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The King's Head, Lichfield

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published March 27th 2017
Oldest Pub In Lichfield Saved By Army Veterans
The oldest pub in the historic city of Lichfield in Staffordshire is back in the news, and for a very good reason. The King's Head, which lies within the heart of the city, was built as long ago as 1408. But today's story dates back some three centuries later when the origins of what later became the Staffordshire Regiment was actually formed in the pub in 1705. That was when Colonel Luke Lillingston raised a regiment of volunteers in The King's Head on 25 March 1705, later becoming the 38th Foot Regiment in 1751 and finally, in 1782, being given the title of the 1st Staffordshire Regiment.

The King's Head
The King's Head pub in the centre of Lichfield

It has been used as a meeting place for soldiers and army veterans ever since - which brings us back to current events and a change of ownership of The King's Head in 2017. Apparently, news of the former landlord retiring, and fears that the historic pub may be turned into a bed and breakfast, led to army veterans and well-wishers mounting a massive fundraising campaign to take it over. The result was the raising of almost £65,000 to take over a 10-year lease on the property, with former corporal Steve Knight taking on the duties of landlord. The formal handing over of ownership on March 25 was marked by a procession involving former members of the Staffordshire Regiment.

The King's Head
The pub has strong links to the Staffordshire Regiment

All I can say, having no connection to the Staffords whatsoever, is that it is wonderful news that The King's Head has been saved as a pub, having been serving ale to thirsty Lichfield customers for centuries. We visited the week after the procession and ceremony which marked the saving of the pub, which lies in the city's Bird Street. Although it doesn't yet have its food menu up and running, we were still able to enjoy the warm, comfortable and friendly atmosphere which this traditional family pub provides. The lounge area, which looks out onto the main street, is a very nice spot to while away an hour or two while enjoying the Staffordshire Regiment memorabilia on the walls and admiring the original wooden beams.

The King's Head
A fine array of ales are available

The King's Head, which is one of the 10 pubs on the Lichfield Real Ale Trail, also has a very large and inviting conservatory room, as well as an outdoor seating area beyond, although these may be reserved for when the weather is a bit warmer than when we visited. And, completing the surroundings is a sizeable bar area. There was quite a selection of real ales on offer to tempt beer drinkers, so I opted for a pint of Wainwrights at £3.35 while my wife chose a shandy using Marston's Pedigree which is slightly cheaper at £3.30 a pint.

The King's Head
Part of the comfortable lounge area

Further information about the Staffordshire Regiment can be found by visiting the Staffordshire Regiment Museum in nearby Whittington. For further inquiries call 01543 434394.
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Why? Lovely Beer In The Oldest Pub In Lichfield
When: All year
Phone: 01543 256822
Where: The King's Head, 21 Bird Street, Lichfield WS13 6PW
Cost: £3.30 for a pint of Marston's Pedigree
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