We have been the present guardians of the Cricket Inn for nearly a decade now, it just made sense that Jim & Simon from the iconic, award-winning craft brewers at Thornbridge should team up with Sheffield cook Richard Smith and his restaurateur wife Victoria to realize a dream of creating that most quintessential of English things - a great pub. So with years of very diverse pub experience, we set about transforming the Cricket into what we believed it should be - a place of great inn-keeping traditions - a good welcome, warm, cosy, offering friendly service, a great pint, delicious wines, food of great taste, flavour & generosity, but most important of all making sure our guests leave happy, content and already waiting to return to us for a lovely and charming time.
Richard Smith has worked in kitchens in London, Wales, Jersey, the Peak District, Henley on Thames and Virginia, America - never shy of travelling to broaden his knowledge, with a huge diversity in the type of restaurants he worked in, including great dining pubs, decadent country house hotels, multi-million pound resorts and village cafés. This broad range of experience gave Richard a unique insight into the hospitality industry, learning about every section and role within a kitchen, but also the importance of sourcing artisan suppliers with a passion for quality and value.
After returning home from the acclaimed Keswick Estate in Virginia, Richard has spent the last twenty years building a diverse restaurant group, starting out behind the stove, and now being in the position of advising and developing the business.
Thornbridge beers were first brewed in early 2005 after the establishment of a 10 barrel brewery in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall.
The initial focus was on a range of cask beers that used traditional recipes but provided a modern twist through the use of a wide range of hops, malts and the innovation and passion of the brewing team. After winning a succession of awards (now over 350 national and international awards) a new, state of the art, brewery and bottling line was opened at Bakewell in September 2009 to meet with demand and increase the range of beers.
From the beginning Thornbridge knew that excellence and quality of process and product would be paramount to success and delighting drinkers. The adoption of the Innovation, Passion and Knowledge strap line for the brewery was a statement of the brewery’s culture about how they would approach their day to day business.
There’s no doubt that the Cricket Inn has an exceptional location, incredible warmth and a unique character - in fact it’s attributes are really quite endless. So with the food we decided to create something that everyone could really enjoy based on generous portions, local and seasonal ingredients and totally traceable products from brilliant suppliers.
The food of a great inn must offer a good choice of dishes, from the simple and hearty to the rich and refined, but above all it must be flavoursome, gutsy and tasty. We offer a full repertoire from our house menu including our own smoked delicacies, fantastic starters and stunning sharing boards, with daily changing blackboards for our seasonal specialities, as well as our pub classics and big hearty roasts, (not forgetting some really decadent puddings). Our food ethos is to try and offer something to our guests whatever they fancy at that given moment - for us a great menu is one with dishes that reflects what our guests love to eat and our chefs enjoy cooking.
The real key to delivering everything that we believe in is by creating fantastic working relationships with our suppliers, through constant communication, checking of standards and a commitment to consistency from them as well as ourselves - these aspects are all vital in maintaining these key relationships. Obviously we have some amazing tried and tested suppliers but it would be remiss and lazy of us not to continue to find and source more great purveyors of great Artisan products whether it be for our butchers meats, game, fish, shellfish, cheeses, craft ales, wines, fruit, vegetables or the whole spectrum of ingredients required to deliver on our ethos at the Cricket Inn.
If we do not insist on the best and the finest for our guests then actually it becomes very difficult to maintain the quality we constantly demand on a daily basis from our team of chefs and cooks to create the regions finest food. So our guests and staff alike can be assured that at all times we source, demand, prepare, cook and serve the very best of ingredients, all the time.
That is simply why we are probably the busiest and best inn within the Derbyshire & Yorkshire area.
History of The Cricket Inn
History of The Cricket Inn
The Cricket Inn has been many things during its lifetime however it originally start out as a farm house in 1865where is was owned by a W. Green.
During its farmhouse days the Cricket Inn saw the construction of the Totley Tunnel, this was part of a project that linked Sheffield and Manchester by rail. The tunnel was completed in 1893 however it had not been an easy build! According to one newspaper the tunnel workers were in possession of “the miraculous power of Moses, for whenever a rock was struck, water sprang out of it.” It was reported that at least 26,000 gallons were pumped away by the hour during the work in 1889. The owner of the Cricket Inn, John Aston, must have thought the workers needed a refreshing alcoholic drink after all that work (and actual water tipping down on them!) as the farmhouse was turned into a licensed public house in 1889.
Whilst the workers and their families were extremely appreciative of the beer and warmth the pub had to offer they couldn’t escape the conditions of the tunnel and the disease and dangers that were a constant presence! Reports of trench foot, small pox and typhoid were a constant in the village and surrounding area. So much so that the Cricket Inn itself was turned into a mortuary. They were laid out in the room where the smoker is now placed, so please don’t be scared if something falls off the table “by accident”.
After the completion of the tunnel it was supposedly the 2nd longest tunnel in the UK at the time, the first passenger train went through in 1894.
Since the completion of the tunnel the Cricket Inn has had many different owners, including our very own Richard Smith’s relation (his grandfather’s cousin) When Richard and Thornbridge took over the pub it felt like 1889 all over again! The week we moved in the great floods of Sheffield started! (The period where the UK 8 years ago looked more like Atlantis than the rolling hills and countryside we are so used to!)
However we powered on through, pumped out the water and set up the beer pumps and now the pub looks better than ever even if we do say so ourselves!