Extract from the Inland Revenue Land Value map for Trumpington, 1910-11, showing the Coach & Horses. Reproduced by permission of Cambridgeshire Archives, file 470/047, sheet XLVII.10.
The original two storey building, dating from the early 17th century, was timber-framed and plastered, with a tiled roof, attics and cellars. Soon after, it was enlarged with a gabled wing on the west side and a long extension on the south side. A square staircase bay and single-storey annexes were added in the 18th century. It was recorded as an inn by the late 18th century. A large extension was added to the north-east in the early 19th century, protruding closer to the High Street. The walls have been refaced with bricks, but along the inn’s frontage the early 18th century timber eaves are still a prominent feature. There was a further extension in the 20th century and in the early 1970s the rear boundary was moved inwards to enable Winchmore Drive to be constructed, after which Back Lane was demolished. For many years, the inn had stabling and its own malt house. It is now listed Grade II.
The old inn’s architectural splendours are more evident in the interior, where much of the timber framing can be seen, particularly in the upper rooms. Despite some modernisation, the ground floor rooms still contain much from the 17th century, including panelling, friezes and ornamental carving. The 18th century stone fireplaces also survive, as do the staircase bay and stairs.
The Coach & Horses has been owned for many years by the Pemberton family. Charles Scott was recorded as innkeeper and bricklayer in 1892 and 1896. During the early 20th century, Mr and Mrs Howard Pare were in charge. Their response to the eternal question “Which way to the lavatory?” was “Down the garden and round the yew tree”. We will not dwell on what might have awaited desperate customers. After her husband’s death in 1909, Mrs Pare carried on running the inn. Every night as the mail-van passed on its way to Cambridge at exactly 10 pm, she would call “Time gentlemen, please”, which triggered a stampede out of the inn and up the road to the Volunteer, which, being designated a Cambridge pub, remained open until 11 pm. It became a Tolly house and at one time was home to two St Bernards named “Tolly” and “Cobbold”.
For a number of years around the 1970s, it was run as a very successful pub restaurant by Howard Harrison and his wife Beryl, a Conservative City Councillor who on one occasion breakfasted at the inn with Margaret Thatcher. The Harrisons departed in the early 1980s, after which, under less popular management, the interior was spoiled to some extent by ill-conceived alterations. As a result, business fell away until the building was closed and remained boarded up for several years, during which it deteriorated through neglect. In 1997, it reopened, modified as a ‘healthy eating’ restaurant.
I n c. 2005, it was converted into an oriental buffet restaurant (the Wok ‘n’ Grill) , with the entrance moved to the north side of the building. Signs at the front advertise d the restaurant, but the old name “The Coach & Horses” wa s painted prominently on both sides of the building in tasteful lettering, with the restaurant name beneath it, indicating a successful blending of old tradition and new enterprise. This wa s evident inside th e popular eating place which was redesigned without compromising too much the old building’s architectural heritage and provide d an inexpensive and entertaining evening out. The Wok ‘n’ Grill operated from c. 2005 to 2 August 2020, when it closed during the coronavirus crisis.
The building was quickly redeveloped as the Sole & Duck . This was completed in October 2020, but the physical reopening was delayed due to the crisis.
Incidentally, the yew tree still stands in the garden, but, thankfully, toilet facilities are now provided indoors.
The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (1959) describes the Green Man and the Coach & Horses, p. 390-91.
The Victoria County History (VCH) (1982) includes a summary of the different pubs, p. 250-51.
See the bibliography for full details.
The Coach & Horses, November 2015. Photo: Andrew Roberts.
If you have any further information about this or the other pubs in Trumpington, we would be very interested to hear from you.
From early 2021, it is operating as the Sole & Duck .
The Coach & Horses detail, March 2009. Photo: Peter Dawson.
A delivery at the Coach & Horses, c. 1900. Source: Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library. Reproduced in Trumpington Past & Present , p. 71.
The Coach & Horses when a Tolly house. Source: Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library. Reproduced in Trumpington Past & Present , p. 70.
The Wok ‘n’ Grill/Coach & Horses, March 2009. Photo: Peter Dawson.
The Coach & Horses pub, c. 1920s. Percy Robinson collection. Trumpington Local History Group.
The Coach & Horses when it was a Tolly Cobbold house, unknown date. Thought to be from the Cambridgeshire Collection, via Stephen Brown.