artist in a Czech circus.
“We operated on two horses and a dray taking beer from the brewery to the depot, and one single horse delivering to the pubs,” Chris explains.
“People used to visit them in the stables all the time – they were much-loved in the town. Sovereign once stole a lady's celery from her shopping basket, and Big John used to kick the door for attention. One year Prince and Regent both got stuck up to their necks in ditches on the marsh where they spent the summer and had to be rescued by the fire brigade.”
The drays’ working days ended in 2006 when Adnams built its new eco-distribution centre on the outskirts of town. The horses – all geldings, so they have no offspring –returned to Spalding and the farm they’d originally come from. “They do a bit of ploughing and some weddings now, I believe,” says Chris.