Motel #1, 1953

This isn’t about pubs, or maybe it is: in June 1953 Britain gained its first American-style motel, The Royal Oak, at Newingreen outside Dover, Kent.

The Roy­al Oak was, as the name sug­gests, an old inn, appar­ent­ly estab­lished in 1560 and rebuilt in the 18th cen­tu­ry. It was around this core that the new motel was con­struct­ed by entre­pre­neur Gra­ham Lyon.

Lyon was born in Lon­don in 1889 and worked with ear­ly auto­mo­biles as a youth. In the 1920s he was a pio­neer of coach trips to the Con­ti­nent, dri­ving tourists around in a 10-seater Ford Mod­el T chara­banc. After World War II he entered the hotel busi­ness, start­ing with The White Cliffs in Dover. Some­thing of an Ameri­cophile, his deal­ings with Amer­i­cans dur­ing and after the war gave him the idea that Britain was defi­cient in hotels designed specif­i­cal­ly for motorists and so, in 1952, approach­ing pen­sion­able age, he set off to tour the US vis­it­ing more than 2,000 motels on an epic road-trip. He picked the brains of Amer­i­can mote­liers and came back ready to imple­ment his own take in the British mar­ket.

Aerial view of the Inn and Motel.

Each room in The Roy­al Oak motel had its own pri­vate garage and en suite bath­room. The larg­er suites had their own sit­ting rooms. For between 21s and 27s 6d per per­son (about £30 in today’s mon­ey) you got a Con­ti­nen­tal break­fast, a radio, a tea-mak­ing machine, tele­phone, a water dis­penser, and your car washed and valet­ed.

Sitting room at the motel.

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GALLERY: Malt, 1955–1969

The Other Fellow’s Job No. 10: The Maltster’ by Richard HiltonHouse of Whitbread, Spring 1955, with photographs by P.M. Goodchild.

In these mod­ern times, when machin­ery has large­ly replaced the hands of the crafts­man, one might think that the ingre­di­ents of beer are large­ly sub­ject­ed to numer­ous mechan­i­cal process­es in the course of their evo­lu­tion. And many of them are – but the malt­ing process is one that has stood the test of time, and remains the secret of the crafts­man who trans­forms the corns of bar­ley into that most valu­able ingre­di­ent of all – malt.”

A man with a specially designed wheelbarrow.
“C. McCabe car­ries the bar­ley in a spe­cial­ly designed malt bar­row.”

When a new load of bar­ley arrives at the malt­ings, the first men to han­dle it are the gra­nary hands. It is their job to dry the bar­ley to about 12 per cent of mois­ture so that it can be kept in bulk with­out dete­rio­r­i­a­tion; next, they clean and ‘screen’ it to extract the small or bro­ken grains… Typ­i­cal of the gra­nary hand at the Whit­bread malt­ings in East Dere­ham in Nor­folk is Chris McCabe. An Irish­man, 64-year-old McCabe start­ed with Whitbread’s eleven years ago, and takes great pride in his work.… Before he came to East Dere­ham he worked in large malt­ings in Ire­land.”

A man in flat cap and overalls.
“As fore­man of the East side of the Dere­ham malt­ings, Wal­ter Lam­bert has many respon­si­bil­i­ties. Here, he is adjust­ing the oil burn­er on one of the bar­ley kilns.”

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News, Nuggets & Longreads 30 December 2017: Helensburgh, Hammers, Home-brewing

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in this final week of 2017.

It’s been slim pick­ings with the Christ­mas break and the ubiq­ui­ty of Gold­en Pints (check out the hash­tag on Twit­ter) but we found a few things to chew on. First, there’s this stream of rec­ol­lec­tion by Peter McK­er­ry at Brew Geek­ery which amounts to a tour of pubs that have meant the most to him over the years:

Then it was the Clyde Bar in Helens­burgh, a well-healed town on the Clyde coast, dur­ing a pro­longed peri­od of unem­ploy­ment in my ear­ly 20s. I’d drop in for a few Tennent’s on ‘Giro Day’, and it was here that I wit­nessed taxi dri­ver and reg­u­lar, Der­mot, res­cue eight pence from the trough WHILE I WAS URINATING IN IT. While that event is imprint­ed onto my mind (it was a 5p, 2p and a 1p), it gives a false impres­sion of the pub. It was a great live music venue, and fea­tured in a video from pur­vey­ors of beige jock rock, Travis, if such triv­ia inter­ests you.

