News, Nuggets & Longreads Tipline

Psst! Whispering men.

We’ve been putting together regular weekly round-ups of links since January 2014 having done a one-off in November 2013 to prove the point that blogging was alive and well.

We’ve set­tled into a rou­tine now – each of us book­marks things through­out the week; we do a final scan of our Feed­ly feed, Twit­ter and the news on Sat­ur­day morn­ing; and write it up before break­fast. That’s great in terms of keep­ing it on track and on time but…

With rou­tine comes a rut and we are aware that we might be lean­ing on the same sources a bit much, fea­tur­ing the same names, lean­ing towards a cer­tain type of con­tent. Of course it’s always going to reflect our pref­er­ences and inter­ests but, still, we don’t want to miss essen­tial stuff, and some of the most inter­est­ing links in recent months have come from tips sent by read­ers and fel­low blog­gers.

So, we just want to make it clear that sug­ges­tions for things we ought to read and should con­sid­er fea­tur­ing here are always wel­come.

We’re espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in arti­cles and blog posts from beyond the beer world that we might not stum­ble across our­selves – pieces writ­ten by his­to­ri­ans, sci­en­tists, cul­tur­al crit­ics, local jour­nal­ists, come­di­ans and colum­nists who might only men­tion beer or pubs once a year but, when they do, do it well.

Local intel­li­gence – inter­est­ing new bars, pubs and brew­eries – and even straight-up gos­sip are also inter­est­ing and use­ful.

Just Tweet or direct mes­sage us @boakandbailey or send us an email: contact@boakandbailey.com

HELP: Real Ale Pubs of the 1970s

For our current Big Project we’re trying to get in touch with people who remember drinking in real ale pubs of the 1970s.

We’ll unpack that term a bit: before about 1975, there were pubs that sold cask-con­di­tioned beer, AKA ‘tra­di­tion­al draught’, but it was usu­al­ly what­ev­er was local and the choice might con­sist of one, two or three dif­fer­ent beers.

After CAMRA got every­one stirred up some pubs began to tai­lor their offer to appeal to Cam­paign mem­bers by offer­ing four, six, eight, or even eigh­teen dif­fer­ent beers from the far ends of the coun­try.

If you read Brew Bri­tan­nia you’ll remem­ber that we cov­ered all of this in Chap­ter Five, ‘More an Exhi­bi­tion Than a Pub’, but now we’d like some fresh tes­ti­mo­ny for a dif­fer­ent take.

The Hole in the Wall in 1981.
Detail from ‘Hole in the wall at Water­loo 1981’ by Tim@SW008 from Flickr under Cre­ative Com­mons.

What were these pubs like to drink in? If you were used to mild and bit­ter from the local brew­ery in your home town how did it feel to sud­den­ly see beers from sev­er­al coun­ties away?

If you worked in or owned one of these pubs, what was that like, and were you aware of being part of what the press called ‘the real ale craze’?

Based on scour­ing old edi­tions of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide here’s a list which might help jog mem­o­ries:

  • The Angle­sea Arms, South Kens­ing­ton, Lon­don
  • The Bar­ley Mow, St Albans (cov­ered at length in Brew Bri­tan­nia)
  • The Bat & Ball, Farn­ham, Sur­rey
  • The Brahms & Liszt, Leeds (dit­to)
  • The Brick­lay­ers, City of Lon­don
  • The Duck, Hagley Road, Birm­ing­ham
  • The Hole in the Wall, Water­loo, Lon­don
  • The Naval Vol­un­teer, Bris­tol
  • The Sun, Blooms­bury, Lon­don (now The Per­se­ver­ance)
  • The Vic­to­ria Bar, Maryle­bone Sta­tion, Lon­don
  • The Vic­to­ry, Water­loo Sta­tion, Lon­don
  • The White Horse, Hert­ford

But oth­er nom­i­na­tions are wel­come, as long as they’re from this ear­ly phase, from 1975 up until about 1980–81.

Please do share this with any pals you think might be able to help, on Face­book or wher­ev­er.

If you’ve got sto­ries or mem­o­ries to share com­ment below if you like but email is prob­a­bly best: contact@boakandbailey.com

HELP: Wetherspoon’s, Manchester, August 1995

Stained glass window.
Stained glass at the Moon Under Water, tak­en on our vis­it in Feb­ru­ary 2016.

This is very specific: we want to talk to anyone who recalls attending the opening of The Moon Under Water on Deansgate, Manchester, on 15 August 1995.

We’ve heard from peo­ple who went not long after – mem­o­ries of man­nequins in the for­mer cin­e­ma stalls, and awe at the sheer size of the place – but no-one seems to remem­ber day one.

There must have been a rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mo­ny – Eddie Ger­shon, who does PR for Wether­spoon’s, reck­ons it was cov­ered in the Man­ches­ter Evening News though he does­n’t have any clip­pings or pho­tos.

If you were there, get in touch. If you have a vague mem­o­ry of your mate hav­ing gone along, or your cousin work­ing behind the bar, give ’em a nudge. We’re contact@boakandbailey.com and any mem­o­ry, how­ev­er small or appar­ent­ly insignif­i­cant, might be just what we need.

Also feel free to share on Face­book or wher­ev­er else you fan­cy.

HELP US: Pubs on Housing Estates in England

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.

First, we’re inter­est­ed in the peri­od between the wars when big estates first start­ed to be planned and built around the coun­try, like at Down­ham in South East Lon­don, or Quar­ry Hill in Leeds.

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:

Restaurant with cars parked outside.

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?

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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:

New pubs next to old pub.
SOURCE: The Black Eagle, Win­ter 1968, pho­tog­ra­ph­er uncred­it­ed.

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?

Pub at Park Hil, Sheffield, 1961.
SOURCE: Sheffield City Coun­cil, via York­shire Screen Archive.

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.

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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.

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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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Com­ments are great but emails are bet­ter: contact@boakandbailey.com

HELP US: Gastropubs in the 1990s

Did you drink, eat, work at or run a gastropub between 1990–1998? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

We’re espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in diary entries, let­ters, arti­cles, emails or oth­er records you might have made at the time – noth­ing is too scrap­py or too minor.

But mem­o­ries are help­ful too.

We’ve got lots of facts, dates and fig­ures: what we want to know is, how did these places feel?

Like jour­nal­ist Kathryn Flett, a great cham­pi­on of gas­trop­ubs in the 1990s, did you appre­ci­ate their un-blokey atmos­phere and rus­tic chic? Did you wel­come the oppor­tu­ni­ty to enjoy good food with­out hav­ing to dress, mind your table man­ners and take out a small bank loan?

Or per­haps you’re with Patrick Harve­son who, in 1995, wrote an arti­cle in the Times call­ing for The Cam­paign for Real Pubs. Did your local became some­where you no longer felt you could pop in for a pint? Maybe you saw the very idea of the gas­trop­ub as dan­ger­ous – a threat to the very idea of what pubs are meant to be.

The Eagle in Clerken­well, Lon­don, gen­er­al­ly giv­en cred­it as the orig­i­nal gas­trop­ub after its 1991 rein­ven­tion, is one we’re par­tic­u­lar­ly focus­ing on but we’d be hap­py to hear about any oth­ers you think are notable or inter­est­ing.

You can com­ment below but it’d be much more use­ful if you could email us via contact@boakandbailey.com.

Thanks!

Main image adapt­ed from ‘Eagle, Clerken­well, EC1’ by Ewan Munro (Pubology.co.uk) via Flickr under Cre­ative Com­mons.