A 300-year-old country pub which shot to fame when it banned children has now called last orders on adults too as it closes down.
The Compass Inn closes today after landlady Lucy ‘Mop’ Draper – who imposed a ban on under-12s after complaints from customers – decided to call it a day after nearly 30 years at the helm.
The 67-year-old chose not to renew the lease on the dog-friendly, gluten-free pub in the village of Winsor, nestled in Hampshire’s New Forest, which she says has been even busier since going ‘adult only’.
The ban on children under 12 was introduced in June this year after she claimed diners in the country pub were disturbed by ‘rowdy’ and ‘feral’ children from a family with ‘no respect’ for others.
Posting on social media to announce the ban, Ms Draper said: “We have yet again experienced a family with no respect for other diners.
Solent News & Photo Agency)
“We had complaints about the rowdy children, had to move people to a quieter area, apologise for them and the staff had to put up with the backlash this family created.
“The children were jumping up and down on chairs, literally screeching, and the parents did nothing to stop them even after I had a polite word.
“The kids were just feral.
“It’s a shame I have had to make this decision but we are ultimately an adult-only pub and some families disregard this fact.
“We expect their children to behave which unfortunately is not always the case.”
But Ms Draper insists the ban made her pub even more popular, saying people across the globe agreed with the decision.
“It was unbelievable. We went viral,” she said.
“I was getting calls from all over the world and stories on it were getting millions of views. A TV station in Perth, Australia, even did a poll and 79 per cent of people [there] agreed with us.
“It’s been an eventful 27 years, I’m closing as my lease is expiring and I don’t want to renew it. It has nothing with going adult-only – which in fact made the pub busier.
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“Thank you for all your custom and support over these years. Wishing you all best for the New Year.”
Highlights during her three-decade tenure include a visit by former Prime Minister Sir Edward ‘Ted’ Heath, who led the country between 1970 and 1974 and resided in nearby Salisbury, Wilts, regularly visiting New Forest pubs until his death in 2005, aged 89.
Following the announcement, several pub-goers took to social media to express their disappointment.
One customer mourned the loss of the ‘proper English pub’, saying: “Shame they’re going but hope they have a lovely well-earned retirement.
“Have been to The Compass many times over the years. Always took our foreign friends there as an example of a proper English pub.
“Hope it stays open with another landlord and doesn’t close entirely.”
But another criticised the child ban, writing: “Lost our custom the moment they banned children.
“We are a family of nine adults who went regularly, spending approximately £100+ a time then two babies came along in our family and kids were banned.
“They didn’t run round or scream but were still not allowed. We loved the pub and the food was fab. Not fair that all children were labelled the same.”