The hamlet of Two Bridges, to the north of Blakeney, is on an unclassified road leading off from the A48 which heads towards Little Soudley. The road turns into a track before it reaches Lower Soudley. The Two Bridges Inn was in an isolated location where Howell’s Lane crosses the parish boundary at Haie brook, and was presumably named because of the small bridges over the Soudley and Haie brook. The property is now known as the Old Inn.
The Two Bridges had a low annual rateable value of just £9 in 1891 and 1903. Designated a beer house it was owned and occupied by Thomas Collins who ran the pub free of brewery tie. Closing time was at 11 pm – perhaps unusual for its rural location.
I received a letter from Miss M. Collins, the daughter of the last landlord of the Two Bridges Inn – Frederick Oswald Collins. She told me that her family had run the pub for several generations. Her grandfather was William (Willie) Harry Collins. She wrote: “Ye Olde Two Bridges Inn ceased being a public house in the early 1950’s but my father still lived there until his death in 1977. It was sold and renovated to a private dwelling.
“My father didn’t speak much about his relations, so I don’t know that much about the Collins side of my family. I can remember my mother saying that the pub had been in the Collins name for about 300-400 years. The Two Bridges also had their own football team and a brass band who both used a wooden building called the Band Shed. It served as a place for band practice and the footballers to wash and change.”
Landlords at the Two Bridges include:
1891,1903 Thomas Collins (also the owner)
1939 William Harry Collins (known as Willie)
1950 Frederick Oswald Collins