An inn called the Ship is known to have existed on the north side of Hill Street in 1839. When the Severn and Wye Railway line through Lydney (the existing Dean Forest Railway) was opened for passengers in 1875 it seems that the Ship had already changed its name to the Railway Inn. In 1848, 27 years before there was a railway station that served Lydney, particulars of sale of the property at auction detailed “All that freehold Messuage and Public House known as the Railway Inn situate at Newerne… with the Brew House, Cellar and Garden.” Therefore, the Railway Inn was probably named after an early tramway.
It is interesting to note that both the Railway Inn and the Rifleman’s Arms, located just a few yards away on the other side of the railway level crossing, had identical licensing details. Both were beer houses and had annual rateable values of £24.0s.0d. in the years 1891 and 1903. Charles Garton & Co of Bristol owned the Railway Inn and Rifleman’s Arms in 1891, of which all their pubs were transferred to the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery of Shepton Mallet Somerset by 1903. Closing time at the Railway Inn was at 11 pm.
The Railway Inn closed in the early 1960’s. It is now the whitewashed rendered building which houses a Chinese Takeaway and can easily be identified by the West Country Ales ceramic brewery plaque. On the opposite side of the road is the building that once housed Kings Bar & Bistro and the Road House.
David Morgan of Lydney told me about his reminiscences of the Railway Inn: “as kids we would take GL cider bottles back to the Railway Inn for the deposits. They had an off-licence window that you knocked at, and a wonderful smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke – a smell you don’t often find in pubs these days!”
Landlords at the Railway Inn include:
1839 John Smith (Ship Inn – owned John Tamplin)
1860-1870’s Charles Edwards
1881,1891 William Walker (aged 29 in 1881)
1903 Lemuel A. Hyett
1939 William Davies
1960 William Page