The old-world Rose & Crown pub at Huish Episcopi – always known as Eli's – has cause for double celebration, writes Tina Rowe.
A flood-closed road has reopened, bringing back passing trade, and it has just been chosen as Somerset Pub of the Season by the Somerset branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. The pub has been run by the same family for more than 100 years, but even their collective memory does not encompass the likes of this winter's record-breaking rain. The pub stands beside the A372 Podimore-Langport road, which was closed by floods in early January. Villagers were still able to call in but the impact on trade was marked.
The pub is popular partly because it is little changed from the time when William Slade, great-grandfather of the present landlords, was running it at the turn of the century. Photographs of William's sons, Reginald and Sidney, who both died in the First World War, still hang on one wall.
Reginald and Sidney's sister eventually took on the pub with her husband, Eli, and it famously became known simply as Eli's.
Their daughter, Eileen was landlady for many years and now it is run by her children, Steve and Maureen Pittard and Trish O'Malley, and Trish's son, Sam.
Maureen Pittard said: "We are delighted to have won the award. It was quite difficult when the diversion signs were up, and some were rather misleading. We are glad to be back to normal."
Phil Emond, chair of Somerset branch of Camra, said yesterday: "It's a good, unusual pub with real ale."