There is a House in Woodville...

...they call the Rising Sun

And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy

And God, I know I'm one.


Except I'm not – and there isn't. There used to be a Rising Sun in Woodville and I did occasionally frequent it on a Monday evening, for a change of scene from the Horse & Jockey, but I don't think that the odd pint or three of Pedigree consumed there can be blamed for my current condition and its accompanying lack of racing. At least the three weeks of heart monitoring I mentioned in the post about the Potters Arms are now over. And you, Facebook, please stop kicking a man when he's down by throwing up memories like this...


In action near Brunflo, Sweden in August 2018. © Fredrik Tackman

...and this.


August 2018. Flanked by the silver and bronze District Championship medallists. © Roger Claesson

I'm still not allowed to race at the moment. Neither am I allowed to enter Sweden. I can, however, travel to that other Sw... place. No, not Switzerland or even Swaziland, but the town that was a part of my life from the mid-1980s to the latter years of the following decade. That's right, Swadlincote. Good old sunny Swad. (And before you say anything, I do know that Swaziland is now called Eswatini, but that would've ruined the alliteration.)


A few weeks ago I had cause to visit South Derbyshire and just had to call in to see how the old place was faring. To summarise: quite a few more houses and quite a few fewer pubs. One of those fewer pubs was now increasing the number of new houses.


The Rising Sun used to be found on Sun Street in Woodville, South Derbyshire, tucked away amidst Victorian housing just off the High Street, which in those days served as the A50. I recall opening the door to be greeted by a grey fugg whose density was on a par with that to be found in the aforementioned Horse & Jockey. These were the days before the smoking ban and the sole extractor fan was forever fighting a losing battle against the combined emissions of dozens of Marlboros and Bensons. I have to admit that I enjoy my visits to pubs much more since the ban's introduction in July 2007 but can't help feeling that it has contributed considerably to the closure of many boozers, especially the back street, Victorian, wet-led local variety of which the Rising Sun was a typical example.


Rising Sun Woodville
The sole extractor fan had less work to do in the Rising Sun in 2009. © Google 2021

Through the haze it was possible to make out the wood-panelled bar with the Pedigree pump at the ready. It wasn't just the bar that was panelled but the walls too were partially clad. Dart board, pool table and all the usual requisites of a back street boozer. My pint of Pedigree, always star bright, would be accompanied by a packet of dry roast peanuts, the pinnacle of the haute cuisine options offered by the establishment.


The earliest probable reference to the Rising Sun that I've come across is in Harrod's 1870 directory of Leicestershire which has John Harrison as a beer retailer in Woodville, but the pub is not named...


Rising Sun Woodville
Extract from 1870 Harrod's directory of Leicestershire

...and the census in the following year didn't gives us any further information...

1871 census extract

...but a decade later he's recorded as being at the Rising Sun Inn.


1881 census extract

If the Rising Sun Inn opened its doors for the first time around 1870 it closed them for the last time almost exactly a century and a half later. With ownership having passed from Marston's to Admiral Taverns the freehold was sold in August 2020. The toilet block had been demolished and it was being converted to residential use when I visited.


Rising Sun, Woodville.
Former Rising Sun in July 2021.

The car park wasn't being wasted either.


Rising Sun, Woodville.
The car park has been built on.

At least the new residents of the old inn, and its car park, will be able to walk to the nearby Joiners Arms for a pint. That's not an option when this type of event happens to a pub in much smaller villages such as the Pound Inn in Coxley.


So the sun has set for the final time on the Rising Sun. There have been a few false dawns but I'm still hoping that it hasn't done so my racing days. I'll just have to wait and see. Roll on 2022.


Thanks to Fredrik and Roger for their photographs.


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