The early history of the Lamb public house at 73 Brighton Road can be traced back to 1855, at a time when it had its own brewery under the ownership of landlord John Buckwell. John’s son, William, later took over the establishment, carrying out an advert in the Surrey Comet in 1870 (pictured) that emphasised that its beers were “brewed expressly for Family use”.
Accounts of the pub’s early ownership after the Buckwells vary and are difficult to verify but it is believed the brewery closed in the late 19th century and The Lamb was reopened as a pub in 1904, having been rebuilt. Curiously it was not allowed to sell wine until 1947 – and its full licence did not arrive until 1952, for which privilege the owners were required to pay £1,700 “monopoly value”.
The modern community-focused era of The Lamb pub began in 2007 when present day landlords Adam and Liz Lewis took over from previous owners Punch. They then bought the freehold in 2010.
Adam and Liz quickly set about turning the pub into the sometimes bohemian, often eccentric, always loving establishment you see today. Working alongside local not-for-profit The Community Brain, The Lamb became HQ for many of the public events that placed silliness at the heart of Surbiton: whether giant board games (Hungry Hungry Hippos, Kerplunk etc), the daring athleticism of Surbiton Ski Sunday, or the monthly cheese appreciation night, Homage de Fromage. It also won the ‘Best Local’ award from CAMRA.
In recent years, The Lamb has added live music as a core component of its offering, providing a venue unique to the Surbiton area, popular with punters and musicians alike. Liz recalls Tim Fulker of Lamb favourites Tankus the Henge as being one of the first to raise the idea of regular music nights: “we don’t how you do that, but if you think it’ll work, then let’s do it,” Liz recalls telling him. “And it was magic,” she added.
As Adam “swallowed a book” in order to become the venue’s sound engineer, former bar manager Tina Dézart began playing a key role in further expanding the music programme, which began to incorporate a truly eclectic and vibrant mix of genres, whether folk, jazz, blues, or a range of international styles. Today the Lamb continues to invite artists from as far as Mexico, Argentina or India for its regular Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday music nights. Find out what’s on by visiting their website.
Tina was also the inspiration behind the creation of Lambstock, the Lamb’s annual two day summer music festival. The sound of Saturday and Sunday’s 12-hour lineup migrates from garden to indoors as the sun sets, culminating in DJ sets and a raucous party vibe. And speaking of parties, The Lamb is still one of the places to be come Halloween, New Year’s Eve, or the night of its ‘Now Is The Winter Of Our Disco Tent’ celebration.
Today Liz has taken over much of the programming, describing how she loves to take risks on the unusual: “Life can be so monotonous… some of the most enjoyable or talked about gigs are those in which people come in and see French electro pop or an 8-piece Mexican band and say, ‘Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that…’”
Meanwhile despite the challenges that being a live music venue throws up, Adam sees the future of the Lamb as having more, not less. He cites its new Bang Belly night as an opportunity for young performers to showcase their work, saying: “It’s been very popular. So I’d like to expand rather than contract.”
Hear more about music at The Lamb from Adam and Liz Lewis, who first took over the pub in 2007 and quickly set about making their living room one of the most community-minded establishments in the area. Working closely with the ‘State of Seething’, Adam and Liz soon found that live music was one of the more popular elements of their community events. Together with bar manager Tina Dézart, they built up a vast network of musicians who graced the Lamb’s stages indoors and out, to the extent they are now Surbiton’s foremost live music venue and host the Lambstock music festival each year.