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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

#068 The Ruin, Floodgate Street, Digbeth : 1998 to 2018 (Revisited)

When I first went around Digbeth and its environs in 1998 I came across many back-street boozers that I'd been completely unaware of previously. Horan's Tavern was one such boozer. This is how it looked in 1998.

When I returned in 2011 it was obvious that it had changed hands, changed name and then closed down.
Shortly after this photo I was passing by again and noticed that it had reopened and then closed down yet again...but I didn't have my camera. By this time I was convinced that it would never re-open, again.

There's one thing this blog is good at demonstrating, though...that I'm no Mystic Meg! 

I'd noticed that it had indeed re-opened a few months ago as I was passing by on other business (no camera!) and was reminded of this in an excellent write up by Ian Clarkson on his Life After Football blog. (Well worth a read!) So I finally got off my backside to bring you this...The Ruin.
The only reasons that I can think that it may well be viable are firstly, Digbeth is still a 'happening' place especially close to the Custard Factory and secondly, South & City College have opened a new campus almost next door to the pub which must be a benefit. Hopefully, it will continue to thrive.

More pictures can be seen on the Closed Pubs website.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

#241 Hopwood House, Alvechurch, Worcestershire : 1999 to 2017

The first time we stopped at Hopwood House was way back on Monday 27th August 1984 for a lunchtime visit, but back in those days I hadn't started to take a picture of every pub we visited.

Despite the fact that Hopwood House is a perfectly located pub on the bank of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, just outside Alvechurch (and on the busy A441) we didn't return for 15 years!
This photo was taken from the other side of the busy road on the bridge over the canal on the evening of Saturday 29th May 1999. These days we'd try to find a place with a few pubs in the evening, but as this was the first day of our holiday (we were a bit late setting off) and would probably not have found anywhere else if we'd pushed on.

As I recall, it was a fairly large pub with a traditional bar and a larger eating area. Always a popular stopping point for hire boaters as it is the first pub after leaving Alvechurh Boats heading to Birmingham.

It wasn't too long before we returned.
This was another evening stop on Saturday 10th August 2002. This time I went to the other side of the canal to get the shot and also to get an idea of the arduous walk from our mooring to the pub!

This journey was part of a boat painting week during which we did a bit of painting, a bit of pottering about along the canal and a bit of drinking...not necessarily in that order.

Although we've passed by quite a few times in the intervening years it took us another 15 years before we revisited Hopwood House.

This was at lunchtime on Monday 14th August 2017 and I decided to take photos from both sides of the pub. The top one is the view from the mooring like we had in 2002 and the other is from the car park.

It is now a Marston's pub and, whilst the interior has been opened out it still feels almost like a pub with two rooms.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

#040 Eagle & Ball, Eastside, Birmingham : 1998 to 2018 (Revisited)

Back in 2011 when I started this blog I had two sets of pictures that I wanted to show to a wider world. Firstly was my collection of canal-related pubs that we'd visited on our various waterways holidays throughout the years from 1986 onwards.

Secondly, in 1998, I'd gone around Digbeth/Deritend/Highgate taking pictures of as many pubs as I could find with a view to going back in five years to see how things had changed with the forthcoming 'Eastside' developments proposed at that time.

Well, five years stretched into thirteen and I finally revisited them all in 2011 and recorded the changes here on this blog. Now we've moved another 6/7 years into the future to find that some developments are almost complete and others are in the pipeline, so now seemed an appropriate time to revisit this part of Birmingham.

But, where to start.....?

I decided to begin with a pub that I didn't know existed until I took the picture in 1998 and one of Retired Martin's favourite Birmingham boozers! Although, back then, it was called Moby Dick's and these were my observations back in 2011.

Back in 1998 Moby Dick's was a completely new discovery for me down a side street I'd never been on before.
Moby Dick's
A typical street corner pub, similar to several others in the area. Needless to say, I never made it back there for a drink.

Onwards to 2011 and it is closed, boarded up and, by all accounts, ready for demolition to make way for the Eastside Locks Development. This is a new concept to me, it looks very good on paper, but whether there will ever be the money to complete the project is doubtful in this economic climate.
Moby Dick's 2011 (RIP?)
Oh well, what do I know about the 'economic climate'? Very little as it turns out! What I'd failed to realise was that a major part of this redevelopment was to build a brand new campus for Birmingham City University and that Moby Dick's would become the Eagle & Ball which is, essentially, the student union bar, although it is still a pub open to all (when it is actually open!)
So, now it nestles amongst the ultra modern buildings of BCU and it has reverted back to its original name.
(...and I've still not been inside!)  

Friday, 12 January 2018

#240 The Anchor Inn, Cross Green, Staffordshire : 1991 to 2017

For our first visit this pub was known as The Anchor, Inn then it became the Fox & Anchor (when it became a Vintage Inn) but, as I recently discovered, it has now reverted back to being The Anchor Inn.

There also seems to be some controversy over its location - our canal books have always placed the Fox & Anchor in the village of Coven, but a couple of years ago we were 'put right' by a local who said that it is actually in Cross Green. (Search on Google and it appears to be an even split between the two!)

