The Fawn Social Club used to be the Fawn Inn/Hotel and was already present on Greenbank (Prospect Street) in 1857. It became a club in 1998 and was taken over by Mike and Ang in 2002. They regularly 5 real ales and real cider available; tea and coffee is available if you ask nicely! It regularly wins CAMRA's Plymouth Club of the Year award.
Credits: Left photo, Ian Dickinson. Right photo, Clive Schneidau.
The Fawn: The Story of the Plymouth Inn and its Maritime Connections by Dr. Charles E. Scurrell
The Pubs of Greenbank project is not the first to show interest for the history of the pubs and their people. Dr. Charles E. Scurrell published a research paper about the Fawn and the HMS Fawn in 2002. It was part of the research series by the Maritime Heritage Society of which Scurrell was a member. His research was mainly concerned with naval history, but he clearly loved the Fawn and was keen to combine both interests in this pamphlet. He carried out detailed research of the streets and their inhabitants since the middle of the 19th century. He charted the development of Greenbank as well as the changes that the Fawn underwent; he underlines, for example, that many drinkers would not have returned from WWII. The publication stops in 2002, when Margaret and Pat Curley sold the private members' club to Mike and Angie Rowland. I believe Scurrell passed away in 2017 and was cremated at Efford Crematorium.
Some of the highlights of the pamphlet include the history of the Fawn sign and lifebelt, and a picture of an old pub sign. In fact, the Fawn held a party when HMS Fawn was de-commissioned and Margaret was invited on the vessel for a dinner. On this occasion she was gifted the sign and lifebelt of HMS Fawn.
You can find a scan of the publication below; note that I have only included the pages relevant to the pub.
These pictures were kindly provided by Liz Davies paint a picture of the community spirit in the Fawn, even before it became a Private Members' Club. The first picture shows the landlords of the Fawn, Margaret and Pat, with some of their regulars on holiday in Menorca in 1984.
The second picture shows the current landlady Ang during a 60's night in the early 2000's. Some of the members actually had this picture printed on a birthday cake for Ang' birthday!
The third picture shows Liz with the former landlords Margaret and Pat drinking in the Fawn.
Favourite drink on Greenbank: pint of gin and tonic with j-bomb chaser
I love the fawn it's run by angie and mike, it's more like a family with real characters. i started drinking in the FAWN a few years back while playing darts for the woodside, we needed a new venue for our darts team, i was given angie's and mikes number. I phoned up angie and asked if we could play for her pub in the greenbank friendly league, we have never looked back, from playing darts on a Monday it grew to Tuesday and Friday. My darts haven't improved but we play for the CRACK, the friendships remain firm year after year. the FAWN has a mixed age group and everyone respects each other, it's nice to see everyone enjoying each others company. ALES is the FAWN'S specialty,for which they have great selection of ,, my fav tipple is a bloody large G&T and J-BOMB chaser but i do have a chilled cider or 2 when the weather creates the thirst ,
i remember one monday evening when a young lady came into THE FAWN , there stood a little Harry Potter mini me , it wasn't long before this young lady became part of the furniture i couldn't pronounce her name as the BOMBAY SAFF ,was kicking in , so i just called her newbie , and her dart playing has come on in leaps and bounds and angie has saved £££'s in wood filler because of this.
A picture of Fawn regulars enjoying Pete's curry after a darts charity night, picture by Montserrat Filella.
Favourite Pint on Greenbank: A Bays Topsail in the Fawn
I’ve drunk on Greenbank for almost as long as I’ve lived in Plymouth. When I arrived in Plymouth for my doctorate in 2014, I moved into a 1-bedroom flat on Waterloo Street. After a week of loneliness, I decided that I would seek out a local pub on Friday evening. The first pub I encountered was the Fawn Social Club. As I didn’t know that this was a private member’s club, I was surprised that the door didn’t open and I knocked. I was let in somewhat reluctantly by the landlady, Ang, and with the warning that ‘you might find us a bit boring’. Suffice to say, it was a long night by the end of which, I had become part of the darts team. This was hardly because of my throwing ability, but because they needed another female team member. Little did I know that I would become part of a community that provides beer and entertainment, but also support, integration into the local community and a routine. It often surprises friends who don’t go to pubs or social clubs that someone like me, a student from far away, could be accepted into this community. I have found that as long as you are pleasant, this social club will welcome you.
During this period of self-isolation it feels very odd not to take part in Monday darts, Wednesday Euchre, Thursday ladies darts, Friday drinks, Sunday meat draw, and so on. The Monday darts have been particularly enjoyable as we play in a Greenbank league which has, over the years, included pubs on Greenbank (Seymour Arms, Plymouth Social Club, Clifton Inn) and further away (Fortescue, No 10 Club, Tradesman’s). Thankfully, the pub community is still going strong as the landlady keeps in touch with her customers and makes sure that everyone is well.
I knew I had found a place in the community when I celebrated my birthday in the pub about a year after joining the Fawn Social Club. Pete ‘the Heart’ brought in a cake he had baked and he had drawn on it… my face in coloured icing.
Favourite Pint on Greenbank: Thatchers Gold
I usually visit the Fawn Social Club to pick up my girlfriend after the Sunday meat draw. One time we went to the Fawn the 8am kick-off of the Rugby World Cup Final between England and South Africa in 2019. I was offered a bacon sarnie and encouraged a to get a pint; I settled a cup of tea because I had to go to work after. Some people at the bar were already a few drinks deep and shouting words of encouragement to England. As the game went on and England were clearly losing this encouragement turned to more expletives. Despite being urged to get a pint a few times, I managed to resist. After England losing and drinking a final cup of tea, I went to work and left people behind to continue their session. I am told that some only finished licking their wounds towards the evening.