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Thursday, 18 August 2011

#008 Navigation Inn, Lapworth : 1986 to 2011

The Navigation Inn at Lapworth (or is it Rowington?) is the pub I have photographed most over the years. Outside it has changed quite a bit over the years, but inside it is pretty much the same - a welcoming local with a proper bar (complete with uneven stone floor) and serving excellent food.
 This photo was taken at lunchtime on 19th July 1986 at the start of a canal trip that would take us to Leicester and Nottingham. We paused to take in the delights of the Navigation (not for the first time, I might add) to await the arrival of Martin to complete our five man crew for the trip. Difficult to believe that we managed with five of us on board a 35 ft narrowboat for a fortnight...and we cooked breakfast plus evening meals on most days! Nowadays, being older and wider, three is plenty for a long trip.

Eleven years later (27th March 1997) and the pub still looks pretty much the same, but if you look closely you'll notice that all of the signs are different. This was at the start of our first ever Easter trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.

This visit was on 20th April 2000 and again the signage has changed. Now it is 'The Navigation Lapworth', despite the fact that we always walk past the sign saying Rowington on our way to the pub!

Now it is 18th April 2003 and the old mock Tudor look has gone to be replaced by the more modern approach of cream and natural timber. Inside, no change!

Moving forward to 2008 (21st March) and probably the best photo I've managed to take of The Navigation. The pub sign is back and the plants have started to grow.

And's 25 years since the first picture...29th April 2011 - Royal Wedding Day! The plants are now well grown and the hanging sign has disappeared (again!). Inside there is still no change, but the pub is under new management. The menu is still excellent, but the Jumbo Cod isn't quite as large as it used to be! (But, is anything?). This is still the best pub in Lapworth (or is it in Rowington or even Kingswood as in Google Maps?) and well worth a visit.

In 2009 I discovered (on t'internet) a picture of the Navigation from 1915 and attempted to produce a contemporary shot showing it from the same angle. This meant that I had to take the photo from the middle of the road, but the results are visible here on The Navigation Inn website.

One final, final observation - notice how the street light hasn't changed at all in 25 years!!


  1. Aha, one I've actually been in in the past few years. I'm not a fan of the pastel-coloured beams, although more recently they do seem to have weathered back to a natural wood colour. Your photos don't show that there is a small 1930s extension on the other side of the pub containing the toilets. From my one visit I would say it is a dining pub with an olde-worlde main bar rather than a proper local that serves good food.

  2. Your description is probably right, but whenever I've been, the bar is usually full of locals! The rest of the pub is mainly for dining and there's a large garden. I tend not to go into the garden much as we're usually visiting at Easter and it's usually cold!!
    My photos are all from the same perspective for one good reason...that's the side I always approach the pub, either by road or from the towpath...and I can't be arsed to walk further to capture the other side!!

  3. Great collection of pictures of the pub over time! I think I really like the look with the hanging sign and the front greenery all grow in... the 2000 photo.

    It's funny that the light hasn't changed LOL!

    Nice to see you blogging again by the way!