Blog Surfer

Saturday, 30 July 2011

#003 Goose at the OVT, Selly Oak : 1996 to 2011

This is a strange one! When I first visited this pub as a student in the late 70's it was called The Bournbrook Hotel. It was usually full of students (no surprise) and was made up of several different rooms. It was a long time ago and I don't remember it too clearly!

Some years later it was refurbished (keeping many of the interior features) and renamed the Old Varsity Tavern. It was still popular with students and usually quite busy. Then (and I don't know when) it became the Farce & Firkin at the same time as quite a few other Birmingham pubs were rebranded as Firkin pubs. This picture is from 1996 as we did a pub crawl of Selly Oak on one of our canal trips!
At some stage it became the Farce & Firkin at the OVT, but this isn't shown on the pub in this picture.

As I live not too far away, I occasionally enter this establishment, but I can't say it is one of my favourite venues. Sometime later (again, I don't know when) it was refurbished and rebranded as the Goose at the OVT which is Mitchells & Butlers attempt to match Wetherspoon's. The pub is now a 'beer barn' selling cheap beer to any and all who can't afford to pay the inflated prices in other pubs!
This is how it looks now. Like many, it looks pretty much the same as ever on the outside, but inside its very different from 'the good old days'! I don't think they make use of the two upper floors (which is a waste) and notice the buddleia growing in the upstairs window. Still, I shouldn't complain too much at least it has survived the 'cull' of Selly Oak pubs which has taken away The Brook, Dog & Partridge, Great Oak and others that I never really knew!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

#002 Dog & Doublet, Bodymoor Heath : 1986 to 2011

I first visited the Dog & Doublet in the early 1980's when I lived in nearby Minworth. It is not easy to find from the road, but was a popular country pub. The photo above was taken in 1986 (30th July - lunchtime) on a canal trip which had taken us to Nottingham from our (then) mooring at Earlswood (and back). The pub is part way up the Curdworth flight of locks on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and is a welcome break on the journey for either lunch or an overnight stop.
Now we move on to 2000 (June 1st - lunchtime) and to all intents and purposes the pub hasn't changed at all. However, there is no M&B on the sign which is indicative of the change of pub ownership over the intervening 14 years. The pub is still owned by M&B (Mitchells & Butlers), but they are no longer a brewer, but are now a pub and restaurant company. Inside, the pub has been slightly modified and redecorated, but it still retained the characteristics of a good country pub.
We move on to a cool and damp lunchtime stop on 27th May 2007. No real changes, except that the trees/bushes need a bit of trimming. For quite a number of occasions, whenever we ventured through the Curdworth flight of locks it would be cool, damp and windy!
And so to 2011 (1st June - late afternoon) when we passed by on the journey up the Curdworth flight in, surprisingly, warm and sunny conditions. We didn't stop there this time as we were running a bit behind our schedule, but it is good to see that it is still thriving with many people enjoying the warm sunshine and the canal scenery outside.
Should you fancy a visit to the Dog & Doublet you can find their webpage here.

Friday, 22 July 2011

#001 Three Horseshoes, Stirchley : 1986 to 2011


This is how the Three Horseshoes looked in 1986 when it was a Davenports pub. In those days it was a 'proper' pub with many rooms and it felt like a local. Notice also TWO red phone boxes outside! If you want to see an older picture visit this website.One year later and it looks much the same, but the sign has changed above the old 'out door'. Still a proper pub!
Fast forward to 1995 and the pub is now in the hands of Greenall Whitley, but still a welcoming local.
Now it is 2002 and the old Three Horseshoes is no more! Completely refurbished by Scottish Courage (I think!) and turned into a one room mega pub that doubled as a nightclub at weekends...until trouble outside got too much and it's licence was curtailed.
Finally we come to the present day. I haven't been inside the Three Horseshoes for quite a while now, despite the fact that it is the closest pub to me (equal with the British Oak - see later entry) because, quite frankly, it is no longer my sort of pub. In the daytime it is ok, but at night it is loud and brash...and I'm too old for that sort of environment.

I'm not sure exactly who the current owners are, but you can find their webpage here.