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Frome’s home to the oldest and youngest landladys

FROME is known for its quirky old pubs and the town can lay claim to home the oldest and one of the youngest landladys in the whole of the UK.
Freda Searle, better known as “Mother”, at 96 years old is thought to be the oldest landlady in the UK. Next year she is hoping to celebrate her golden 50 years of running the Lamb & Fountain Inn, Castle Street, Frome.
On the other end of the scale, The Three Swans, King Street, is one of the oldest pubs in Frome, but with one of the youngest landladys in the UK. Lucy Cooper, who took over the pub from Helen Rowlinson in the middle of May this year, is just 22 but has worked at the pub for four years.
At Lamb & Fountain Inn, ‘Mother’ and her husband, Harry, took over the Lamb & Fountain pub in 1969 and after he died in 1975, Mother carried on running the pub on her own, making it a free house.
Mother has run a successful pub, despite refusing to go down the “pub grub” route. Her ‘personality, sense of fun, kindness and generosity’ make her respected and loved by all, say her customers.
The pub itself is still much as it was in the ‘60s with three separate bars and what is said to be the best view in Frome. It is still very much an “old-fashioned local” with old-fashioned standards and customs.
The Lamb & Fountain, also renowned simply as “Mother’s” retains a community spirit amongst its customers, some of whom have been using the pub since the ‘60s. Many started coming in with their parents and have subsequently brought their own children. There is many a tale to be told.
The building itself dates from the 16th century and boasts tunnels, an ice house and a well.
At The Three Swans, the pub is small in size but big in character and will make you feel right at home. Since reopening in 2014, it provides the perfect spot to enjoy a drink or two, homemade snacks, and traditional board games…everything from a simple quiet break from an afternoon of shopping, to an evening of fun and laughter.
“I feel like I’m already part of the furniture.” Lucy said, “It’s definitely a challenge being the landlady, that not many people at my age are doing, but I couldn’t turn down such an amazing opportunity. I have such a good team around me so we all are carrying on as normal, it doesn’t feel like there has been a massive change, we are one big family.
“It’s all working as it is now, so I’m not about to bring in huge changes as the customers are happy, but in the future I have ideas to utilise the kitchen a bit more and bring in lunches on a Friday and Saturday as well as the Sunday lunches.
“I’m in to music as well, having the function room upstairs is making me want to put on more live music events and bring more art to the Three Swans. Frome is such a cultured place and it would be great to bring that here.”

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