History of The Greyhound pub in Ipswich, from 1840 to today
A pub has been known to operate on the site since 1840 when it first appeared in a trade directory. The publican was John Snelling, along with his female servant, Martha Long, and a tailor named William Wren.
At that time Henley Road did not exist, and the pub was officially in Globe Street, which became present-day St George’s Street. The route was one of the main ways out of Ipswich in those days, running up north from the Westgate. Ipswich School was a farm, and it's likely the pub was where town met country.
No-one is entirely sure how The Greyhound got its name. It's unlikely it was Mr Snelling's dog, but one regular believes it was inspired by the 50-gun warship, HMS Greyhound, which was built in Ipswich by Hubbards.
It was launched in 1702 but was lost in 1711 off Tynemouth. Thankfully, the pub has lasted a little longer.
William Lancaster took over the pub with his wife Elizabeth in 1848, and the 1855 trade directory shows he also became the landlord of The Arboretum in High Street, which was built in 1851. The couple probably stood outside the pub and waved as Prince Albert went passed in his carriage on his way to lay the foundation stone for Ipswich School in 1851.
Prince Albert went past the pub
'Nasty old German'
During his visit, a daring town resident shouted: “Go home, you nasty old German!” Queen Victoria was not amused when she heard about this. She banned any member of the royal family from visiting Ipswich again for 70 years (we accept this may be a bit of an old wives tale).
John Airey took over the Greyhound in 1858. It must have been quite squashed upstairs because listed in the census of 1861 was his wife, Frances, their four young children, aged up to seven, a female servant and three lodgers (a carter, farm labourer and a chimney sweep).
It’s possible Mr Airey was hiring out horses for travellers at around 1871, a sort of early-day taxi service, but the pub was certainly looking after horses in stables at that time.
He died in 1883, aged about 56, and his wife, Emma kept the business until 1887, when their son-in-law William Cotton took over, adding himself as a Cab Proprietor and Jobmaster (someone running cabs for hire). There were no phone apps to call your taxi in those days. Instead, you turned up and got a horse and cart!
Mr Cotton came from Norfolk farm labouring stock, but we won’t hold his Norfolk heritage against him.
The 1901 census showed The Greyhound was once again quite lively. Living there was William and his second wife Maggie, with their three young children, and William’s 17-year-old son also named William. Squashed in with them were boarders Beatrice and Clifford Baker, long-serving servant Annie Smith and cab driver/groom Frederick Sawyer.
Public phone box
There was exciting news in 1906 when one of the first public phone boxes in Ipswich was stationed at the pub! It was probably inside before the familiar red phone box was built outside. It disappeared a few years ago.
Henry “Harry” Last took over The Greyhound in 1909 after William died. Harry was born to parents running The Mulberry Tree pub at the bottom of Woodbridge Road and grew up in the Station Hotel. So he was destined to work in the pub trade. But he only lasted one year in Henley Road, suggesting he may have been a caretaker.
It’s likely the caretaker was correct because next came James Nicholson in 1910, and he, too, only remained for one year.
After two brief stints in charge, the next landlord was by far the longest-serving. William Castleton took over in 1911 and went through to 1941, through World War One and part of World War Two.
We don't know much about William’s time as a landlord, but we do understand he came from Norwich. What is it with all these Norfolk connections to The Greyhound?
Bertie Quantrill took over in 1942 but unfortunately died just a year later aged 58. His wife, Ellen Quantrill kept on the business successfully until about 1959. She died in 1967.
Len Stannard was a busy chap. By day he was a manager at the Ransomes and Rapier engineering works, and in his "spare time," he ran the pub.
When he was promoted to general manager at the factory, he gave up the pub and former Ransomes and Rapier colleagues Don and Thirza Stebbings took the helm.
Don and Thirza Stebbings at The Greyhound pub in Ipswich in 1973
The Stebbings became something of an institution, running the pub successfully until the early 1980s, and were known in the 1960s to answer the phone to wives asking after their husbands. “No, he hasn’t been in,” Don would say. The husband, of course, would be sitting at the end of the bar, probably on his fourth pint.
Half of the Adnams Ales sign is missing in this photo from 1979, but the red phone box was still there (Photo: Sid Kerrison)
After so much detail from the early days of the pub, we then hit a brick wall. Tom and Betty took over from the Stebbings in the early 1980s, but we do not know their surname. Can anyone help? Or be more precise with the dates?
We then think Don Williamson held the licence, but might have had management at the pub. It’s suggested two gentlemen had a stint running the establishment, in the dying days of Ind Coope’s ownership, before Sue Ireland-Cutting took running the place for Don in 1984. She took over the licence in 1986, steering the pub successfully for ten years, before leaving to take over at The Walberswick Bell.
Here’s a photo of one of the original pub signs, presumably hung at one point above the front entrance.
Adnams bought The Greyhound and the neighbouring property soon after Sue arrived, and has owned the pub ever since.
Once Sue headed off to Walberswick, chef Nigel Paul took on the licence and ran the pub until 2011 when current landlord Dan Lightfoot took over.
Dan had worked as a chef under both Sue and Nigel, and so was already familiar with the pub and its customers.
Landlords and landladies of The Greyhound
John Snelling, not local, 1840 – 1848
William Lancaster, Southwark, 1848 – 1858
John Airey, Debenham, 1858 – 1883
Emma Airey, Helmingham, 1883 – 1887
William Cotton, Thorpe Abbots, 1888 – 1908
Henry Last, Ipswich, 1909
James Nicholson, unknown, 1910
William Castleton, Norwich (!), 1911 – 1941
Bertie Quantrill, Holbrook, 1942 – 1943
Ellen Quantrill, Whitton, 1943 – 1959
Len Stannard, Ipswich, 1959 – 196?
Don and Thirza Stebbings 196? – 198?
Tom and Betty ?, ?, 198? – 198?
Two mystery gentlemen?, 198? to 1984
Sue Ireland-Cutting, 1984 – 1996
Nigel Paul, Ipswich, 1996 – 2011
Dan Lightfoot, Ipswich, 2011 – Present day
There are a couple of gaps in our knowledge, above. If you can help fill them in, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org