Why not have a liquid lunch whilst afloat? ‘The Castle Barge’ floating pub, Newark

Situated a stone’s throw from Newark Castle on the River Trent, is one of the most unusual pubs in the UK. The Castle Barge (formerly known as ‘Ril Elsie’, registered in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire), is moored at The Wharf on the east bank of the Trent, just north of where the Great North Road (at this point known as the B6326) crosses the river.

This steel barge was built in 1923, for the grain trade. ‘Ril Elsie’ worked between the port of Kingston-upon-Hull, an inland port on the River Hull some 25 miles from the North Sea, and the river port of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. The capacity of the barge was equivalent to 20 trucks. She was owned by Spillers Foods Ltd, and towards the end of her working life serviced the large flour and animal feed mills close to Spillers Wharf, Gainsborough.

 At the end of her useful life, in 1979, ‘Ril Elsie’ was sold for scrap value – £2000 – to North Country Breweries of Hull (at that time owned by Northern Foods Ltd., later, in 1985, bought by the Nottinghamshire-based Mansfield Breweries). Work to convert ‘Ril Elsie’ to a floating hostelry began in 1980, with the majority of the project being undertaken at Fiskerton, Nottinghamshire.

Now moored close to the centre of town, called The Castle Barge, and advertising ‘great pub food available all day’ she is enjoying a VERY lively retirement. This floating pub is extremely popular with the younger crowd, and is a most colourful and unusual venue. There is even a supporters group called the Castle Barge Society (drop by their Facebook page).


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