Tuesday, 22 December 2015
#178 Cuttle Bridge Inn (aka The Kingsley), Kingsbury Road, Birmingham : 1998 to 2015
The first time we moored at The Kingsley was on the evening of Tuesday 2nd September 1997, but it was late, dark and the picture I do have isn't very good (taken with my old 35mm camera) so I haven't scanned it for inclusion.
The Kingsley was something of a godsend for us whenever we were using the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal as it was a brand new Beefeater Inn along a stretch of canal where it was a long time to the next guaranteed eating place.
Our next visit was on the evening of Sunday 21st June 1998 after a five hour afternoon journey from the centre of Birmingham.
Back in 1998 we'd not discovered how close Curdworth was to the canal and so a bright, shiny, new Beefeater (with mooring outside) was the perfect stopping point for us.
We were back again the next year in the evening of Sunday 29th August 1999.
There's really not much extra to add as it was a typical Beefeater of its era.
The next time we were there was on the evening of Thursday 31st May 2001.
On this one week trip we'd miscalculated the timings and left ourselves only one day to get back to Lapworth. Fortunately there was plenty of light and the journey only took us a total of 10 hours 35 minutes the next day!
We were back again on the evening of Wednesday 18th September 2002 (giving us a more leisurely two days to return to our moorings!).
This was the first visit where we noticed that all was not well with The Kingsley. The restaurant was very quiet, the service was not as good as previously and the bar was populated by exclusively young people and not that many of them! (I realise that last sentence makes me sound like an old fart, but Beefeaters were usually frequented by families and you used to get a very mixed clientele, but this looked and felt very different!)
The next time we stopped was on the evening of Tuesday 31st August 2004 and it was no longer a Beefeater!
It hadn't long been under new management and so wasn't too different from the previous visit.
We were there next on Wednesday 6th September 2006, another evening stop, and it had been completely refurbished.
At first this looked extremely promising, but once we were inside it was obvious that despite the money that had been spent on the place it wasn't thriving.
We did moor outside on the evening of Saturday 26th May 2007, but chose to walk into Curdworth for food and drink! I didn't take a picture. Since this time, we've discovered that Curdworth is a more viable stopping place and the two pubs are within easy walking distance...as long as there are enough mooring spaces!
This next photo was taken on Sunday 11th May 2014 as I happened to be driving by.
This looked like the end for The Kingsley and it was, in a way, but not quite the ending I'd expected!
As we sailed by on the morning of Monday 15th June 2015, this is the scene we came across.
It had reinvented itself as an hotel called the Cuttle Bridge Inn! With its proximity to the NEC, Birmingham and the M42 it is the ideal location for an hotel which should give it a steady trade that wasn't there for a pub/restaurant that you had to drive to.
It is now on our radar as a place to revisit. They have a website and are part of a small chain of hotels in the Midlands around Birmingham.