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British Beer Exports in Pictures

Ron Pattinson at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins has recently been mining data to tell the story of British beer exports in the 20th century. We thought we’d compliment that with some pictures from our collection of in-house magazines.

The pic­tures come from edi­tions of The Red Bar­relThe House of Whit­bread and Guin­ness Time, most­ly from the 1960s and 70s. (Yes, Guin­ness is Irish, but had it’s cor­po­rate HQ and a huge brew­ery in Lon­don from 1932.) It’s pret­ty well con­tent free but we have plans to write some­thing more sub­stan­tial about all this at some point in the future.

A Belgian pub.
Whitbread’s Tav­erne Nord, Boule­vard Adolphe Max, Brus­sels, c.1933.
A portrait of a man in an office.
C. De Keyser, Whitbread’s Bel­gian sales man­ag­er from 1937.

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Bits We Underlined In Whitbread Way No. 13, 1979

"Ideal Suit in Lager" -- a hand with playing cards depicting lager brands.
Detail from the cov­er of Whit­bread Way No. 13.

Whitbread Way was a magazine published by the mega-brewery for the education of its licensees. This issue from the summer of 1979 is all about lager and pub grub.

Actu­al­ly, we had to work out the date from var­i­ous clues – for some rea­son, it isn’t giv­en any­where in the pub­li­ca­tion – so don’t quote us on it. The mag­a­zine is glossy and pro­fes­sion­al look­ing, in that bor­ing trade-mag way.

It starts with a news round-up by Gra­ham Kemp which betrays some polit­i­cal bias in the wake of the elec­tion of Mar­garet Thatch­er as Prime Min­is­ter:

There is undoubt­ed­ly a groundswell of opin­ion towards a more prag­mat­ic, com­mer­cial approach to life in Britain… The mood of the coun­try over the past decade has been to go for the high­est pos­si­bly incomes with­out con­sid­er­ing where the mon­ey is to come from or what we have to earn nation­al­ly to sus­tain our present stan­dard of liv­ing.

What goes around comes around and all that. This state­ment comes in the con­text of pres­sure from the Price Com­mis­sion which want­ed to keep beer prices down to avoid con­sumer dis­con­tent. ‘Prices ought to go down even costs go up’, says Mr Kemp sar­cas­ti­cal­ly, odd­ly pre­sag­ing last week’s Cloud­wa­ter blog post. What goes around… Oh, we’ve done that one.

Three men raising pints over a video recorder.
Licensee William Gar­side of the Dog & Par­tridge, Ash­ton-under-Lyne, is pre­sent­ed with the Phillips N1700 video recorder he won in a mag­a­zine com­pe­ti­tion.

The first sub­stan­tial fea­ture, by John Fir­man, is fas­ci­nat­ing and if we’d got round to read­ing this ear­li­er might have informed our big piece on lager louts. It is enti­tled ‘Vio­lence – is it nec­es­sary?’ and con­cerns the stalling of what they refer to as the Ban the Thug Bill. It was pro­posed by Con­ser­v­a­tive MP Antho­ny Grant and was intend­ed to ban con­vict­ed ‘hooli­gans’ from enter­ing pubs for up to two years at a time. Vio­lence in pubs was felt to be on the rise and dam­ag­ing the trade, as sup­port­ed by quotes from inter­views with licensees. Again, the arti­cle is open­ly polit­i­cal: the last gov­ern­ment, Fir­man asserts, didn’t like to do any­thing and so blocked Grant’s bill, but he express­es a hope that the new Con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment might be more open to the idea. (They were; the bill passed in 1980.) It’s inter­est­ing with hind­sight that nowhere in this dis­cus­sion was lager men­tioned, but then…

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