Barmy Berkeley – a shop in a 17th century pub, parallel parked peckish police, & big cat escapades!

Mariners Arms - a centuries old listed building - to become a convenience shop...

The Co-op food shop in Berkeley is to relocate to the Mariners Arms pub which closed a couple of years or so ago.  Planning permission has been granted by Stroud District Council for the landmark grade 2 listed building to be converted from a pub to a ‘retail convenience store’.  

The Mariners Arms building dates from the late 17th or early 18th century but the foundations are said to be circa 1490.  Overlooking the far end of the green with the majestic cedar tree, the Mariners Arms is well away from the town’s usual shopping area.

The Mariners Arms has closed but the Boars Head seen in the distance is still open

The not-so-ancient extensions and skittle alley at the rear of the pub will be demolished, and a single storey, flat roofed, modern shop will be built in its place.  The Stock Lane frontage and older parts of the pub will be retained, with the ground floor becoming store rooms and offices, and the first floor remaining a flat.

There will also be a small car park in the area to the rear of the current pub.  The lorry unloading bay will be off the road where the picnic tables used to be in front of the pub.

The new Co-op shop and car park entrances will both be accessed from Lynch Road rather than Stock Lane, and will be almost opposite the Boars Head pub which is still open for beers etc when not in a covid lockdown.

Police parking on the move...

Looking east along Salter Street, Berkeley, Glos

In Berkeley, the answer to  “Why did the policeman cross the road?”  is most likely to be  “To get to the One Stop shop!”  Or one of the various other tempting food outlets – Berkeley is spoilt for choice these days.

The parking bay reserved for police cars is currently bang outside the Town Hall.  Berkeley has become very well supplied with excellent venues to buy fresh coffees, cakes, snacks and take-aways.  But these happen to all be on the other side of either Salter Street or Market Place.

A police spokesperson said,  “We receive a lot of complaints about traffic speeding through the town centre and this has not missed our attention either.  It has become really tricky for our officers to negotiate their way across the road whilst holding a hot coffee in one hand and carrying a bag of oven fresh pastries in the other.

“Something has to be done and is long overdue.  So we are moving the police parking bay to immediately outside the shops on the other side of Salter Street.”

There was some concern that the reduction in exercise would have a knock on health effect.  But the spokesperson added,  “As part of our positive engagement with the public, we have been working for some time to make the force ‘cuddlier’.  We have now set up a committee to look into ways of making our community policing officers more furry and fluffy too.”

Berkness approached the town mayor for comment.  He told us,  “You really could not make this stuff up.”

Berkeley big cat capture...

Could big cat sightings be old slinky dogs with long tails?

Not suitable for the fainthearted!

In recent years, there have been several reported sightings of wild big cats in the Vale area – as anyone who looks at the Gloucestershire Live news site will know.

However, there were recently several emergency calls reporting a huge cat like creature on the prowl.  Already, a sailor on shore leave from Sharpness had been mauled and a pig was missing from a smallholding.

Fortunately, the big beast was soon captured in Berkeley and sedated.  To discover what the animal had eaten, it was agreed that a colonoscopy specialist would take the medical equipment to the scene.  This is a procedure by which a tiny camera on the end of a bendy tube is navigated up the lower gut.

In the police HQ press room, the atmosphere was tense as reporters awaited further information.  After a seemingly long wait, the chief constable phoned the chief vet to ask how far they had got.  She then made a formal statement to the room:  “Apparently, they have just passed the Mariner’s Arms and can now see the Boar’s Head.”

News update:

No animals, humans or cakes were actually eaten in the making of the above stories which were first published on 1st April 2021.

The big cat is now doing well, having been homed and nicknamed The Berkness Monster.

The words ‘policeman’ and ‘One Stop shop’ were chosen simply because they scan best with chicken and Birds Eye shop.  But in truth, I have never seen a female police person in Berkeley anyway.   I did once see a chicken crossing the A38 near Berkeley Heath – but have no idea if it had any particular reason for crossing the road!

However, at least one of the above stories is true!  You can view the Co-op’s planning application for the Mariners Arms by simply entering mariners into the search at:

The sun sets behind the Mariners Arms' sign and the Boars Head pub with its burgundy sign