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Sunday, 21 August 2011

#009 Country Girl, Selly Oak : 1996 to 2011

This is the pub which, over the years, I've spent most drinking time in! My first visit to the Country Girl was back in my student days when it was a proper pub, but it was a bit off my 'beaten track' so I was never a regular in those days.
Following my move to Stirchley in 1983 I became a more regular visitor to the Country Girl as it is only a 15 minute walk away. However, in those days I would go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, often into Birmingham, but going 'local' was an infrequent occurrence! 
As I've grown older, the number of nights I go out drinking has dwindled (now just Friday and Saturday!), and I've become less adventurous and so the Country Girl has become, by default, my local!
It has undergone several expansions and refurbishments and when these first two pictures were taken it was still a proper pub with a Bar and a Lounge.
This photo is from 1996 and is the earliest picture that I've taken of the Country Girl.

Now it is 1998 and very little has changed. I do remember watching the second half of the 1999 Champions League Final in the Bar. Just over a year later and the Country Girl was changed beyond all recognition. Whilst the refurbishment was going on we had to visit several other establishments and became regulars at the Bell in Harborne for a while.
Then the Country Girl reopened as an Ember Inn...and I was there on opening night. As with all Ember Inns it became a one room pub done out more like a wine bar than a proper pub, but still an acceptable place to drink and chat. I don't have any photos from the early Ember days, but more recently I've taken some.

This is from 2009. The distinctive Country Girl sign has gone and the M&B sign has disappeared from the pub. Other than those changes, the outside seems to be largely untouched. Unfortunately, because of its position, it is difficult to get a good shot of the pub from the front.

Now it is 2011 and the place is still pretty much the same as before. Shortly it is due to become an Ember Pub and Dining establishment. I'll reserve judgement until I've been into one, but from a drinkers perspective I don't think this is such a good move. However, as a quiz master (not at the Country Girl) I'm thankful that the new re-branded pubs will still be including quiz nights as part of their strategy. Watch this space!

7 comments:

  1. Do you know if this pub originally was called something else, as its current name sounds like a typical renaming of the 60s and 70s in an effort to make pubs seem less "old-fashioned"?

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  2. I don't really know. I've done some research and it would appear that it was a workhouse in the late 1800's - http://www.redbrickpaper.co.uk/2010/01/brummie-institution-cadburys-sold-to-kraft/
    After that I'm not too sure, but this correspondent remembers visiting it over 50 years and doesn't refer to another name for it - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/foodanddrink/top-100-famous-pubs/8023874/The-Country-Girl.html
    I do know someone who has lived around here all his life (and used to be a regular at the Country Girl). Next time I see him I'll ask.

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  3. I have a Kelly's Directory for 1968. It was the Country Girl then.

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  4. My school friend's father was the landlord at the "Country Girl" in the 1950's and I spent many a happy hour there playing around the building and grounds it even had its own bowling green with a telephone link to the pub in the pavillion, although it was out of use in that period. The landlord in the 50's and early sixty's was Bill Downes and my pal was Eric. My mother was born in 1911 and lived round the corner , so I am quite sure it has had the same name for all of the 20th century and probably the back end of the 19th when I think it was built.

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    1. Thanks Anon - I think that clears up the question nicely.

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  5. Debbie Witherford20 August 2016 at 18:11

    I was born opposite the country girl in 1961. Number 70 Raddlebarn Road, it is a hairdressers now. I have always known it as the Country Girl

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  6. Debbie Witherford20 August 2016 at 18:18

    I was born opposite the country girl in 1961. Number 70 Raddlebarn Road, it is a hairdressers now. I have always known it as the Country Girl

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