In September 2018 landlord Ian Morrison celebrated 30 years at The Retreat in Stroud. 2018 was also the 250th anniversary of the site of the Retreat being a licensed premises. The following was research carried out by Ian, Adrian Stratton and his pub regulars to mark the occasion.
1768 – The Lamb Inn was built. The street was originally part of The Shambles. the street became known as Lamb Street after the Inn but this was later changed to Church Street.
1824-1836 James Wakefield kept the Lamb Inn. At this time the four-horse London mail coaches started from the inn in the evening and returned to it next morning, daily, performing each journey in twelve hours.
1831 Mr Wakefield hosted the first meeting of the Stroud Society for the Prosecution of Felon to prosecute criminals.
1834 A Mr King had been to market in Stroud and was robbed by two men of all his money which included Stroud notes and one Bath note. Mr Wakefield was later in Bristol when he noticed a male buying some handkerchiefs and stockings with a Stroud note. He stopped him and searched him to find more Stroud notes and the Bath note. Both men were found guilty and had to leave the country forever and were kept in a chain gang for eight years.
1836 James Wakefield left the Lamb Inn and John Barnett became the new owner. On 28th June 1838 John Barnett and a Mr Thornton served 108 tradesmen to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Coronation.
1841 John Barnett died aged 40 and Mr. Bond took over. He didn’t last long and Mr Harding took over in 1842. This changed again from 1843 to 1845 when John Chesterton took charge.
1845 The landlord was a William Barnfield but he unfortunately dropped down dead whilst playing billiards, aged 39. The verdict of a coroner’s jury was “he died by the Visitation of God.”
On March 24th 1860 the ‘Stroud News’ reported that the Lamb had been ‘taken by Watts, Hallewell & Biddle’ of the Stroud Brewery. This was the first recorded instance of a tied house in Stroud.
1876 Stephen William was in charge and the Lamb Inn became the Lamb Hotel.
1893 A fatal Trap accident occurred outside the Lamb.
1910 Albert Whitley became the hotel keeper and he was succeeded by Alfred Morgan in 1914. The premises again became the Lamb Inn.
1919 Alfred Morgan was fined £3 for failing to billet soldiers. The licensee refused to board two English Soldiers as he already had nine Australian soldiers staying with him. At Court he stated he preferred Colonials as he got a bigger fee.
1930 The landlord was John Ayres who served 21 years as a Corporal of the Horse in the Life Guards. He unfortunately committed suicide by cutting his throat and was found by his wife in a bedroom at the premises.
The Lamb at an unknown time after this changed its name to The Seed Restaurant and then became the Alley Restaurant.
1978 The premises became known as Corkers and was owned by Richard and Jennie Dimmock.
1988 – July 4th: Ian Morrison took over and it became The Retreat, opening in September 1988.
The Citizen, Wednesday 23rd September 1998 – Retreat revelry: The Retreat wine bar in Stroud celebrates its 10th birthday this week with a programme of special events. Tonight it holds a Black Tie party, while Thursday has a more relaxed air, with soothing sounds from the 80’s and early 90’s. The grand finale comes this weekend when the usual mixture of drinking and music will be complimented by the aptly names “Big One” raffle. First prize is a night for two in London’s four star hotel, with two tickets to the hit musical Starlight Express.
Stroud News & Journal, 30th May 2007 – Praise now pouring in for pub’s energy saver: As a publican, Ian Morrison is used to hearing debates about climate change raging at his bar. But now he is doing his bit to reduce energy consumption. Ian, who runs the Retreat, has just installed a new device which enables staff to monitor exactly how much energy is being used and where.
The clever gadget, called an EcoMeter has been designed by Simon Clegg, of Stroud-based electronic engineering consultants MicroWatt and is being tested as the pub. Sensors are fitted to each electrical circuit and the information sent to a website, where Ian can see how much electricity is being consumed.
Stroud News & Journal, 13th September 2008 – Enjoy all the fun of the foodfest: Stroud Food Festival is in full swing with plenty of activities still to come. The Retreat is holding an oyster festival tomorrow. From noon to 5pm, a pint of Guinness and six Loch Fyne oysters is £7.
