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Tarvin History – Tervyn Lea or The Copper Kettle?

31st August 2023 @ 6:06am – by Margaret Dixon
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In 2014 a new housing development called Tervyn Lea was constructed in Tarvin alongside the A54 by-pass. It was situated on the site of the former Copper Kettle pub and restaurant.

Margaret Dixon has kindly shared her account of the history of this piece of land over the last 45 years.

The construction of the by-pass in 1932 had enabled some building to take place along that stretch of road, and in 1936 The Rambler Garage and next door The Rambler Cafe were built. After the war this was described as a "roadside cafe and guest house with pleasure grounds"!

The owner of both the Rambler Garage and Cafe was a very entrepreneurial man, Zaccheus Woodfin, who in 1901, aged 25 years ,was a grocer's assistant boarding at what is now the Fish and Chip shop, King Louis.

By 1910 Zaccheus had his own business selling cycles in a shop in lower High Street. This shop developed with the times to sell petrol and repair cars.

Alongside this part of the business he was also the owner of the first horse-drawn bus in the area, and eventually owned 4 motor buses which ran via various villages to Chester on a regular service. By the early 1930's his garage and shop were in larger premises at the top of the village opposite Hockenhull Lane.

In 1946 at the age of seventy he retired and the Rambler Cafe was sold. A Mr Owen bought the cafe in about 1949/50 and it then became known as Owen's Restaurant. Another new owner followed and another name change to The Pandora. This name was retained until Chester Northgate Brewery bought the premises in 1966 and renamed their pub The Copper Kettle.

In 1984 this changed to The Village Green. Then it became The Copper Kettle again, and finally it became a Thai restaurant.

The garage had closed several years ago and with two pubs in the village centre and changing drinking and eating habits, the pub closed and the land was sold for housing.

Pub names do change, especially nowadays, but 6 names in 77 years in the life of one establishment must be a record!

It may even have had other names as I have a pencilled note in a book which says "Village Tavern". Could that have been a 7th!

Click on the images to expand.

(Ed: We previously published Margaret's article several years ago. Many in Tarvin probably only remember the original building on the site as the Copper Kettle pub. However there will also be many who are new to the area that have no idea of this fascinating history as they drive along the A54 by-pass on a daily basis.)

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