Council searches for landlord of 300-year-old pub on remote Piel Island

·3-min read
A council is searching for a landlord to run a historic pub on Piel Island, off the coast of Cumbria. (Getty)
A council is searching for a landlord to run a historic pub on Piel Island, off the coast of Cumbria. (Getty)

The hunt is on for a new 'king or queen' to run a 300-year-old pub on a remote island.

Barrow Borough Council said a search has started for a new landlord for The Ship Inn on Piel Island, which sits half a mile off the Cumbria coast at Barrow-in-Furness.

The council is the custodian of Piel Island, which is just 50 acres in size and is home to the derelict 14th-century Piel Castle, as well as a campsite and The Ship Inn.

It is now searching for new landlords for the historic pub, who will also manage the island in what it said is "one of the most unique hospitality prospects in the UK".

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The council is hoping to award the 10-year lease in time for the start of the 2022 season in April.

Tradition dictates that each new landlord of The Ship Inn is crowned "King of Piel" in a special ceremony that involves them sitting in an ancient chair, wearing a helmet and holding a sword while alcohol is poured over their head.

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Roa Island, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, on Saturday, 8th August, 2020.
The landlord will also act as caretaker for Piel Island. (Getty)

Councillor Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: "There’s something incredibly special about Piel Island, it’s certainly a location that is held close to the hearts of so many people across Barrow and the wider area.

"As well as running The Ship Inn, the successful applicant will need to manage and maintain other parts of the island, including its small camp site, taking into account the sensitivities that go hand in hand with a designated site of special scientific interest."

Piel Island has a rich history, with the landlord of its pub going through a special ceremony 'crowning' them as the new 'king' of the establishment. (Getty)
Piel Island has a rich history, with the landlord of its pub going through a special ceremony 'crowning' them as the new 'king' of the establishment. (Getty)

Piel Island can be reached via a short ferry between April and September, while there are also guided walks across the sands in good weather.

The council said various improvements are set to take place on the island, including replacing an existing toilet block and considering alternative energy generation as part of the Low Carbon Barrow project.

Cllr Thomson added: "The successful applicant will need to be dedicated to their role on Piel - an absolute jewel in the borough’s crown - while taking care of the many people who visit the pub each year.

"While there are periods when the pub and the island is bustling with people, there will be periods of quiet too - something the successful applicant will need to embrace.

"Our thanks go to all of the council staff who helped prepare the pub and island for reopening in 2021 in a very short space of time - and also to The Piel Island Pub Company which stepped in to make sure The Ship Inn could be reopened as soon as possible after the pandemic.

"We look forward to the doors of The Ship Inn reopening again for 2022 and the bright future it has ahead of it."

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