Tributes paid to long-serving Ockbrook landlady

Published on: Thursday, 28th February 2019

Tributes are being paid to a long serving Ockbrook landlady who has died aged 92.

Olive Wilson took over at the Royal Oak in 1953 and has since played host to scores of local groups and organisations as the venue acted as a community hub.   At one time declared as the longest serving UK publican, she once installed a TV for a week for locals to watch the Coronation, and started serving mild at 11 old pence and a pint of bitter for a shilling.  

The early days of the Royal Oak saw a glass fronted bar with hatch through which to serve, men would be the most frequent customers,  although women would bring their knitting in at the weekend, and licensing hours were far stricter than they are today.

Back in 1953, Olive brought no previous experience to the venue, and was once documented as having concluded that she would only stay a few years before moving on with husband Lewis - however, they eventually became owners of the pub which has since picked up accolades from CAMRA and has drawn people in from far and wide for casual nights out or specific special events including music festivals, beer festivals and classic car shows. 

The pub car park has played host to the village Christmas Tree for a number of years and local organisation The Ockash Trust has started its Annual Festival Of Light process to Borrowash Village from outside the venue.

Olive even had a beer named after her by a Somerset-based brewery back in 2000 - 'Olive's Oil'.  Until her death, Olive, whose name has remained over the door as licensee, ran the pub with daughters Jean and Sally, following the death of her husband in 1994.

A celebration of her life will take place at All Saints’ Church in Ockbrook on Thursday 14th March 2019 at 12:30pm.


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