Owner's plea for local business a year after saving historic pub
PUBLISHED: 19:50 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:50 09 January 2020
The owners of an historic Suffolk pub, rumoured to have once been linked to notorious gangsters the Kray twins, are appealing to customers to "use or lose it".
Now operating as The Fox at Barking, the former Barking Fox, in Barking Road, closed down for two years in 2016 after a Chinese buffet ceased trading.
The 170-year-old building was saved when local business owners Antony and Debbie Horsham decided to take it over in 2018.
The couple had driven to the pub to eat at the Chinese. However on finding it had closed they decided to give the building, which dates back to 1742, a new lease of life by creating an English village pub.
They reopened the inn under a new name The Fox at Barking in November 2018 and now, a year on, Mr Horsham says business is good.
However, the 39-year-old is also making a "use it or lose it" plea to locals, after the number of neighbours eating and drinking at the pub was down on expectations.
"When we first decided to take over the pub we received a good response from locals," he said.
"Business has been good but sadly we haven't seen too many of them on a regular basis. You see local businessman saying use it or lose it and I think that is the same for shops and pubs.
"We have several businesses and we know when one isn't making financial sense then it may not be sensible to continue running it."
Mrs Horsham added: "We have never run a business like it. It is hard work but it is fun. It is a really social business to run, You meet so many people everyday.
"I'm slightly more optimistic about the pub. We are doing well, but it would be good to see more locals coming in."
The historic pub which was originally known as The Fox Inn has a long history, being used as a nightclub and a cabaret club featuring names such as Lenny Henry and Bob Monkhouse.
It was even rumoured that the pub had links to gangsters Ronnie Knights and the Kray twins, when it was known as the Knights of Barking.
Mr Horsham said: "Currently the majority of our business comes from people who live out of Barking.
"We have music night and performances which are really popular and we have a great locally sourced breakfast and carvery which we serve on the weekend."