All About 20th Century Pub

The cover of 20th Century Pub.

Our second book, 20th Century Pub, was published by Homewood Press in the summer/autumn of 2017. This page will tell you everything you need to know about it, and where you can get a copy for yourself.

Before the blurb, let’s have the nit­ty-grit­ty: you can buy the book, RRP £16.99, at…

  • Your local indie book­shop (they’ll order it if they don’t have it already)
  • Ama­zon UK (not dis­patch­ing until after 15.09.2017)
  • Beer Inn Print (spe­cialis­es in beer and pubs books)
  • Black­wells (and Hef­fer­’s)
  • Books About Beer (in part­ner­ship with the pub­lish­er; great page pre­views)
  • The Cam­paign for Real Ale (dis­count for mem­bers; sales sup­port the cam­paign)
  • Foyles (in some stores, appar­ent­ly; not online)
  • Stan­fords
  • Water­stones (some stores; not online)
  • And no doubt oth­er places too.

There are no plans for e‑book edi­tions at present or for a US edi­tion.

If you want a signed edi­tion get in touch via and we’ll prob­a­bly be able to sort you out at £15 a copy inc. P&P with­in the UK and c.£25 for dis­patch world­wide.

Chapter header.

The book tells the sto­ry of how the Eng­lish pub changed and evolved dur­ing the 20th cen­tu­ry and up to the present day. Where­as many books about pubs focus on the pret­ty, quaint or tra­di­tion­al ones we’ve almost bloody-mind­ed­ly cov­ered the less well-loved sub-types. That is, huge inter-war pubs; post-war estate pubs; Irish pubs; Wether­spoon-type chain pubs; and gas­trop­ubs. We’ve also giv­en over chap­ters to the pub dur­ing World War II, dur­ing the real ale rev­o­lu­tion, and in the recent ‘pow­er to the peo­ple’ phase of com­mu­ni­ty pubs and microp­ubs.

Like Brew Bri­tan­nia we set out to write some­thing rig­or­ous (lots of research and end­notes) but also engag­ing – we let our­selves show a bit more flair with the prose this time round, and there are bits that should prod at your emo­tions, or make you laugh. It’s about spaces, places, archi­tec­ture, soci­ety, peo­ple and cul­ture, and takes noth­ing for grant­ed.

And here’s a playlist to lis­ten to while you read.

Detail from a mock advertisement by Nick Tolson.

Reviews and com­ments so far:

John Cryne, Lon­don Drinker (PDF): ‘I found it a fas­ci­nat­ing and reward­ing read… Unless you are a seri­ous font of all knowl­edge, you will find much in it that you did not know and much that will be of inter­est and at times amuse­ment…’

Hen­ry Jef­freys, ‘Best Books on Drink of 2017’, Guardian: ‘…thor­ough­ly researched, ele­gant­ly writ­ten his­to­ry of the Eng­lish booz­er…’

Paul Jen­ningsBrew­ery His­to­ry Soci­ety: ‘…can cer­tain­ly be rec­om­mend­ed… infor­ma­tive, engag­ing and indeed enter­tain­ing…’

Alec Lath­am: ‘20th Cen­tu­ry Pub and their pre­vi­ous book Brew Bri­tan­nia! com­ple­ment each oth­er and are essen­tial for under­stand­ing British cul­ture into which the role of pubs is deeply sunk. If you want to bet­ter under­stand this coun­try, buy this book.’

Alan McLeodA Good Beer Blog: ‘I don’t like to come across as all fawn­ing… but I have a hard time find­ing any­thing oth­er to write oth­er than I think this is the best book about beer I have ever read.’

Ben McCormickCaught by the Riv­er: ‘…a gem of a book… The authors’ enthu­si­asm for their sub­ject mat­ter is evi­dent as they detail his­to­ry, cul­ture, social change, archi­tec­ture, atti­tude and anec­dote. And they back up their thor­ough aca­d­e­m­ic research with some clear­ly wel­come first-hand prac­ti­cal field trips to the hostel­ries that book­end each chap­ter.’

Munic­i­pal Dreams (no review online): ‘For any­one inter­est­ed in pubs, how they’ve evolved and how they fit into the broad­er social, eco­nom­ic and archi­tec­tur­al his­to­ry of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, this is a go-to… Boak and Bai­ley are enthu­si­asts but, as impor­tant­ly, they’re open-mind­ed, crit­i­cal and expert – and they’ve done an amaz­ing amount of research, all deployed in light, engag­ing style. A book to be tak­en seri­ous­ly and enjoyed.’

Roger Protz: ‘This is a scin­til­lat­ing read, well-informed, well-argued, painstak­ing­ly researched, illu­mi­nat­ing and inspir­ing.’

The Pub Cur­mud­geon: ‘It’s a thor­ough­ly-researched and intel­li­gent­ly writ­ten book that nev­er­the­less main­tains a light­ness of tone that pre­vents it becom­ing turgid even when the sub­ject-mat­ter is seri­ous. It’s a must-read for any­one with an inter­est in pubs beyond just drink­ing in them, and is one of those books that you will return to and re-read sec­tions again and again.’

Adri­an Tier­ney-JonesOrig­i­nal Grav­i­ty: ‘A valu­able, enter­tain­ing and anec­do­tal sur­vey of a British insti­tu­tion.’

Tim Thomas, West Berk­shire CAMRA (PDF): ‘The pair’s inim­itable and enter­tain­ing writ­ing style makes 20th Cen­tu­ry Pub an absorb­ing read.’