The Kitchener Arms
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway’s bar coach is named after Field Marshal and Chief of Staff in the first World War, Lord Kitchener, now probably best remembered for the famous recruiting poster ‘Your country needs you.’ Lord Kitchener was a relative of the Chevallier family who owned Aspall Hall and ran the well known cyder business. In 1902 building the Middy was well under way when it was discovered that the great man would be making a family visit. He was persuaded to become technically the first ever passenger on the new railway, but things did not run smoothly and the story has it that Kitchener was taken to Mendlesham to join the train which was actually waiting for him at Brockford. He was not amused.
However, the bar (a grounded G.E.R. 3rd class 6 compartment coach), named in the Field Marshall’s honour, is much more successful, providing a range of local real ales, Aspall’s cyder, of course, and a variety of wines, spirits, soft drinks and beverages. The Kitchener Arms has become so popular that during the summer months it is also open on Friday evenings for the benefit of the local Wetheringsett residents, who would otherwise have no pub of their own.