14 Dec : News

The Old King's Head Welcomes Back the Smithbone Family

Patricia Smithbone was a child resident at The King's Head. She lived with her father Fred Smithbone and her mother Annie Smithbone. Fred was the landlord except during the war when it temporarily transferred to Annie. The licence transferred back to Fred in 1946. Pat was born 28th March 1937, baptised at The Stump in Boston, and the family moved to The King's Head in Kirton in 1938/39 and her sister Mary was born there on 8th March 1944.

In October 2021, Patricia and her sister Mary, with both their families returned to see the restoration of The Old King's Head and to stay once more in their old bedrooms! They enjoyed a walking tour with our volunteers, and their family members were delighted to get more memories out of Pat and Mary as our volunteers got to ask them all about their time living in this historic building, and got the chance to record them too!

Stuart, who organised the visit for his Mum and Aunt, messaged us after his visit to say, ‘Thanks again for an enthralling weekend and helping us look back over our families history.’ He even had to apologise to Vicky our Operations manager for waking her up with his giggling cousins! Sounds like they all had a fantastic weekend!

Smithbone family

After their visit, Stuart asked his Mum some questions that we sent to them, and here is what she had to say (notes are annotated by Stuart):

What do you remember most about living at The King's Head as a family?

(Pat’s) mum was running the pub while Fred (her father) was in the RAF. These were difficult times for all – one of Pat’s earliest memories, being only 3 or 4 at the time was of sneaking down the stairs and seeing lots of people in the pub drinking, smoking and laughing – only to be rapidly ushered back upstairs not to be seen or heard!

She remembers her mum doing “the pubs books” (accounts) and her beautiful handwriting. And as she got older had “fun in abundance” living there.

When Dad (Fred) was demobbed, things got a little easier. Pat remembers wishing on a dandelion fairy for a dolls pram – some time passed but she eventually got a pram and a doll to go with it !

Are there any special memories you can share with us?

She remembers taking cigarettes from a very early age and hiding them in cat holes in the barn doors for later on.

In reality her parents were very laid back and relaxed about things ….most of the time.

However, she remembers her father throwing water or old beer over some boys who were running and cycling in and out through the entrances to the rear of the pub ..and at one point locking the cellar door on a boy who had misbehaved or had done some sort of mis-demeanour!

Why was it such a great family home?

It wasn’t !! It was a cold house with no central heating and on one occasion there were cockroaches and crickets behind the fireplaces. There was never a lot of spare money in the family however that said we had free reign to play around the village and at an early age remember riding out with a friend on our little bikes from the pub to Frampton Marsh to go crabbing only to bring them back in an oxo tin and for them to meet their rapid demise!

What do you think of the restoration works that have been completed by Heritage Lincolnshire?

Absolutely wonderful – lovely, and many of the features remain as I remember them when living there as a small girl – now 84 years ago !

You stayed with us recently, how did it feel to come back to your old family home and stay in your old rooms?

It brought back so many memories; during the time living in the pub. I slept in all the bedrooms for one reason or another but my last room was the one with the little window looking down the street (London road) – I use to watch out for (good looking) boys coming back on a Sunday night from the Cinema. Here I am doing it again 80 years later.

Smihtbone window
A huge thank you to the Smithbone family for coming along and sharing their memories and time with us! It really does show that this building is more than bricks and mortar. It has a heart and soul and that has come from the people that have lived and breathed within the four walls that make it The Old King's Head.

Pat OKH window Mary (Pats younger sister) was born at the pub; the picture above is them standing underneath the bedroom window that Mary fell out of onto the street when she was around 3 years old and just got up and toddled off, unharmed!

Mary and Pat stand in front of the new OKH sign
Mary and Pat stand beneath the new sign

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