I arrived just as some of the final football matches of the season were being played out – there were plenty of people in; it’s a ‘sports pub’ with 5 or 6 screens. I briefly sat watching Hartlepool end their 96-year stay in the Football League, and Doncaster Rover’s hopes of the League Two title, while Barcelona vs. Villarreal match was playing on another TV a few feet away – the blend of match commentary surely the only time Taylor-Sinclair will find himself mentioned alongside Messi. I had a pint of Pravha but should really have had one of the ales; it’s a Greene King pub with the typical range.
A beerhouse dating back to at least 1851, although it was completely rebuilt in 1930. In the early 1980s the ‘snug’ and ‘cosy’ pub made the Good Beer Guide, but the pub and neighbouring buildings faced demolition when a new office development took place around it. It escaped the bulldozer, and in 1987 was extended to around three times its original size; although part of the old building was demolished, you can still clearly see the facade of the older part of the pub. It’s now quite a large pub with a high ceiling in the extension, the mezzanine level added later, featuring a mural of an apple tree – there’s also a brick apple ‘sculpture’ on an exterior wall. It’s a few years since I last visited, and it’s obviously had a refurb since as it’s noticeably improved, especially the room with the pool table, which had looked neglected previously. The whole place was clean and airy, another pub that seems well looked after, which would give me confidence if I was having a meal; there are of course some themed dishes, including a Gravity Burger and, naturally, Apple Pie.
Unfortunately the pictorial inn sign has been replaced by a bland, generic Greene King one, albeit with an apple in the corner (one that doesn’t look very much like the ‘Flower of Kent’ variety that supposedly inspired Newton – apparently a descendant of that tree can be found in the Botanic Garden). The previous sign closely resembled a portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, when much to Newton’s chagrin, the artist said “Alright Ike, now let’s try one with an apple on your head”.