DSC04861-2

The Smallest Pub in Britain

DSC04861-2

【For Chinese version please click here. 中文版请点击这里。】

… is The Nutshell in Bury st Edmund, as confirmed by Guinness World Records. 

On a Saturday afternoon, I stood outside of the pub and poked my head gingerly through the doorway. A rather stout barman was wiping beer glasses and looked at me suspiciously. The small 15ft-by-7ft confined space made me feel like a timid intruder. “Can I take some pictures here?” The room felt even more quiet and serious. 

“Of course!” He broke into a smile and the dour, stern air about him vanished without trace.

Like any other traditional pubs in England, the Nutshell is elaborately decorated and smell of musty wood. There were a few work of taxidermy, military badges, glassware in different sizes and historical photos in black and white around the room. But no amount of ornaments could shadow the mummified black cat hung on top of the bar.

Yes, a carcass.  A dead cat.

Do you know that back then, builders used to brick cats up behind chimney hearths to bring good luck into the building? These domesticated felines would then die a slow painful death either because of starvation or heat. During building work at the Nutshell, the carcass of this black cat was discovered. Perhaps it was the best way to commemorate the poor creature, it was hung on top of the bar, giving it a somewhat omnipotent position to observe the floor.  

The pub can accommodate around 10 people, or 15 if they are happy not to move and quaff a pint with elbows clipped on to their body. Though it might be slightly difficult for them to crane forward to admire the military memorabilia on the walls or the ceiling full of currency notes. But it’s doable given enough motivation.

Oh, and it’s a tradition that none of these ornaments are ever dusted.

During the Second World War, there were many air bases around the Nutshell occupied by the Americans. That is why you can see the tiny star-spangled flag in the corner or pick up some transatlantic writing style in the  pub’s testimonial book – left behind by one too many nostalgic guests.

On a regular evening, people who come for a pint pour out from the pub and flow onto the street. And maybe, it’s a way to keep the pub space-efficient, the landlord decided to ban a 6ft7 drinker (about 200cm) from entering the premises during peak hours. “A real gentle giant, but…takes up such a lot of space that I have to turn away at least four normal-sized drinkers.”

However, on 10 March 1984, 102 people and a dog named Bob actually squeezed in. It was record breaking and scored a mention on the pub’s Wikipedia page.

Again, like any other traditional pubs in England, the Nutshell has its resident ghosts – as many as four. A little cramped or awkward, even, for a place so small.

One is said to be a young, blonde-haired boy who was murdered in his bath; the second is a long-haired Victorian gentleman who roams the second floor; the last are a monk and a nun who had an illicit love affair, as seen by many regulars in the pub cellar.

I quickly took a few pictures and left, feeling quite very regretful the next day. I should have stayed for a beer, in a pub so full of stories to tell and character to capture. And you?

How do you like this pint-sized star of Bury St Edmund?

DSC04854-2 DSC04856-2 DSC04858-2 DSC04860-2

With love x

Enjoy this post? Share it on Facebook or Twitter!
You can also follow Michelle on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat for instant updates of her travels.

Have you seen these ?

  • Let’s Take a Walk in Bury St EdmundLet’s Take a Walk in Bury St Edmund 【For Chinese version please click here. 中文版请点击这里。】 “Bury where?” “Look at the brass plaque -  GREENE KING, BURY ST EDMUND!” This was how the conversation went when we told our friends […]
  • Christmas Diary D2 – London to ParisChristmas Diary D2 – London to Paris Comfort wear, shiny nails, big shopper bag and fun reads - today's the day we set off from London to Paris! I am one of those peeps who are more enlivened during the journey than when […]
  • 【英格兰小镇风情】鲜为人知Bury St Edmund【英格兰小镇风情】鲜为人知Bury St Edmund Bury St Edmund 是一个位于英格兰东部 Suffolk 的小集镇。这个地方人口不多,仅有7万多人,又离伦敦很近 (只有两个小时的火车程),是个周末度假的好去处。 这个小镇有着悠久的历史,镇上还保留着许多18,19世纪间乔治亚式的建筑。人杰地灵,这里有全英国最大酿酒商 Greene King Brewery 的总部 及世界最大白糖生产者之一 British […]
  • 【英格兰小镇风情】全英国最小酒吧 – 小果壳匪夷所思的故事【英格兰小镇风情】全英国最小酒吧 – 小果壳匪夷所思的故事 【看英文版请点击这里。For English version please click here.】 这就是经吉尼斯世界纪录所证实,全英国最小的酒吧 – “小果壳” The Nutshell 。坐落在英国东部 Suffolk 的一个小集镇 Bury St Edmund 里, Traverse […]