Nottingham Royal Naval Association Club

Nottingham Royal Naval Association Club, Church Street, Lenton, Nottingham

If this ‘Navy Club’ looks like a 1960’s estate pub that’s because it was designed and built as one in 1966 when it opened as ‘The Happy Return’.

It served three tower blocks that were built partly on the site of three pubs which were demolished to make room for them.

The Lenton tower blocks have now been demolished but the pub building remains though now, since 2010, not a pub but a members and guests club. Members are all former members of the British Armed Forces, the naval and associated services.

Here’s what English Heritage have to say about the building:

The Happy Return, 22 Church Street/ Lombard Street, Lenton, Nottingham, opened 29 July 1966 by Shipstone’s, whose chairman declared that The Happy Return was his favourite of C. S. Forester’s Hornblower novels. It was built to replace three public houses demolished for the Lenton flats, which were themselves demolished in 2015-16. The pub closed in 2010 and is now the Nottingham Royal Naval Association Club. The exterior appears well preserved, with original windows. It is also remarkably large. PS/B/42/2 (1-7) Plans of October 1964 by Reginald Cooper and Partners for Shipstone’s. They show a small beer cellar. The ground-floor plan is ‘L’-shaped with the public bar along the front, but with a ‘loggia’ at the rear of the lounge (it was in fact a small paved yard). A case store is behind the service area but the beer cellar and wine store are in the basement underneath this part. At the side (to Lombard Street) was a door to the ‘wine shop’ and to a large first-floor assembly room with its own lavatories. This is at the front of the upper floor with a private flat to the rear, which links to the service area but there is no obvious way to the assembly room, save from the public stairs.” – Elain Harwood (Historic England)

Photo: Paul Conneally, 2019

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