Bernard Harris (Swan Inn, Inkpen)

An obituary written by Mary Harris about her husband was published in the Newbury Weekly News on 15 June 2023

Reminiscing about Bernard Harris, Roy Bailey wrote ‘After renovation, The Swan Inn was officially re-opened in 1996 by Branch President Johnny Morris, and swiftly became the best pub in the area, selling Butts’ beer, local cider and excellent food’.

Roy’s 1996 photo shows (L to R) Bernard Harris, Mary Harris, Johnny Morris, Chris Butt & Delia Chamberlain standing in the road outside the Swan Inn, Inkpen.

Some years later a new porch entrance was constructed and Branch Chairman Mike Smith was there for the opening ceremony.

Remembering the occasion, Mike Smith wrote ‘I held great affection for the Swan at Inkpen during my time living in Hungerford as a result of the passion that Bernard and Mary showed for running the pub. A rare and probably unique outlet for Adnams Mild in Berkshire until it was discontinued by the brewery. My proudest moment as Chairman in the West Berkshire branch was being asked to officiate at the opening of the new porch during the extensive renovations at the Swan. I considered the Swan my local even though I had to pass five pubs to get there.’

Porch entrance to the Swan Inn (2016 photo)

Mike added ‘The porch opening would have been late 90s, I can’t remember better than that. It was the main entrance into the pub. Butts beers became regular on the bar when the brewery was founded, I’m sure Chris and Delia were running the pub for a while. I recall Bernard trying out several different milds (as that was his preferred tipple) and I think Butts Jester eventually became the house beer even though not a mild.’

In 2016, The Harrises organised a 20th anniversary celebration of owning the pub on St George’s Day with Morris dancing by the Garston Gallopers in the afternoon and music from the Chris Jagger Trio in the evening.

Branch Chairman Richard Scullion presented a CAMRA Special Award certificate to mark the occasion.

Among those also present were CAMRA stalwarts Roy and Annabel Bailey, beer writer Jeff Evans, Ullage Editor Tim Thomas and current Branch Chair Andy Pinkard.

Kevin Brady had supplied casks of Indigenous Brewery Baldrick Mild, with a pumpclip which features a member of the Garston Gallopers, for the event.

In an article for the Autumn 2023 Ullage magazine, which appears in full below, Roy Bailey wrote ‘When Annabel and I finally ceased being the question master and mistress (at the Swan Inn quiz), we rather lost touch with the Harrises, although Bernard and I did indulge in Morris dancing at The Swan on St George’s Day 2016. We were saddened to learn that the pub had closed two years later’.

Roy Bailey’s library of photographs includes one taken of Bernard Harris with Chris Marriage on a visit to Hook Norton Brewery when they were shown around by brewer Janet Tailby (below).