Cambridge Pubs – Flying Pig

Flying Pig

Once upon a time there were two little brick-built pubs, who went out to seek their fortune.

Presently, along came a wolf who knocked at the door of the first pub, the Osborne Arms, and said
“Little pub, little pub, let me in”
To which the pub answered
“Not by the hair of my Conservation Area protection”

So the wolf huffed, and he puffed, and he demolished the pub in a conservation area without consent, because he claimed he wasn’t aware of the need for consent, which in any case was granted retrospectively.

Osborne Arms

Spot the difference

Then the wolf knocked at the door of the the Flying Pig pub, and said
“Little pig, little pig, let me in”
“Not by the hair of my petition to refuse Conservation Area consent to demolish the Flying Pig public house, signed by almost 7,000 supporters”

So the wolf huffed, and he puffed, and he nevertheless produced plans for the redevelopment with the Flying Pig suspiciously absent…

Pace Investment

The Flying Pig is a cosy, laid back, characterful retreat from the encroaching modern development, candlelit in the evenings, with dark wooden floorboards, rows of bottles on the shelves, the walls and ceiling covered in old posters and yellowed from the years as a smoky bar. It’s one of those places where conversations start effortlessly between anyone that walks in – locals, students, office workers, one man and his dog. After we’d ordered our drinks, a chap sat at a table for two offered us the seats as there were none free, saying “In any case, I’d prefer to stand at the bar so I can chat to someone”. At one point I stood up and the barman pre-emptively grabbed a pint glass and said “what can I get you?”. I was only getting up to go to the gents, but another pint seemed like a good idea. The real ales always include Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, and one from Dark Star – on this occasion a satisfying American Brown – and usually one from Cambridge Moonshine, who brew a special HogHopper beer for the pub.

Flying Pig

One man and his dog

Originally the Engineer, then the Crown Inn from the late 1800s, keeping that name for over a hundred years, in the nineteenth century patrons of this pub and the now demolished neighbouring pub the Osborne Arms probably included workers on the nearby railway and station, opened in 1845, and later those from the cattle market, opened in 1885; a row of cattle pens are shown behind the Osborne Arms on a map from the 1880s. A 1975 pub guide says custom of the Osborne Arms was then mainly drawn from an adjacent bus depot, no longer there, and in 1986 the Flying Pig, at that time still named the Crown, was “often thronged with Radio Cambridgeshire personnel”, but the studios have since moved. The bar billiards table, later a pool table, that used to take up the backroom has been replaced by more seating, but despite these changes it’s still essentially the same pub it has been for years. It’s by no means certain this fairy tale will end happily ever after – the wolf is still at the door. But for now, this little pig still has hairs on its chinny chin chin.

Flying Pig

Sign of the swines


6 responses to “Cambridge Pubs – Flying Pig

  1. Wonderful post and pics. I was walking my Dad round the area on Wednesday on the way to Botanics and he didn’t recognised the area, though he did notice the war memorial had been relocated.

    Need to revisit the Pig, a fantastic pub but not one to wowed me on beer quality.

    • Yes, that part of Cambridge – the Station and Hills Road to Cherry Hinton Rd – unrecognisable even from when I arrived in early 90s, when the Junction had just opened but the old cattle market was still there, overgrown.

      I don’t visit the Pig often enough considering how close it is to the centre

  2. Nice post. One small point: the bar billiards table was upstairs underneath where the tuba now hangs and went a good 5 or 6 years ago now; the pool table was always downstairs for as long as I can remember and went 18 months ago.

    • Thanks for the info. I can’t remember ever going upstairs, didn’t realise there was a public room up there? I think the former pool room feels a bit of an odd place to sit now, though I understand why they needed the space.

  3. Ah, sorry, I can see I was unclear. By ‘upstairs’ I mean ground floor, upstairs from the ‘pool room’.

    I’m not enamoured of the current form of the old pool room, either, it’s a bit cold and bare and characterless compared to the rest of the place. BTW, in the 60s it was the family living room because the older members of the family couldn’t get up the stairs to the first floor.

    • Ah, of course, yes it is quite a level up from the pool room. That’s a lovely piece of detail about the family – I’m not sure I’d want that as my living room!

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