The oldest pub in Newhaven has been saved by Lewes brewery Harveys in a financial climate where pubs are closing at the rate of 18 a week nationwide.
The Bridge Inn was built in the 1620s and according to Carol Walton from local history website Our Newhaven it is probably the second oldest building in the town, after St Miichael’s Church.
Harveys said it hoped the pub would open again later this year but explained it was too early to release any details about its plans for the pub.
Harveys managing director Hamish Elder said: “We have been to have a good look at it.
“There’s a lot of work that needs doing.
“All I can say at this stage is it will be some time before we have completed on the purchase and before we have done all the necessary works and refurbishments.
“We only do quality operations. What sort of food we are going to do and what we are going to do with the letting rooms, that is all to be decided.”
Hamish said the pub had been closed for some months. Harveys has 47 pubs in Sussex, Kent and even London.
The Bridge Inn’s claim to fame was when King Louis Philippe of France and his Queen Marie Amelie stayed overnight during their flight from the French Revolution in 1848, according to Carol from www.ournewhaven.org.uk
Carol said the King and Queen arrived aboard the steamer Express from Le Havre and were received by William Catt, who owned the tide mills at Bishopstone.
The party were rowed in and put ashore near the current lifeboat house.
Up until a few years ago, words depicting this occasion were painted on the front wall of the hotel, said Carol.
They left for Croydon the next day where they were met by Queen Victoria’s coach.
Carla Butler, a town, district and county councillor for Newhaven, said: “It’s great that a local brewery with local interests has acquired it, especially when pubs nationally are closing at a rate of 18 every week.
“The Bridge Inn has so much potential and I am looking forward to supporting them.”
President of Newhaven Chamber of Commerce Annie Lorys said: “We think this is great news for Newhaven.
“Harveys has long been established as our finest local brewery and to see them returning to Newhaven after an absence of several years is a welcome sight. We wish them every success with this venture and I am sure that many of our members are looking forward to downing a pint or two of Harvey’s beer in the Bridge when it re-opens.”