Saddleworth Pub Carpets, 1966

Graham Turner’s fascinating 1967 book The North Country paints portraits of towns and cities from Wigan to Durham, often stopping off in pubs and clubs on the way.

You might remem­ber us quot­ing from it before, on the sub­ject of Pak­istani migrants attempt­ing to inte­grate into pub life in Brad­ford in the 1960s.

The rather less polit­i­cal­ly charged extract below, from a chap­ter called ‘Over the Top’ about Sad­dle­worth Moor, grabbed our atten­tion for a cou­ple of rea­sons.

No group of peo­ple in the val­ley are in more demand than the mem­bers of the Boarshurst Sil­ver Band. George Gib­son, a large, enor­mous­ly jovial man with a great red face who plays the ‘bas­so pro­fun­do’ and also teach­es brass in the local schools, reck­ons to be out either play­ing or teach­ing ‘very near every night’… [He] said over a pint at the King William [that] find­ing play­ers was not any par­tic­u­lar prob­lem – “you find me twen­ty-four instru­ments and I’ll find you twen­ty-four kids”. The King William, inci­den­tal­ly, is one of the pubs in Sad­dle­worth which has treat­ed itself to wall-to-wall car­pet­ing, an extrav­a­gance which [local char­ac­ter] John Ken­wor­thy thinks has changed them from forums of dis­cus­sion into mere drink­ing places. At one end of the bar were a group of the men we had been drink­ing with the night before at the Gentleman’s [Club], now deeply engrossed in a catholic selec­tion of rac­ing papers. At the oth­er were half a dozen men in over­alls.

So:

  1. Car­pets were seen as tak­ing pubs downmar­ket, some­how? Mak­ing them more friv­o­lous?
  2. A reminder that pub car­pets aren’t a great old tra­di­tion – they’re a rel­a­tive­ly new devel­op­ment.
  3. And, car­pets aside, a reminder of how class seg­re­ga­tion can hap­pen even with­out phys­i­cal bound­aries.

In case you’re won­der­ing, by the way, the William IV is still there, and still trad­ing as a pub.

Tetley’s Post War ‘Estate’ Pubs in The North

We’ve just acquired a couple of editions of Tetley’s in-house magazine from the 1960s and thought we’d share some pictures of the then state-of-the-art modern pubs featured.

We usu­al­ly scan these things and effec­tive­ly thrown them away on Twit­ter but thought that we ought to put them some­where a bit more per­ma­nent in case they’re inter­est­ing or use­ful for oth­er researchers, or just for the enjoy­ment of peo­ple who might recall the pubs in ques­tion as they were in their hey­day.

The first batch of pho­tos are from The Hunts­man for Autumn 1964. This pic­ture is on the front cov­er:

The Cup & Ring (exterior).

Explana­to­ry text inside says: ‘The Cup & Ring, the new opened Tet­ley house on the edge of the moors by Bail­don. It is almost cer­tain­ly the only pub­lic house in the coun­try with this name – tak­en from the cup and ring mark­ings carved by Ear­ly Bronze Age peo­ple on cer­tain stones of Bail­don Moor.’ Today the pub is – obvi­ous­ly, of course, it goes with­out say­ing – gone.

The Earl Francis, Park Hill, Sheffield -- exterior.

Next up is The Earl Fran­cis at Park Hill in Sheffield of which the mag­a­zine says:

[The] third Tet­ley ‘pub’ in the vast com­pre­hen­sive area of Cor­po­ra­tion flats which will ulti­mate­ly house 10,000 peo­ple, was named as a reminder of the local his­tor­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion with the Shrews­bury fam­i­ly… The first two of these three Tet­ley hous­es were each an inte­gral part of the ground floor of the block of flats in which they were sit­u­at­ed. The Earl Fran­cis dif­fers in that it is a sep­a­rate build­ing. To ensure har­mo­ny with its back­ground of flats the shell was built by the Cor­po­ra­tion; but the main entrance and canopy, the inter­nal plan­ning and struc­ture, and all fix­tures and fit­tings were dealt with by The Com­pa­ny.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Tetley’s Post War ‘Estate’ Pubs in The North”

Why No Northern Pub Guides?

