And now - The Marquis Reunion Pictures!! The reunion took place for all those who used to frequent the Marquis before October 1987 and who wished to buy Barbara a drink to say thanks for -

i) Confiscating their car keys when they were too incapacitated to drive

ii) Giving them the hangover cure of cider with a Harveys Bristol Cream on top

iii) Putting up with the whipped cream and butter on the carpet at the Christmas food

iv) Generally putting up with all our cheek.

A fine time was had by all, and by 10.00 at night there weren't too many left standing!

Click on this link to see the photographs from the day.

If someone asked the question in 1973, “where are you going tonight?”, 80% of the time the answer would be “down the Marquis”. The Marquis of Granby at Hoveringham was simply the centre of the known universe.

We used to spend every night there and actually getting down there was always an adventure as it was about 7 miles from where most of us live, out in the countryside.

Johnno’s car could find it’s way there on autopilot and he took great pride in taking the bends as fast as he possibly could on the windy country roads.

We used to have a competition to accelerate towards Burton Joyce and then take your foot off the gas as you hit the thirty limit sign. The car that freewheeled the furthest was the winner. Obviously to get the best distance you had to hit the thirty limit sign at slightly over 30 (!) and you had to keep going until you’d almost stopped so it wasn’t advisable to be either behind or in front of Johhno’s car when he was doing this!

On the days when there was no car available we used to have hitching races to get there and back – this was in the days when there were obviously no axe murderers roaming the roads around Lowdham and Burton Joyce! We did used to do a spot of ghost hunting at Gonalston Mill after the Marquis though. The old mill was rumoured to be the scene of the deaths of a load of children and was just across the road from the Hoveringham turning. We never did find any ghosts but it was a spooky place after a few pints of Carlsberg…it’s now been turned into a block of flats…I’d really love to live in there!

Friday night was party night at the Marquis when everyone from miles around would appear there. We knew the numbers of all the songs on the jukebox and kept it fed all night. I particularly remember always knowing the numbers for Status Quo Caroline and Thin Lizzy Whisky in the Jar. I think the landlord and landlady at the time we were in the sixth form were Carol and Keith.

After our final A level, which was a Biology practical at Sheffield University, the logical place to celebrate was the Marquis. A group of us had been to the exam in Don’s van and headed down the Marquis in that. For some reason Bert and Webby travelled there separately, and they walked back up the winding road from the main Southwell road to Hoveringham. Some nutter in a car drifted round a corner, coming from behind the boys, completely missing Bert, who was at the back, and hitting Webby.

Bert eventually found him in the field and Webby celebrated finishing his exams by having his spleen removed and spending a few weeks in hospital. Still, I daresay the rats, whose spleens we’d just removed at Sheffield, would have found it amusing!

Later on came Barbara who made the Marquis into my second home. She looked after “her boys” as if she was our mum!

If we drank too much she took our car keys from us and wouldn’t let us drive. She raised extraordinary amounts of money for Guide Dogs for the blind and had a couple of Labradors of her own – Garth and Zeus.

No-one will forget the pram races which she was instrumental in organising. You had to be in fancy dress with a girl in the pram and all you had to do was push her from the Station pub in Lowdham, via the roundabout route through Caythorpe and Hoveringham to finish at Thurgarton.

Oh…and have a drink in every pub!

All my friends from University began to regard the Marquis as their local, even though they lived in Manchester. John and Kev used to come over for the weekend and always have a quick one in the Marquis on Sunday night, before staggering out at 11.00 to drive the two hours back to Manchester.

In the early eighties I spent every weekend in Hoveringham, and most opening hours in the Marquis. When we had the riots in Nottingham it was rumoured that rioters were going to torch the 26 floor Victoria Centre where I had my flat. I just stayed in Hoveringham for the week and avoided all the hassle. My flat wasn’t burnt down but my intake of Carlsberg was certainly increased for the week!

Such was the attraction of the Marquis that I had my 30th birthday party there, even though I was living in Aberdeen at the time.

Barbara had a surprise cake made for me in the shape of an AA van, as I was working for them. We achieved a life’s ambition when we were allowed to help ourselves to anything we wanted behind the bar after closing time.

I’ll never forget the sight of Kev lying in a heap under the optics with a contented grin on his face!

Mind you, he’d had a stressful evening to get there.

After closing time we’d shut up the Marquis and all gone down the Elm Tree intending to return to the Marquis afterwards. The boys were growing impatient to get back, but Barbara had 6 or 7 whiskies lined up in front of her at the Elm Tree to finish, so John and Kev decided to walk back. They climbed up onto the Marquis roof and through the window into the room where they were staying. Opening the door to head downstairs to the drinks, they were faced by the aforementioned Garth and Zeus, large Labradors who weren’t too keen on the “burglars”. As they couldn’t climb out again they were stuck in their room until Barbara came back from the Elm Tree!

And so to today, almost – when we decided to try and track down a few old school friends and meet up for a drink, the Marquis was the obvious place to go. So we found ourselves back there after 30 years, and it hadn’t really changed. There’s no room to make it into a big fun pub, it didn’t have a big restaurant and it was pretty much the same as it ever was. I don’t think it has Caroline on the jukebox any more though!

Wait a minute - it had a new dartboard!

There is a sad postscript though! In summer 2008 Barbara had another Marquis reunion, but held it at the Cross Keys in Burton Joyce as the Marquis isn't the same as it used to be. We had to drive past to see what it was like....and it had closed down! The present owners had tried to make it work as a pub, then a restaurant but failed. Lets hope this changes and it opens it's doors again!