Bits We Underlined in… Surrey Pubs, 1965

Months later than its companion pieces here are the highlights from Surrey Pubs by Richard Keeble, published in 1965.

This is weird: we thought we’d written about all of these Batsford guides but it turns out that, though we annotated the book with 800 Post It notes, and even wrote most of the post, we never actually published it. Perhaps Sussex Pubs confused us. Anyway, better late than never…

Beer from the WoodSeveral pubs are mentioned as serving beer from the wood, such as The Whyte Harte and Bletchingley, Ye Olde Six Bells at Horley, the Jolly Farmer at Horne and the Swan at Thames Ditton, which had the best of all: Bass from the wood.

Drummond Arms, Albury – Proto-craft-beer-bar: ‘There is a choice of forty-seven different bottled beers and there are some outstanding wines on the list.’ The draught beer list included Friary Meux ‘Treble Gold’, a pale ale that perhaps bolsters the argument for ‘golden ale’ having existed as a vague idea long before Exmoor and Hop Back crystallised and marketed the concept.

Plough Inn, Bletchingley‘The landlord here… is a qualified optician… [Ask him] to show your how to play “shutterbox”, a game he brought to this district.’ (Shut the Box?)

Red Lion, Bletchingley‘Their “chicken in the rough” is very popular – a leg or wing of chicken, crisp lettuce and tomato in an aluminium dish for 4s. 6d.’


Spotted Cow, Strood Green, Brockham – Crap theme pub alert! ‘A brand-new pub… The front of the bar counter in the saloon is decorated with genuine cow hide of Friesians, and similar hide is on the public bar floor.’ And a bizarre pub sign: ‘One one side is the American eagle and the Russian bear showing definite signs of frustration at the fact that it was the English cow which first jumped over the moon.’ And one final oddity offered without further explanation: ‘He is probably the only landlord who writes the dates when he cleans the beer pipes in Arabic on the side of them.’ This is James Bond in retirement, right?

Dog and Pheasant, Brook‘Above the bar are these well-chosen words: “Please do not sit at the bar, let the dog see the pheasant.”’ Sadly, bar-blocking is still an issue 50 years on.

Cricketers, Carshalton – Had a pinball table and jukebox for the teenagers.

Onslow Arms, Clandon‘[The Fourth Earl of Onslow] used to get somewhat cross with the “drunken louts” going noisily past his library, so he bought two pubs… He closed down the other and developed the Onslow to his liking.’ We’d like to know more about this.

Plough Inn, Coldharbour – Novelty toilet designations! ‘There is a ladies’ powder room and a gentlemen’s gun-room instead of the one much over-used word “gents”.’

White Hart, Dorking‘This is a pub without a cellar. The beer is stored in natural sandstone caves, so the draught beer is always cool and is pulled a long way through stainless steel pipes to get into your glass.’ The CAMRA WhatPub website informs us this is still the case.

Plough, Dormansland – ‘As the Plough has been owned by four different brewers – through mergers – in eight years, there is a good choice of bottled beers.’ The first time we’ve come across the claim that brewery mergers increased choice.

Illustration: Pub scene with low wooden beams and young customers.
One of Joan Charlton’s illustrations from the book — Ye Olde Six Bells, with beer from the wood.

Wheatsheaf, Ellens Green – Served ‘chicken portions… in “Henry VIII style”… from local chicken which until their sudden demises had run on open ranges’. Free range chicken in 1965! More evidence that everything started a bit earlier than you think it did, except Ancient Traditions, most of which were invented by marketing men in 1972.

Spring Hotel, Ewell‘As well as its excellent bitter, this house is well known for its large selection of wines by the glass… This is one of the few pubs that serves fresh fruit at its snack bar as matter of course. You can help yourself to as much as you can eat for 2s. 6d.’ The bitter was by Charrington and the author has kind words to say about their beer in a couple of places.

Hare and Hounds, Godstone‘The landlord used to be an undertaker… He is often to be seen in a butcher’s striped apron, wearing which he cooks succulent grills… Above the grill-bar is  a sign “Any complaints?” but as it is written on the butt of a shotgun, it is doubtful anyone has the courage!’ Yikes!

Jolly Farmer, Guildford – Spud-u-Like: ‘One of the specialities is stuffed baked potatoes which are available with such fillings as peanut butter and chopped ham, chopped cooked mushrooms, cream cheese and chopped onion, and others.’ Whoah, whoah, whoach — peanut butter? In a jacket potato? Dirty bastards.

Running Horse, Leatherhead‘Sandwiches include Canadian cheese soaked in ale’. Beery cheese. Yes.