The Citizen, 11th December 2010 – Popular pub man Larry died of natural causes: A inspection engineer who was found dead at his home in Stroud, died of natural causes. Larry Baker, 52, of Swan Lane, near the High Street, was found on Monday afternoon. Larry was known to help out with the yearly festive decorations at The Retreat public house in Church Street. He was a regular at the pub, visiting the establishment on most days.
The Citizen, 7th August 2013 – Inn sign design challenge: A popular Stroud pub’s quarter centenary is being celebrated with a charity challenge to design its new inn sign. It was 25 years ago next month that community watering hole The Retreat opened its doors in Church Street.
The Citizen, 14th October 2013 – Pub smoke bomb worries: Pub landlord Ian Morrison feared a serious crush when a former Gloucestershire filled his bar with thick smoke. After Louis Gegg was sentenced for letting off the smoke bomb in The Retreat, Stroud, Mr Morrison said he feared the consequences could have been far worse. Around 100 people were evacuated from the premises on 6th April 2013.
“I cannot bear a grudge against him but when you think about what could have happened – luckily we have well-trained staff who know the pub really well,” said Mr Morrison. Gloucester Crown Court heard former Gloucestershire and Frocester player Gegg let off the device he had bought while playing as a prank when his friend wasn’t allowed in the pub.
Gegg, 24, of Windy Ridge, Bisley, admitted criminal damage and causing a public nuisance. He was given a four-month curfew from 8pm to 6pm and ordered to pay the pub £3,632 in compensation and £1,000 to Sarah Clutterbuck, who the court heard hid in the toilets and feared for her life.
Stroud Times (online), 2nd December 2022 – Last orders, please! Ian calls time at The Retreat (by Ashley Loveridge):
Sunday marks the end of an era for iconic Retreat wine bar owner Ian Morrison who will serve his last pint after 34 years. Popular Ian, 61, will shout ‘last orders, please’ for the final time at his farewell retirement party as regulars will raise a glass to his dedicated service to the town that began in 1988 when a glass of wine was £1.10 and a pint of Stella was £1.35 and you could buy a packet of cigarettes from his vending machine for £1.48.
“It has been a long time and I’m slightly sad, but on the other hand, 34 years is a long time, and a lot of people I’ve seen and made friends with,” Ian said. “I’ve had so much fun in Stroud and I couldn’t think of anywhere better to live in the whole of England.”
The Retreat was billed as a swanky wine bar when the doors swung open in the late 1980s as the Filofax and mobile phone generation flocked to the opening of a bar previously known as Corkers wine bar. Ian quickly put his own unique stamp on the bar and the secret of its ongoing success is that little has changed over the years, from the regular Monday night quiz to the Boxing Day ball to the annual Retreat cricket match against the Retreat’s sister bar in Cheltenham.
Retreat regular Adrian Stratton paid tribute to his close friend: “I spent many, many years in the Retreat with Ian and have many stories, some that can be told and others will have to remain private. It will be a change not to see him behind the bar with his glass of red wine, but I’m glad he’s starting a new chapter in his life and I’m sure there will be many, many more stories to come.”
Thankfully, the Retreat will remain the same with new owner Jamie Daye and partner Steph carrying on the tradition, Jamie being the son of Cheltenham Retreat owner Mike. Ian added: “The great thing is because Jamie and Steph, who are actually the Retreat family are taking it over so the Retreat stays as the Retreat, which is really important. If we had sold out to a pub company it would change dramatically so you’ll see a bit of youth come in, a bit more fun, the old bugger has gone and somebody else will come in with some nice new ideas.”
Owner in 1891: Mrs William Garner (leased Stroud Brewery)
Rateable value in 1891: £25.10s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Trustees of Mrs William Gardner (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1903: £47.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Lamb Inn / The Retreat include:
1824-1836 James Wakefield
1841 John Barnett
1842 Mr Harding
1843-1845 John Chesterton
1845 Mr Westfield
1856 William H. Barnfield
1876, 1885 William Stephens
1891 Silvanus Fawkes
1902 George Ball
1903 James Kerton Horler
1910 Albert Whitley
1914,1919 Alfred Morgan
1927 John B. Ayers
1944-1955 Geoff and Peggy Davis (moved to the Forge Hammer in Lydbrook)
1978 Richard and Jennie Dimmock (premises re-named to Corkers)
1998-2022 Ian Morrison (Retreat Wine Bar)
2023 Jamie Daye