A MUCH-LOVED community pub has mysteriously closed its doors.
The Barge Inn pub on High Road, Vange has been at the heart of its area since first opening its doors more than 200 years ago.
But now the doors are firmly shut with no signs of life apparent after the latest landlords Emma and Clive Langley mysteriously left the pub.
Customers and businesses believe the couple left the pub after struggling as the recession continues to bite.
Speaking in 2008, just a year on from taking on the pub, the couple told The Echo the economic downturn was already taking its toll on their business with fewer people spending their cash at watering holes across the country.
Now, more than four years on, the couple are understood to have left the pub, which is thought to have closed around a fortnight ago.
It is currently empty and a sign on the window, which reads “closed private party”, is undertsood to refer to a bash thrown at the pub by the couple on New Year’s Eve.
Enterprise Inns PLC, the brewery which owns the pub, was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press. The Echo were also unable to contact Mr and Mrs Langley.
Previously, before the Langleys ran The Barge, the pub was run by the Evans family who spent seven decades pulling pints there. Elizabeth Evans was the first member of the family to take on the pub in 1937, and her niece Geraldine Evans more recently worked behind the bar for more than 40 years until she left in April 2007.