Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The New Inn, Ridgewood, Uckfield, East Sussex

Ridgewood is a village just south of Uckfield and this four-square building stands on the Lewes Road. Now housing the Ridgewood Care Services, there are no prizes for spotting that this was at some previous point the New Inn. What has long puzzled me is what seems to be brewery livery in the two roundels flanking the front elevation. Several times I’ve passed the place on the bus and never managed to make out the lettering; but in July of last year I finally walked the distance back from a drink at the Alma, Uckfield to take these photographs.

The left-side roundel is by far the best preserved of the two and the letters can be identified, quite clearly, as a B, T and a C (although not necessarily in that order). Even that did not immediately clarify matters as none of the obvious candidates for defunct local breweries seemed to fit any combination of those letters. It was in the records of the now-defunct Tamplins Brewery, Brighton, that I eventually found mention of the New Inn, Ridgewood Common, Uckfield. It had been owned by the Southdowns and East Grinstead Brewery from 1898 until 1920, when brewery and pub were acquired by Tamplins.

So that presumably clears up the mystery. This New Inn and that listed in the Tamplins records are one and the same, the roundels date from 1920 onwards (that does look like interwar brickwork fronting a much older building) and the letters stand for Tamplins Brewery (or Brewing) Company. Except that I’ve seen hundreds of ex-Tamplins houses and never a roundel like this. And Tamplins were formally known at the time as Tamplin & Sons Ltd. Why TBC?

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