Did you, your parents, or grandparents grow up or live on a housing estate in England? If so, we want your memories of its pubs — or lack of them.
The pubs on these estates tended to be huge, well-equipped, superficially resembling stately homes, and were often experimental: when it was first built, The Downham Tavern, for example, had no bars — only waiter service.
Here’s what used to be the Yew Tree, Wythenshawe, Manchester, built in the 1930s:
Realistically, to remember these pubs as they were before World War II, you’d have to be… what? More than 90-years-old? Still, we’ve got to ask. Alternatively, second-hand tales might still be useful, and any diaries, papers, photo or letters certainly would be.
And, slightly more realistically, recollections of these pubs in their later years, in the 1950s through to the 1980s, are also of great interest — how did the experiment work out?
Secondly, we’re also interested in post-war pubs — the kind built from the early 1950s until the 1970s, usually out of brick, often on the plain side, like this constructed by Truman’s in Bethnal Green, East London, next to the Victorian building it was to replace:
Pubs built in to tower blocks like those at Park Hill, Sheffield, are a particular blank for us at the moment. Was having a pub in your block convenient, or was going down in a lift to get a pint more trouble than it was worth?
We’re particularly interested in hearing from anyone who remembers drinking in these pubs when they were brand new, when the breweries that built them were full of pride and optimism.
If you feel inclined to help us out, please do ask your parents or grandparents — if nothing else, you might find their reminiscences interesting yourself.
But more recent memories are very welcome to — every email we get, even if it’s only two sentences long, helps us build a rounded picture.
In both cases, we are gently testing received wisdom which says estate pubs, almost by definition, are soulless, miserable and unpopular. Maybe what you tell us will prove that view right, or maybe it will help to challenge it. Either is helpful.
Or perhaps you recall moving to an estate with no pubs, as does this 2014 commenter on a blog post about slum clearance in West London:
When the time came we were offered a place in Lavender Hill. My mother was too ill to go with us, and when we got there my dad didn’t even bother to get off the bus. His only comment was “Not a pub for miles!”
Sometimes, the absence of a pub says a lot too.
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