Our first visit was at lunchtime on Monday 29th September 1991 as we were moving our boat Emma Jane from the North to down South.

I have absolutely no recollection of the inside.

We didn't revisit until lunchtime on Tuesday 26th August 2003, by which time it had been converted into a Vintage Inn and renamed as the Fox & Anchor.

Obviously it had undergone a thorough redevelopment in the intervening years and inside it was a typical Vintage Inn.

Quite a number of years passed before we stopped there again on the evening of Monday 31st May 2010.
Although it was still a Vintage Inn, it had undergone a redecoration and refurbishment inside, but it was still recognisably a Vintage Inn.

We were back again the next year at lunchtime on Monday 5th September 2011. No real change.
It was a few more years bfore we returned in the new boat Peggy Ellen, another lunchtime stop on Thursday 11th June 2015.
With Peggy Ellen being moored at Kings Bromley, the Fox & Anchor has become a more frequent stopping place especially as it is one of the few food based pubs along that stretch of the Staffs & Worcester Canal.

We made two visits in 2016 - first at lunchtime on Thursday 9th June 2016.
Our second visit was an evening stop on Saturday 6th August 2016.

This second picture was taken the next morning.

Our final visit (so far) was on the evening of Sunday 6th August 2017...and again we got a mooring right outside!
I've also given this photo the Photo Digial Art treatment!
I look forward to revisiting and seeing whether there has been much of a refurbishment inside to go along with the name change.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

#239 The Station Hotel, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire : 1997 to 2017 RIP

This is a sad tale that begins in the days following the death of Princess Diana. We were in Nottingham on that fateful night and our journey back to Lapworth took us through Burton-upon-Trent where one of our crew was departing us on the train. So, naturally, we popped into The Station Hotel for a drink.
This was at lunchtime on Monday 1st September 1997 and I have no recollection of the inside whatsoever!

The next time we were passing was a good number of years later and this is the sight that presented itself to us.
This was on the evening of Good Friday 3rd April 2015 and The Station Hotel was no more.

And, just to confirm that it was permanently gone here is the most up-to-date picture I have.
This was on the evening of Sunday 16th April 2017 on our way to finally discovering the Cooper's Tavern after years of not really knowing where it was! The Station Hotel is definitely no more having been converted into flats. (According to the Closed Pubs website, "This pub was originally owned by Salts Brewery until they were taken over by Bass, it then swapped to Ind Coope in 1978. It was converted into flats in 2009"

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

#238 Salopian Star, Market Drayton, Shropshire : 1987 to 2016

Market Drayton is a place I always look forward to visiting on our canal holidays because it has a wide selection of pubs to choose from. Over the years, we've been in most of them, but we tend to go back to them infrequently and, as we've got older, we tend not to visit as many in one session as we used to!

Back in 1987, on our only visit to the pub, it was called the Star Hotel.
 This was on the evening of Thursday 9th July 1987 and I recall very little about the pub itself.

Although we've visited the town on numerous occasions, we haven't had another drink in the Star since that first occasion. There are two main reasons for this...firstly, over the years the pub went somewhat downhill and was more a place for the younger crowd and people who liked music. This wouldn't normally stop us from popping in, but when there is so much more choice we tended to walk on by. The second part is that the Star is one of the first we come to on our walk from the canal and knowing that there are better options, we just carry on past.

However, we may have to reconsider our opinion - it is now known as The Salopian Star and is a real ale pub. It also gets the thumbs up from Retired Martin, so it should be worth a visit next time we're up that way.

This was at lunchtime on Monday 8th August 2016 as we walked into the centre Market Drayton and our ultimate destination, the Red Lion (#217). Remarkably little has changed in the intervening 29 years. Perhaps not so surprising as, according to Pub Survey, it is the oldest pub in Market Drayton.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Witton Street, Northwich, Cheshire : 2006 to 2016

Today you're getting a special 'Two-for-one' deal (before minimum pricing comes in!).

Northwich isn't a place we visit very often on our boating trips as it requires passage down on the Anderton Boat Lift from the Trent & Mersey Canal onto the River Weaver.

Anderton Boat Lift
We've done this trip twice and on each occasion spent an evening in Northwich.

#236 The Roebuck

I'm not entirely sure if we ever ventured into either of the pubs, but I did take pictures for posterity. The first visit was on the evening of Friday 1st September 2006 and this is what The Roebuck looked like. (You can just see the Green Dragon three doors away)
Our next visit was on the evening of Saturday 13th August 2016 and this is how much change had taken place in 10 years.
It had been completely redecorated, but was now up for sale...and according to WhatPub it is now permanently closed.

#237 Green Dragon

You've already had a glimpse of this pub in the photos above, but here are the close-ups. 

As far as I can tell, the Green Dragon is entirely unchanged in the 10 years between these pictures...and it is seemingly still thriving!

Whilst it is sad to see a pub close permanently it is worth noting that Witton Street also is home to the Witton Chimes, The Quayside and Penny Blacks which is a Wetherspoons, so it is hardly surprising that something had to give and it looks like The Roebuck was the unlucky loser.