Why Does the Freed Man Look the Way it Does?
The stuff that you see in the pub comes from a number of sources. A lot of it comes from t'internet but it all has some history behind it, there is very little that it is there simply because it looks good. The Fokker and the aluminium Ram's head do fall into this catagory but they are rather splendid.
The crests you see all belong Royal Navy or Royal Fleet Auxillary (RFA) ships with the exception of a couple of French examples. Some of the ships had remarkable careers - others more run of the mill but they all have their small place in history.
For me the best objects are those that I find on the beach or underwater. The large white bone is the lower right mandible of a balleen whale. I don't know which species but I found that on Kinsdown beach a few years ago. The Dornier propellor blade is a more recent find and came from the sea about a quarter of a mile from the Zetland Arms. That crashed in 1940 and three of the crew are buried in Hamilton Road Cemetary. Other objects are donated. The life belt around the light is a great example of customer kindness. The SS Brandenburg was part of a tragedy that led to far reaching reforms in the control of vessels using the Straits of Dover. I will publish the full story here at a later date.
Every object has historical or aesthetic value, more often than not they have both. Whether it is the functional and attractive 1936 clocking in clock, the old X-Ray tube that sits on top or the 2000 year old pot bottom they all have a place in the Freed Man.
And that goes for the customers as well. Everybody has a story to tell or advice to give and a good pub is a natural repository for our life experiences. On Sunday I drew off a half pint of Ripple Steam Best Bitter for a lady who is one week away from entering her one hundred and second year, now that is someone we can all learn from. A pub is more than just a business. A pub draws people together and when people get together experiences are shared, ideas develop and relationships form - good things happen in pubs, even new ones like the Freed Man. As much as I love the things in the pub it's the people that walk through the door that make it what it is.