News, Nuggets and Longreads 13 January 2018: Rawtenstall, Lincolnshire, Mars

Here’s everything that’s grabbed our attention in beer and pubs in the past week from jam sandwiches to Mars exploration, via a few rounds of India pale ale.

The ‘World Cup Of…’ has become a pop­u­lar Twit­ter meme, allow­ing users to vote for their favourite bis­cuit­s/­film­s/­sub-species in a series of rounds until only the best are left stand­ing. Now, south Lon­don relaxed-lifestyle blog Desert­er has used just such an exer­cise to iden­ti­fy the top ten pubs on its manor. You might not agree with the final round-up, espe­cial­ly if you know that part of the cap­i­tal well, but there’s no doubt­ing that it’s a handy starter set and plen­ty to keep any vis­i­tor busy for a long week­end.

Jam sandwiches.

Katie at The Snap and the Hiss has done some­thing we’ve always want­ed to and vis­it­ed Fitzpatrick’s Tem­per­ance Bar in Rawten­stall, Lan­cashire:

Mr Fitzpatrick’s OG mix­tures have been brewed since 1836 and as far as any­one is will­ing to reveal, the recipes haven’t changed since the fam­i­ly moved to Eng­land in 1899. The menu is exten­sive, with these fab­u­lous Fitz­patrick cor­dials at the cen­tre of it all.… I chose a cold fizzy Rhubarb and Rose­hip, which was unrea­son­ably deli­cious. Yes, it would be sen­sa­tion­al with a dash of vod­ka, but alone it was total­ly pass­able as a social drink. I also picked a Hot Tem­per­ance Tod­dy, which is Blood Ton­ic, lemon and hon­ey. I was imme­di­ate­ly cured of every ill­ness known to West­ern med­i­cine and could sud­den­ly sing in a per­fect sopra­no.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets and Lon­greads 13 Jan­u­ary 2018: Rawten­stall, Lin­colnshire, Mars”

Children in Pubs: Tangents

The debate about children in pubs (like sparklers, BrewDog, finings, &c.) only seems to get gristlier the more it’s chewed and so we’re staying out of it. Having said that…

When we thought aloud on Twit­ter last night sug­gest­ing there ought to be a guide to child-friend­ly pubs, we were react­ing specif­i­cal­ly to this Tweet…

We’ve seen vari­ants on this ques­tion a good few times over the years from peo­ple on hol­i­day in oth­er coun­tries, or oth­er parts of this coun­try. We’re not qual­i­fied to write a guide our­selves – we don’t have kids and, think­ing about it, most of our favourite pubs aren’t ter­ri­bly fam­i­ly friend­ly – but our gen­er­al obser­va­tion would be that small and/or his­toric pubs in city cen­tres are a dead loss; chains tend to be more child-friend­ly; and pubs in the coun­try or sub­urbs are usu­al­ly a good bet. So, in sum­ma­ry, if you’ve got kids, get on a bus, train or tram and ride a few stops.

* * *

There is also this bit of his­tor­i­cal info which we offer with per­haps a touch of mis­chief in mind: the idea that chil­dren shouldn’t be allowed in pubs only real­ly arose at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry and was cham­pi­oned by… tem­per­ance cam­paign­ers. The author G.K. Chester­ton wrote a series of snarky anti-tem­per­ance columns for the Illus­trat­ed Lon­don News in the Edwar­dian era; here’s a bit from 23 April 1910:

Take, for the sake of argu­ment, the clause recent­ly intro­duced by the Lords into the Children’s Act, by which no child is allowed into any inn or hostel­ry. I will not stop to argue about this; it is enough to say it was found­ed on the great pri­ma­ry tem­per­ance prin­ci­ple that every­thing about pub­lic-hous­es should be set­tled by the peo­ple who have nev­er been inside them. It thus involved the absurd notion… that a pub­lic-house is a pecu­liar­ly secret sort of pri­vate house where awful things occur of which no whis­per can reach the street. These peo­ple talk about a tav­ern as if it were some sort of sacred enclo­sure with­in which dev­ils were wor­shipped… It nev­er seems to occur to them that a pub­lic-house is very like a pub­lic street, because it is pub­lic. If an inn-par­lour is qui­et and kind­ly, it is because the vil­lage out­side is qui­et and kind­ly. If a pub­lic bar is squalid and noisy, it is because the street out­side is squalid and noisy…

He goes on to con­clude that if we stop chil­dren going into pubs, it’ll be book­shops next, then butch­ers’ shops, then the street, until we have them safe­ly locked up in the coal cel­lar. So, if you fear creep­ing pro­hi­bi­tion, it is your moral duty to lob­by for more kids in pubs.

PS. Tan­dle­man – ‘gawd bless ‘im’? – has a post prompt­ed by the same Twit­ter dis­cus­sion.

My great grandma and the temperance movement

Boak (the baby...) and her great granny, a few years back.
Boak (the baby) with grand­ma and great-grand­ma

My great-grand­ma was born in Step­ney in 1901. Sad­ly, I didn’t real­ly get to know her before she died, so this anec­dote comes via my mum.

Like oth­er chil­dren of that time and place*, my great-grand­ma was often dis­patched to the pub to get some beer for fam­i­ly mem­bers, in this case her grand­ma. How­ev­er, when she was around 10 or 12 (before the First World War, at least) she took ‘The Pledge’ and joined the tem­per­ance move­ment. There­after, she refused to get any beer ever again.

I don’t know why this sto­ry tick­les me – pos­si­bly the fact that some­thing so “Dick­en­sian” as kids fetch­ing alco­hol was actu­al­ly in liv­ing mem­o­ry until recent­ly, or pos­si­bly it’s the idea of pre-teens swear­ing to abstain from alco­hol. Or maybe it’s just the evi­dence of a con­trary stub­born streak that per­sists down the female line to this day…

I’d raise a glass to her, but she’d prob­a­bly turn in her grave.


*OK, I don’t have evi­dence that this was com­mon prac­tice, but Zythophile men­tions a sim­i­lar fam­i­ly sto­ry here, and here Ron has col­lect­ed extracts from Charles Booth’s inter­views in the 1890s with Lon­don pub­li­cans and brew­ers – which is an absolute­ly fas­ci­nat­ing read – which men­tions this on a num­ber of occa­sions.