New owners for the country pub in the heart of Ipswich

Tom West and Josie Merrick outside the Nelson

Tom West and Josie Merrick outside the Nelson - Credit: Archant

The owners of an historic Ipswich pub are turning to it’s namesake to celebrate their transition from leasehold to freehold.

The Nelson food

The Nelson food - Credit: Archant

Tom West and Josie Merrick have been at the helm of The Nelson on Fore Street in Ipswich since July 2017, but have just completed the freehold acquisition from Adnams, and their first guest ales will include the popular Woodforde’s Nelson’s Revenge.

The Nelson is part of the Jolly Good Pubs group, which includes the Red Lion at Manningtree.

The couple took over the Marlborough at Dedham last December, and Mrs Merrick explained that since opening the kitchen there in April, they have been “very busy,” bucking the more negative trend in the national pubs market.

The couple have been investing in their pubs, growing their staff from 10 to over 50.

The Nelson in Ipswich

The Nelson in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

“We are passionate about pubs and ensuring they stay open and alive – they are such an important part of the community, whether in a large city or a small village,” said Mr West.

“Our customers are at the heart of what we do – many of them have already become firm friends and we look forward to meeting many more along the way. We are also lucky to have amazing staff who share our views on pubs and work with us to create the traditional pub atmosphere.”

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The couple have introduced a regular pub quiz and a Sunday roast to their pubs, and some smaller groups use the snug in the Red Lion for book clubs and poetry evenings.

The Lord Nelson occupies a prominent position just off the waterfront in a listed building, which was originally known as The Noah’s Ark. It was renamed The Lord Nelson after he was appointed as High Sheriff of Ipswich.

Mr West said that he and his partner are creating “a proper country pub in the heart of Ipswich” at the Nelson.

“We will now have the freedom to increase our range of cask ales with at least 3 guest ales each week.

“Our strong trading relationship with Adnams will continue and we will include favourites such as Ghost Ship and Southwold as part of our standard offering.’