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The Ram Jam Inn, Stretton, Rutland, August 2020

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HughieD

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1. The History
The Ram Jam Inn is located on the northbound side of the A1 at Stretton, Rutland, England between Stamford, and Grantham. It closed as a pub, restaurant, and hotel back in 2012. It was put on the market for an asking price of £550,000. Since its sale it has sat empty and new owners, Birmingham-based Godwin Developments, tabled plans in October 2018 to demolish it and build three drive-in units and one drive-to unit. The inn, despite its history, has never been listed and was unsympathetically extended in the 20th century. These were rejected (and the appeal dismissed) so new plans were submitted in February 2020, just before COVID-19 struck. Although making so adjustments to the original proposal, the revised proposal still sought the demolition of the historic inn. At the current time, the planning permission application is still “awaiting decision”.

The Ram Jam Inn was originally located next to The Great North Road which linked London to Edinburgh, via York. In the 18th and 19th centuries the mail and stage coaches regularly drove up and down it. This was then in turn replaced by the A1, the longest numbered road in the UK. The former coaching inn was initially known as the Winchelsea Arms, named for the Earls of Winchelsea. However, by 1802 under the ownership of landlord Charles Blake, it was unofficially referred to by locals as “The Ram Jam”. It appears to have been officially renamed the Ram Jam inn some years later in June 1878.

There are two theories as to where the name Ram Jam came from. One is that the aforementioned Blake developed a spirit/liqueur called Ramzan which then became know as Ram Jam and was sold at the inn. The second theory surrounds the infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin. He was a temporary lodger here in his early days of notoriety. The story goes that one day he showed his landlady, Mrs Spring, how to draw mild and bitter ale from a single barrel. He was apparently have heard to have said to her "Ram one thumb in here whilst I make a hole. Now jam your other thumb in this hole while I find the forgotten spile pegs". He was then reported to have then made his exit without paying his bill, while his hapless landlady had her two thumbs stuck in the barrel. It must be noted that it is unlikely that there is much of the
Original building remaining from Dick Turpin’s time, as he died in 1739 and the existing building dates back from around 1884.

Other accounts of how the inn got its name also proliferate but I guess the real reason for the name is lost in the mists of time. What is known for certain, however, is that soul singer Geno Washington (a.k.a. William Francis Washington) named his backing band, the Ram Jam Band, after the inn and was a frequent customer while en-route to gigs. Geno Washington was later paid tribute to in Dexy’s Midnight Runner’s second number one hit, “Geno”.

I’ll leave you with this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMQNbdxJKyw&feature=emb_rel_err

2. The Explore
Not too sure I enjoyed this one that much. This place is a bit soulless (ironic, given it gave the name to Geno Washington’s band!). I know this place and came in as a customer back in the day when it was open. Hence it saddens me to see it in this state. When it closed it was in really good nick and fitted out to a decent standard. Now everything is smashed up and it is in a very poor way. I did try to have a look back in May 2019 after @tarkovsky and his report but the place had been freshly sealed. As is often the way, it has been reopened and since the application to demolish it, the present owners have showed little interest in resealing it. In fact, you could speculate than an ‘unfortunate’ fire would actually not displease then.

Even the iconic inn sign has now gone. Here’s a picture I took of it on my first visit when I just took externals:

50272993587_6069eb4c1f_b.jpgimg0908 by HughieDW, on Flickr

3. The Photographs

A few externals first:

50272988892_f9616b10bf_b.jpgRam Jam 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272824131_228daf53f8_b.jpgRam Jam 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272955362_565270e33c_b.jpgimg8084 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272954632_300a937fa3_b.jpgimg8085 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272111088_c427306810_b.jpgimg8094 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272953752_2a3ee90f96_b.jpgimg8086 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Then inside to the accommodation part:

50272990912_af00ff3bb4_b.jpgRam Jam 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272990747_f89e7c94c9_b.jpgRam Jam 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272151523_68521a7c6a_b.jpgRam Jam 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272151428_b558323ece_b.jpgRam Jam 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272151243_13554bd535_b.jpgRam Jam 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272150988_0d04c5cbf6_b.jpgRam Jam 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, on to the bar area which is also smashed to f*ck:

50272151088_a456a048f1_b.jpgRam Jam 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272112158_e0a9cdbedb_b.jpgimg8091 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272950882_4ec2e9b6e8_b.jpgimg8093 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272989652_39dcb62218_b.jpgRam Jam 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272823751_b40cf00266_b.jpgRam Jam 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272989297_872a7d6489_b.jpgRam Jam 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50272823286_59be84a8e6_b.jpgRam Jam 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

verdigris

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it was nice inside too - I used to stop off there for a meal (always good) on my way Up North. It was an iconic staging post on the A1. A sad loss.
 

Roger Harvey

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Ram Jam Inn

I am Roger Harvey, poet novelist and playwright based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I have mentioned the Ram Jam Inn in my latest novel ROOM FOR US (ISBN 9781800318342, published UK 2020, currently available as paperback and e-book via Amazon and Waterstones websites). This book completes a trilogy of novels charting the growing-up of the narratrix Julie through the 1960s. In ROOM FOR US, set in the Summer of 1970, Julie and her fiance Harry travel from Newcastle to Cambridge in a Triumph Herald Estate car. Passing the Ram Jam Inn is mentioned on page 86. I worked this into the story from my own very happy experiences of travelling down the A1 on family holidays and always noticing the Ram Jam Inn. It is a wasteful tragedy that this famous roadhouse is in a state of dereliction. Still, it lives on in memory--and now in print.
 
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