Ship Inn

7-8 Lower Park Row, Bristol, BS1 5BJ.  c. 1973-7?

The Ship has been trading since at least 1775. In the 1970s it was run by Wilf, who later ran the Bridge Inn, Passage Street with his partner Philip. At that time, the Ship only occupied No. 8 (on the lower part of the hill) but has since been enlarged to take in No. 7.

Pearl, drag queen, 2010:

It was always like being in the front parlour with Wilf and Phillip; the Ship was very small in the mid seventies. I went there recently and it appeared to have doubled in frontage, and size. […] I used to sit in the tiny bar of The Ship and every so often go and trot to the juke box and put on Daniel by Elton John. Everyone was very friendly and protective of me, which was nice as every Saturday I managed to miss the last train home to Swindon and instead party the night away at The Moulin Rouge up in Worrall Road.

  2 Responses to “Ship Inn (Lower Park Row)”

  1. Wilf and Philip probably went to the Fawlty Towers School of Public Relations, since it seemed like we as patrons were inconveniencing them terribly. In the days of 10.30pm closing, Wilf would grumpily shut the door at 10.20pm with the comment: “If they’re not here by now, it’s too late.” Later they took over the Bridge Inn in Passage Street, which I see is now run by Poles.

  2. The Ship was the first gay venue I frequented in Bristol (c1974). Wilf and Philip were great characters (they don’t make ’em like those two anymore). But I also remember being befriended by ‘Mother’ and ‘Auntie’: the former with a head of silver/blonde hair that was rock hard with lacquer and the latter being dark-haired, bearded and slightly more rotund. Happy days!

    Charlie later (1 December 2017) wrote:

    The Ship on Lower Park Row became my regular watering-hole. It was what can only be described as a ‘traditional pub’, with flock wallpaper and well-worn carpets, tables stained with years of beer glasses, and Jack-and-Annie-Walker-style landlords behind the bar: Wilf and Philip. Wilf floated between pumps and optics, while Phil (the younger of the couple) usually glared miserably from behind the counter. I recall they also regularly had a younger barman serving – possibly in his early 20s and quite good-looking, if I remember rightly. As a naïve teenager myself, I struck up a friendship with two ‘old queens’ who were usually ensconced at the far end of the bar, known as Mother and Auntie. Both in their 50s (at a guess), Mother was the more flamboyant of the pair, with a great mop of silver/blond hair caked with lacquer, while Auntie was dark-haired, a little more rotund, with a beard. The Ship was and felt like a simple back-street pub – even though it was only a stone’s throw from Bristol City Centre: it wasn’t large, but that meant that even a dozen customers made it feel pretty full.

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