History Of Crab & Lobster Inn
Little is known about the early history of the Inn but a building without a name was shown on the 1862 map and this may have well been the Inn. Liquor licensing laws were introduced in 1870 and the owner requested a licence to carry out the trade of supplying spirits from the building. The inn became the focal point for coastguards, fishermen and smugglers, showing off their catch and possibly making plans for the next delivery of contraband.
The Crab and Lobster Inn’s continued prosperity is indicated in the many alterations and extensions to the building. By the 1930’s visitors were flocking to the Island, this appears to be the time most of the extensions were added. During the last renovation a local carpenter replacing a floor board found the name J Mursell carved on the underside. The adjacent cottage traded as the Holbrook’s Tea Room until 1922, when it appears to have been acquired by the brewers, who leased it to various tenants before it became incorporated into the Inn.
The drink driving laws changed the character of the inn for good. Emphasis shifted from steady drinking to catering. The reputation of the famous locally caught seafood brought visitors from far and wide. Many changes were made to the initial layout to provide more tables, the small bars were converted into one large room, with a restaurant in the old cottage. The exterior was also changed to meet modern demands, picnic tables with umbrellas, hanging baskets of flowers and more car parking. The beautiful location overlooking the eastern entrance to the Solent, the many ships passing by, the changing tides and colours of the water, encourage many to seek out the peaceful surroundings of Forelands, set far away from the main tourist areas.