Who Was The Valiant Soldier?
The Valiant Soldier was an active pub in Buckfastleigh which closed in the late 1960′s and never re-opened. Everything was literally left as it was and today, it’s open as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse of the past…
The current building which houses the Valiant Soldier dates from the 1700′s and the earliest mention of it as a pub is in 1813.
It had various landlords through the 19th and early 20th centuries and in 1939 its last landlord, Mark Roberts, became the tenant.
In 1965 the brewery decided that there were too many pubs in the town and withdrew the license, so Mr and Mrs Roberts promptly downed tools as the last customers left the premises, leaving everything just as it was – even the change remained in the tills.
The doors remained closed even after the family purchased the property from the brewery years later. Mr Roberts dies in 1969 but his wife, Alice carried on living in the upper part of the property until the mid-90′s
Th Valiant Soldier had always been a family home as well as a pub and its scullery, kitchen, parlour, bedrooms and bathroom evoke its period.
After the pub doors closed the family left the area untouched – optics, glasses, furniture, brewery ephemera – everything remained.
In addition there was a huge number of bills, invoices, letters and photographs allowing future generations to study the workings of a small mid-20th century town pub. All this became apparent when the property was put up for sale in the mid-1990′s
The Valiant Soldier is probably unique in Britain, a time capsule, having been left in its original working state for more than forty years. Pubs of this age have generally been gutted and transformed by modernisation or demolished to make way for something new. Although the Valiant Soldier may never again serve a pint of beer, it still retains the atmosphere life during the early 60′s.
Members of the local community realised that the Valiant was special and they alerted Teignbridge Council which acted swiftly and in a particularly enlightened way, acquiring the premises in 1997.
A trust was formed which set about recording and preserving what it contained, before opening it to the public. The attic in particular was an Aladdin’s cave of everyday objects and memorabilia.
For reasons of safety one can not enter the real attic, but a room on the floor below has been rebuilt to replicate it exactly, with all the original contents so that visitors can make their torch-lit way through objects that will bring back fond memories for the older generation and generate surprise and interest in the younger.
The tourist information point, houses next door to the pub, contains documents on how the contents were saves and preserved as well as providing a lively presentation on the history of the town.
In addition, computer programs and video presentations as well as old pub games are designed to both amuse and inform visitors of all ages.