Mint Arms, Lower Kingswood ‘If a mild game of golf is what is wanted, then it can be found here, for the pub has its own nine-hole putting green.’

Black Swan, Ockham‘Several scenes in comedy films have been made here because of its appearance of being a typical country pub… Shepperton Studios is not far away so it gets is fair share of film people as customers.’

Cricketer’s Arms, Ockley – ‘Bass, Whitbread Tankard, Simonds’ mild, Fremlin’s light mild… As well as the excellent draught beers, there is also redcurrant wine out of the keg…’

Prince Albert, Redhill – Had a cocktail bar for children in the garden: ‘the youthful drinker can order… such exotic fruit-juice cocktails as a “Dan Dare”’. (Dan Dare.)

Jolly Farmer, Runfold – Dangerous non-conformism: they called bread, cheese, salad and pickle ‘The Farmer’s Lunch’.

Donkey, Tilford ‘This is an absolute paradise for children. As well as a playground containing a chute, swing and roundabout, there are a donkey, monkey, squirrels, a mynah bird and many foreign birds… The present donkey drinks a pint of beer in the bar…’ Nowadays you’re not allowed to keep donkeys in pubs and make them drink beer — political correctness and health and safety gone mad or something.

Chequers, Walton-on-the Hill‘If you are a beer-drinker, you should try Young’s Special Bitter which is much to be recommended.’ The connoisseur’s choice.

Ye Olde Whyte Lion, Warlingham ‘The locals claim that this fifteenth-century pub has the best bitter in Surrey. The landlord if a little more modest but agrees it is a very fine bitter, probably because of the ancient cellars in which it is kept and the fact that a great deal of it is sold…’

Hand in Hand, Wimbledon Common‘The landlord calculated that he had served four tons of cheese in one year just before the war. He hasn’t kept count since…’ Cheese pub!

Star Hotel, Woking – ‘In the saloon lounge there is a pictorial juke-box. A different film is shown with each record played…’

11 thoughts on “Bits We Underlined in… Surrey Pubs, 1965”

  1. Maybe the wide choice of bottled beers in the Plough at Dormansland is due to slow turnover in the days before best before dates 😉

  2. Interesting stuff that makes a 1965 tour of Surrey pubs seem very attractive. Sadly, a number of the pubs you mention no longer exist, including the Spotted Cow, as illustrated. I’ve checked my own copy of the book, and see that the bitter in Ye Old Whyte Lion in Warlingham was Charrington’s. The various complimentary references don’t surprise me that much: before the brewery was closed in 1975, Charrington’s IPA was a very palatable drink – quite different from the replacement Cape Hill and Springfield-brewed versions.
    Although I tend to agree with you generally about the origins of “golden ale”, I missed drinking Friary Meux Treble Gold by a couple of years, so I can’t comment on its colour and flavour. Treble Gold came from the Meux side of the house: whether it was available on draught in Meux days, I don’t know. Andrew Campbell describes it as “a very good strong pale ale” and “sweeter than the usual run of these high-gravity pale ales, and again somewhat carbonated”. By the 1960s, the draught version of Treble Gold was described as “Best Bitter” on the pump clip.
    One typo, by the way: the Cricketers’ Arms was (and is) in Ockley, not Ockham.

  3. I thought the link was going to tell us how to make a Dan Dare, not explain who he was! But I guess we’re not all old farts reading this…

    Those baked potato fillings are quite something (and I’ll bet you half a crown the mushrooms were out of a tin). I wonder if ‘cream and onion’ is right – had nobody thought of souring it yet? And I’m definitely trying peanut butter & ham, once at least.

    As for free range poultry, I suspect that – like beer from the wood – was something that hadn’t quite gone out yet in 1965, not something that was coming back in.

    1. Blimey, we get away with nothing round here… ‘cream and onion’ was our typo — should be ‘cream cheese and onion’. Fixed now.

  4. The Black Swan (Mucky Duck) in Ockham used to be a top real ale pub. I haven’t been there n years but the last I heard was it’s gone all gastro. The inside of it was used as the Slaughtered Lamb for American Werewolf in London.

    The Star in Woking made it into my ‘Closed Pubs in Woking’ post, but now looks like it may be re-opening.

    Where was/is Jolly Farmer in Guildford? Not sure if they mean the one I’ve been to as I would say it’s Worplesdon.

    1. Ed — he says ‘Millbrook’, on the ‘Guildford-Horsham Coast road’, half a mile from Guildford station.

  5. Yes Olde Six Bells in Horley has gone full gastro with the food though you can still recognize the place from the drawing, I think.

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