We’re trying hard not to be unfairly London-centric with our latest Big Project but it’s really quite difficult.

We’ve got 20th Cen­tu­ry Lon­don pub guides com­ing out of our lug­holes (see above) and even its com­muter zone is quite well cov­ered:

Home Counties pub guides, 1960s.

But when it comes to the North, we’re all but stumped. There’s one bona fide clas­sic

Mass Observation: The Pub and The People.

…but, oth­er­wise, it’s a mat­ter of scrab­bling for scraps, like the chap­ters on work­ing men’s clubs and immi­gra­tion in Gra­ham Turner’s The North Coun­try, or the odd chap­ter in more gen­er­al books about The Inns of Old Eng­land.

All this only goes to high­light one of the Cam­paign for Real Ale’s many con­tri­bu­tions to beer cul­ture in Britain since the 1970s: tru­ly local guide­books.

CAMRA local guide books 1990s-2000s.

Although even those tend to be sad­ly light on prose and the old­est and most inter­est­ing ones are extreme­ly hard to get hold of.

So, that’s most­ly a moan, but if you do hap­pen to know of a Man­cun­ian, Liv­er­pudlian, Leo­den­sian or Geordie equiv­a­lent of, say, Alan Reeve-Jones’s 1962 clas­sic Lon­don Pubs then do let us know. Oth­er­wise, we’ll keep nos­ing around for crumbs.

Pakistanis in the Pub, Bradford, c.1965

We came across the passage below in Graham Turner’s 1967 book The North Country a few months ago and have been sitting on it because, frankly, race and immigration tend to be rather toxic topics.

The North Country, Graham Turner, 1967.It comes as part of a chap­ter called ‘The Bur­ma Road’ about immi­grants to Brad­ford. The author (who is still about, by the way) was aim­ing for some­thing like objec­tiv­i­ty, let­ting peo­ple tell the sto­ry in their own words, although by mod­ern stan­dards the locals seem to come off poor­ly, exploit­ing migrants by rent­ing them prop­er­ty, for exam­ple, while moan­ing about them behind their backs. He might nowa­days at his own choice of words in places, too – ‘benight­ed’!

Any­way, the sec­tion below struck us as inter­est­ing in the con­text of the argu­ment put for­ward by some com­men­ta­tors that pubs have suf­fered in cer­tain towns and cities whose pop­u­la­tions include a sub­stan­tial num­ber of Mus­lims:

It was almost lunchtime and the pubs looked invit­ing. In one of them, the man behind the bar had a broad Lan­cashire accent, but the warm, dusty inte­ri­or felt like part of the one of those benight­ed trop­i­cal places which Gra­ham Greene evokes so well, where on the priest and pub­li­can are white. The pub­li­can here was serv­ing a group of Pak­ista­nis and all the faces in the ‘best’ room were dark.

We’ve been here two years now,’ he said, ‘and it’s begin­ning to dri­ve the wife crack­ers. Wednes­day after­noon, she had a drink, there were so many Pak­ista­nis in here by ten she start­ed cry­ing. At two in the morn­ing I was still try­ing to com­fort her. This last month, at least nine­ty per cent of my cus­tomers have been Paks. I’ve about six whites apart from the girls, you get them of course. The whites have just drift­ed away. When we came, there’d be twen­ty or so.’

Now, that sounds to us like evi­dence that peo­ple from (prob­a­bly) Mus­lim back­grounds (clear­ly not espe­cial­ly reli­gious in prac­tice) did attempt to make the pub part of their lives – they attempt­ed to ‘inte­grate’ in the lan­guage of this par­tic­u­lar debate – but were made to feel unwel­come.

It’d cer­tain­ly be inter­est­ing to talk to some of those Pak­istani pub-goers today, or to their chil­dren and grand-chil­dren.

Main image: ‘Lumb Lane’ from ‘Chang­ing Brad­ford’, 1969, via Brad­ford Time­line on Flickr.