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The Prince Albert - Cowick Street

aka the Road House, the Showman and the Goa Indian Restaurant

Page updated 11th December 2015

Back to Pubs of Exeter

This pub, next to St Thomas Church goes back to at least 1805 when the Lamb and Lion is mentioned specifically "as near the church". An auction for a lot of five prime elm trees for timber was held at the Lamb and Lion 'adjoining St.Thomas's church-year' was held in February 1807. It was also listed in 1810 according to A E Richardson, the last editor of the Flying Post in 1917.

During March 1826, the Lamb and Lion was the starting point for a woman to walk 50 miles in less than 10½ hours. The Flying Post reported the event thus:

Female Pedestrian:
A woman undertook yesterday in St Thomas’ Fair to walk 50 miles in 10 hours and a half–a quarter of a mile piece of ground was selected from the Lamb and Lion public-house, towards the Dunsford Turnpike Gate, she accomplished task with ease in 8 hours and a half, having 2 hours to spare; –her reward was the voluntary contributions of the by-standards.

The house came up for sale in October 1839, along with an adjoining skittle alley. The lease to the landlord, Mr Richards, was due to expire at Christmas 1840.

It became the Prince Albert sometime after 1840 , the year Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. It was definitely listed in 1844, as the Prince Albert. It was leased to Harding and Richards, the precursors of St Anne's Well Brewery from at least 1844.

By 1859 the lease was for sale as the Saddler's Arms, formerly known as the Prince Albert. The name change did not last long, as it reverted to Prince Albert.

From 1889, through the First War to 1928, the publican was John Dodd, then his son, John Frost Dodd. In 1928, a deed of conveyance stated that the pub came "...together with the Brewhouse, Cellars, Skittle Alley,Stable and premises..."

In 1955 the skittle alley was rebuilt and in 1961 the bars underwent modernisation. After a 150 years as the Prince Albert, the pub was put up for sale in 1994. In July 1996, the new owners, a Satan's Slave chapter, renamed the Prince Albert, the Road House. Under the new management it sported a smart new sign that showed a biker riding across a red and orange sky.

In October 2005 the public house came under new management, a brother and sister team, Paul and Debbie Andrew, who had previously run the Village Inn in Exwick. They changed the name to the Showman. They also courted a certain amount of publicity by opposing the, then forthcoming, smoking ban in pubs. In June 2010, under the new management, of David and Melanie Layfield, the council received several complaints about noise from the premises.

The premises changed hands again, and are now the Goa Spice Indian takeaway and restaurant.

Known landlords:

1839 - The Lamb and Lion - Mr Richards
1844 - Prince Albert Tavern - Thomas Smith - Pigots
1897 and 1923 - Prince Albert PH - John Dodd - Kellys
1904 - Mr John Dodd (died that year)
1904 - Mr J Frost Dodd
1939 - Prince Albert - Albert John Loveless
1940 - Mr Ernest Moore

The Prince Albert in the snow in 1978

The Prince Albert during the 1978 blizzard. Photo John Garnsworthy

The Showman in 2005.

The sign for the Roadhouse, 1996

The sign for the Roadhouse, 1996. Photo courtesy Sean Creech.

The sign for the Showman, 2005

The sign for the Showman, 2005.

Superman punches out of a rear wall

Superman punches out of a rear wall at the Showman. Photo courtesy Julia Sharp.

A fairground horse in the bar of the Showman

A fairground horse in the bar of the Showman. Photo courtesy Julia Sharp.

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