GALLERY: Modern Watney’s Pubs from Matchboxes

Detail of the Silver Sword.

These were carefully removed from matchboxes produced, we would guess, in about 1968, probably for sale in Watney’s pubs. (Any matchbox collectors who want to correct us, go for it.)

The Silver Sword, Coventry, which now looks like this.
The Silver Sword, Coventry, which now looks like this (Google Street View).
The Roebuck, Erdington, Birmingham, described in 2010 as 'like a wild west saloon'.
The Roebuck, Erdington, Birmingham, described in 2010 as ‘like a wild west saloon‘.

Pluto's Place, Leicester.
Pluto’s Place, Leicester. (Anyone know where it was? There’s a Pluto Close in Leicester which looks of about the same vintage.)
The Hen & Chickens, Aylesbury.
The Hen & Chickens, Aylesbury, apparently built in 1965 to replace an older building. No sign of the pub now, as far as we can see, but this is known as the Hen & Chickens roundabout.
The Halcyon, Peterborough.
The Halcyon, Peterborough, is still there but now as a ‘Hungry Horse’.
The Aquarius AKA the Bluebell, Chelmsley, Birmingham, which now looks like this.
The Aquarius AKA the Bluebell, Chelmsley, Birmingham, which in 2009 looked like this.

10 thoughts on “GALLERY: Modern Watney’s Pubs from Matchboxes”

  1. Ha, note misspelling of “Halcyon” 😉

    It’s strange how all these modern pubs that the brewers were so proud of are now seen as irredeemably naff. I wonder if in time they will come back into fashion as inter-wars pubs have done.

    This led me to think that, over the past 20 years, the attrition rate of pubs built after WW1 must be a lot higher than that for pubs built earlier.

    1. The problem with pubs like these (where they survive) is not that they were or are particularly naff, it’s that most have been turned into single room televised sports themed bars. On the very rare occasions when you come across one of these in a relatively unspoilt (!) condition, they’re often perfectly good multi-room pubs, albeit not for the beer enthusiast. Sadly most have either gone completely, are going, or have been ruined.

  2. I read somewhere once that buildings are most at risk (ie at their least popular) when they’re 75 years old, after which they start to become more appreciated.

  3. They put me in mind of a dreadful estate pub I was dragged to (kicking and screaming, probably) many years ago in Hinckley. The Flintlock, for that was its name, was a turd that could not be polished (nor rolled in glitter).

  4. If you want to see a collection of totally shite “modern” (ie post Second Wordl War) pubs, go to any New Town. I had the misfortune to grow up in Stevenage, where all the New Town pubs were terrible, but Harlow, Crawley, Hemel Hempstead, Hatfield and the rest were no better. Cetainly several of the Stevenage New Town estate pubs have closed, just 50-60 years after being built pretty much unmourned.

    1. Post second world war pubs fascinate us, not least the debates about when/where to build them and why so many have failed.

      Definitely something we’d like to research and document further. That new town pub crawl is calling…

      1. I did a blog post about estate pubs and the reasons for their decline here.

        I think the main factors are:

        (a) a misconception of how people actually use pubs, and
        (b) pubs are something that almost by definition aren’t suited to being “planned”

        Also, as Mark says above, it didn’t help transforming them into single-room bars dominated by TV sport, which limits the potential clientele.

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