In the post-war period, up until the 1960s, around 4,000 brand new pubs were built. Among them was The Deerstalker on Nottingham’s Bestwood Park Estate.
The name is a clue to the brewery which built it – Mitchells & Butlers, whose trademark was the ‘Deers Leap’.
We came across the pictures below in the January-February 1957 edition of the M&B in-house magazine, also called The Deerstalker:
“The Deerstalker is one of a number of new houses that the company are opening on new housing estates all over the Midlands. It may not be the largest or most magnificent of our houses, but, as you will see from our illustrations, its snappy contemporary decor will provide a cheery local for those inhabitants of the Bestwood Park Estate who are sufficiently enlightened to appreciate the fact that they will be better off with an M&B.”
The Deerstalker, January-February 1957, pp.10-11
This pub was a long time in gestation, a licence being first applied for in 1950. That application was withdrawn when it became clear that post-war building restrictions would make construction impossible for some years to come. (Nottingham Evening Post, 31 March 1950; Nottingham Journal, 1 April 1950.) It seems to have been opened in around 1956.
Let’s have a look at that “snappy decor”.
Apart from the general sense of pristine mid-century modernity, there are a few things that catch the eye.
The clocks with their brushed metal faces. Those, we guess, formica-topped tables. And that absolutely fantastic wallpaper in the saloon. Here’s a sample, perspective corrected and tinted a vaguely appropriate colour for the period.
It looks as if was designed specifically with pubs and bars in mind, perhaps even commissioned by M&B for their own houses.
What happened next? Sigh. We’ve told this sad story so many times now. In 1957, a modern pub, clean and fresh, tastefully decorated in the latest style; by the early 1980s, as recounted by former landlady Caron Wiles at closedpubs.co.uk:
“My husband Adrian and myself were the landlord and landlady at this pub in the early 80’s. There was entertainment 7 nights per week and we reduced it to 6 nights. Singers, comedians and discos all performed there. It was very busy and we made some good friends. We had a very loyal staff who remained with us throughout our tenure. There were also some very frightening occasions when the customers rioted and smashed tables & chairs and all the optics and bottles on the back of the bar, all the staff had to squeeze into the tiny office for safety until the police arrived to calm things down.”
It was renamed The Sportsman in 1993 and ceased trading as a pub at some point. It is now a convenience store but still recognisable.