South Warwickshire's longest-serving pub landlord retires after 36 years
ONE of the longest-serving pub landlords in south Warwickshire has called time after 36 years behind the pumps.
It was 1985 when Jim Cruttwell and his wife Ann took over the White Hart at Newbold – the pub where it’s believed chicken-in-the-basket may first have been dished up.
By coincidence, the new landlord taking over from Jim and Ann – Richard Long – was born in exactly the same year.
The couple met at the Kings Head in Wellesbourne, where they worked, and moved to the White Hart the same year. They were married two years later.
Over the years, Jim and Ann have enjoyed the company of their regulars at the 16th century pub and restaurant, as well as welcoming the likes of a few famous names, such as actors Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Dunbar.
But it’s the story about the pub selling chicken-in-the-basket that makes Jim chuckle.
He told the Herald: “This all happened long before we came to the White Hart but there was an astute businessman in the 1960s called George Silver, who had his own banqueting company called Banquets of Oxford. He was the one who brought chicken-in-the-basket to the White Hart – this must have been in the late 60s or early 70s.
“The meal was so popular coachloads of customers turned up to enjoy a liqueur and choose chicken-in-the-basket from a leather-bound menu. I think people liked the trolley service that came with the meal as well.”
The couple are leaving with a host of memories, such as the summer parties for which the pub was renowned, and Christmas Eves, which were also a special time as the Shipston Silver Band popped in to play carols.
Last Saturday night, more than 200 guests turned out for a party to celebrate the couple’s time in charge of the pub. One even drove from Doncaster to join Jim and Ann before driving home again.
“It was quite emotional at times,” Jim said. “We wanted to say a big thank-you to all our customers and ex-members of staff who gave us money and a fantastic trophy made from a cutting of oak in the pub garden.”
The couple are keeping their “what next?” plans close to their chest.
Jim added: “Retirement? We’ll just take each day as it comes.”