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‘That’s dedication’ - see the tiny model of the Nutshell pub by a customer missing his pint

PUBLISHED: 19:00 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 20:26 03 July 2020

Landlord Geoff Page (left) and Philip Healey Pearce with the model outside the pub Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

Landlord Geoff Page (left) and Philip Healey Pearce with the model outside the pub Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

A pint-sized model of what was Britain’s smallest pub has been created by a customer who’s been missing the “iconic” drinking hole during lockdown - but he’ll have to wait for it to reopen.

Philip Healey Pearce with his model outside the Philip Healey Pearce with his model outside the "iconic" Nutshell pub in the Traverse Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

Philip Healey Pearce, who makes model buildings for a living, said he wanted to capture the historic Nutshell pub in Bury St Edmunds “in miniature for posterity”, fearing the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the establishment.

The 49-year-old’s tiny model of the Greene King pub, which he created in his workshop in the town, has also captured the attention of locals on social media, with more than 250 likes on the ‘We Really Love Bury St Edmunds’ Facebook group.

Pubs are allowed to open this weekend as the government further relaxes lockdown measures, but with the Nutshell measuring only 15ft by 7ft landlord Geoff Page said it would be “impossible” to maintain social distancing - even at one metre.

MORE: ‘It’s good but scary’ - Pubs to reopen across Suffolk from July 4

Mr Page, who runs the pub with his business partner Jason Mealey, said it would therefore not be opening currently as it wouldn’t be the responsible thing to do, but has applied to West Suffolk Council for a pavement licence to operate outside.

The model of the Nutshell has drawn attention on social media Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIThe model of the Nutshell has drawn attention on social media Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

He said: “If it was any other pub, to a certain extent, in town you can create that space between people so they can enjoy a pint between friends and family and not overtly mixing more than the recommendations allow.

“It’s just not possible [here]. It’s just not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is get outside drinking if we can and do that responsibly; something that’s good for customers and good for Bury and doesn’t affect anybody negatively.”

He said the pavement licence application had just gone in, adding West Suffolk Council had been supportive during the crisis.

A West Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “We are continuing to speak with the Nutshell and other businesses to help them reopen safely and as swiftly as possible.”

Landlord Geoff Page inside the Nutshell, which lost its title as smallest pub in the UK in 2016 Picture: MARIAM GHAEMILandlord Geoff Page inside the Nutshell, which lost its title as smallest pub in the UK in 2016 Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MORE: Nutshell loses its crown as UK’s smallest pub to pint-sized Little Prince in Margate

The Nutshell, which is believed to have been a pub from 1867, lost its crown as smallest in the UK in 2016.

It is popular with tourists, as well as locals, with its quirky interior featuring a mummified cat and currency from around the world.

Mr Healey Pearce, who used to work in the distribution department at Greene King, said the Nutshell was “iconic”.

“I love living in Bury and I love all the buildings and the history. That’s such a lovely little pub so I thought I’d like to make a model of it while it’s still a pub.”

The Nutshell is known for its quirky decor, including a mummified cat that hangs from the ceiling Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIThe Nutshell is known for its quirky decor, including a mummified cat that hangs from the ceiling Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MORE: Lockdown: What is changing on July 4?

Mr Page, who is a mortgage broker as his main job while Mr Mealey is a project manager, said the Nutshell business was “ticking over”, adding they had been able to access a small business grant, the furlough scheme and Greene King was also supportive.

He said the model was “absolutely brilliant”.

“That’s dedication, isn’t it, if you miss your pub and make a model of it.”

Mr Healey Pearce said the Nutshell model would be available for people to buy or as a kit to build themselves through his business Intentio, and he is also planning to capture other Bury buildings, such as the Rose and Crown pub, in model form.

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