Thursday, 22 December 2011
#041 The Fountain Inn, Tipton : 2003 to 2011
This is a pub I wish I'd visited before 2003. The Fountain Inn has a long history and survived when the Tipton Green area was substantially redeveloped in the late 1970's. Now the pub stands, almost alone, amidst buildings that are less than 20 years old.
Our first visit was at lunchtime on 27th August 2003 on our way back from a canal trip that had taken us to Leicester. As I remember, it was a pleasant pub that served very good pub food at very reasonable prices.
Four years later and we make another lunchtime stop on 6th September 2007 on our way back from our second trip along the Llangollen Canal.
Very little had changed...fortunately.
And so to our most recent visit. Again lunchtime on 6th September 2011, this time on our return from a trip along the Caldon Canal.
Very little has changed, but the vegetation is now in hanging baskets and the signage on the side of the pub is more restrained. Inside it was still the same, but there was one aspect that I've not encountered for a long while. The barmaid was young and gorgeous, far more attractive than you would expect to find in a small backstreet boozer and she was very good at her job (usually ability seems to be in inverse proportion to attractiveness!). This set me to thinking that you don't often find young, attractive barmaids in fairly bog standard pubs any more. I'm sure it used to be a more common phenomenon, but maybe I'm just getting old and developing 'rose tinted' glasses!
The main reason that I wish I'd visited The Fountain Inn sooner is it's history. The pub sign depicts a boxer which, at first sight, seems to be somewhat incongruous with the name. But, as the sign by the door and the statue by where we moored indicate, this was the training base for William Perry, the Tipton Slasher. He was a bare knuckle boxer and was Champion of England from 1850 - 1857. His nickname derived from his style of fighting.
He was originally a canal boatman but became famous as a fighter in his teens. Ultimately he ended up back in poverty after betting everything on his disastrous last fight. Amazing how things don't seem to have changed for boxers in the intervening 150 years!