BB: Outstanding Questions

The book is done and dusted but, for future blog posts and articles, we’d still like answers to the questions below, so do still get in touch if you can help..

  • We really, really want to find a copy of Nicholas (Nick) Redman’s 48 page booklet recounting the history of SIBA. We’re willing to pay, or to swap, e.g., some duplicate vintage copies of the Good Beer Guide we’ve collected. Got one!
  • Does anyone remember a pub called the Brahms & Liszt on East Parade in Leeds? It was owned, we understand, by a group of Leeds United players.  MYSTERY SOLVED!
  • Did you drink at the Barley Mow in St Albans from 1976-1980? Did you know John and Betty Blackwell? Are you a friend or relative of theirs? (We’ve spoken to local CAMRA members who know them, but more information would be great.)
  • We’d love to get in touch with any friends of relatives of Arthur Millard, first President of the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood. He lived in Surrey (Epsom), and had connections with Richmond. He worked at the Bank of England for almost forty years. We understand from his obituary that he had a daughter and grandchildren.
  • The other founders of the SPBW are a bit of a mystery. We have their names, but that’s all: Dougie Chamberlain, Boyes Lee, Gerry Smith, Penri Thomas, John Gore and John Keeble. (UPDATE 27/07/2013: We’re now in touch with John Keeble!) Any friends or relatives who might have stories or information to share, please get in touch.
  • Whatever became of Patrick Fitzpatrick who founded Godson’s brewery in East London (Clapton, then Bow) in 1977? Did you know him or anyone else involved with that brewery? MYSTERY SOLVED!
  • Is anyone in touch with Martin Sykes or Basil Savage of the Selby Brewery? UPDATE:  we’re now in contact with Martin Sykes.
  • Paul Leyton ran the Miner’s Arms in Priddy, where brewing began in 1973. We think Julian Leyton, who wrote an obituary in the Independent, is his son. Does anyone know or have contact details for Julian Leyton? We’re now in touch with Julian Leyton.
  • Did you drink at Becky’s Dive Bar in Southwark in the 1970s? Did you know Rebecca ‘Becky’ Willeter before or after her time at the Dive?
  • We’d love to track down Grant W. Corby who took the photos of Becky’s Dive Bar Brian Schwartz provided for our blog post. They’re fantastic pictures but we wouldn’t want to use them without his permission.
  • We’re interested in reading personal tasting notes for beers from Mash & Air (Manchester, 1996-2000), the Selby Brewery, the Litchborough Brewery, the Firkin chain, and any other significant breweries 1963-2013.
  • Do you have photos of the interiors of Firkin pubs from the 1980s, before they were sold to Allied? We’re especially interested in seeing pictures of the Goose & Firkin, Borough Road. We wouldn’t necessarily want to reproduce them, just to see them.

11 replies on “BB: Outstanding Questions”

Dear Boak and Bailey

I am writing in relation to Becky’s Dive bar. I had the pleasure? of visiting this legendary establishment twice during the mid 1970’s; once in the summer of 1974 and then again a year later. Both visits were quite memorable, shall we say!

I was only 19 at the time of my first visit (I’m 57 now, but we won’t go into that!), and can’t say for certain that Becky herself was behind the bar, but I’ve a strong feeling she was.

What I do have is a short (one page) article I wrote back in the 90’s, about the Dive Bar. It formed part of a series of articles I produced at the time which were going to form a book about ny early drinking experiences.

I would be more than happy to forward the article on to you, and for you to use it in your book. I can either copy and paste it into this comment box, or I can forward it to you as a Word Article, if you want to send me your e-mail address. Please let me know how you wish to proceed.

I have been enjoying your postings about the 70’s and the early days of CAMRA, especially as I have been a member of the campaign since 1974.

Best Wishes

Paul Bailey

Paul — we’ll email you! Suffice to say, we are *very* interested to talk to you about this and to read your article.

Martin — we can’t view that document, I’m afraid.

The book’s (almost) out now and Penrhos gets a good mention, not least because of its role in the re-introduction of porter. If there’s anything you’d like to share with us, we’d still be interested to see it for the purpose of follow-up blog posts. We’re if you want to email us.

I occasionally drank at Becky’s Dive Bar in the 70’s and have a vague recollection of her selling, besides the many beers, something called Scrumpy Wine – a lethally strong type of cider. I remember sitting on the cases of beer, and vividly remember the doubly subterranean Gents. I don’t remember ever eating a sandwich there, but I do remember the cat sitting on them. Which is probably why I never ate one.

You say “Paul Leyton ran the Miner’s Arms in Priddy, where brewing began in 1973. We think Julian Leyton, who wrote an obituary in the Independent, is his son. Does anyone know or have contact details for Julian Leyton?”

Well, the answer is ‘yes’. I am that Julian Leyton but not being particularly computer savvy I cannot see how to contact you.

If you’re still interested you can email me at:

I had a few Mash & Air beers at a dinner there from work. The only one I remember is the last, which was a (draught) abbey-style dubbel & came with big flakes of yeast bobbing about in it. It tasted half-cooked, basically – rich, complex & so on, but a bit too much going on & a definite sense that drinking it wasn’t going to be good for you.

(The dubbel wasn’t the only culprit, but I was sick that night. In fact I was sick in my sleep, & things could have gone quite badly if my wife hadn’t woken up, realised what was going on and got me out of the bed. And we’re still married, remarkably enough.)