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Monday, 25 March 2013

#107 Bull's Head, Moseley, Birmingham : 1998 to 2012

The Bull's Head in Moseley was always at the bottom of the list of pubs we used to visit in Moseley when I was a student...but we did still go there quite a lot!! Back in those days (the late 70's), the Bull's Head was one of the pubs that was swapped and became a Courage pub in a ploy to give Midlanders more choice other than the M&B/Ansell's near monopoly in Birmingham.

I don't have a picture from those days, but I do have this one from some years later.
This picture was taken some time over the Easter Weekend in 1998 when we'd been thwarted by the elements in our attempts to get to Stratford on the canal. I don't remember too much about it, though I think the inside was relatively unchanged from previous years!

It was another four years before we returned to Moseley.
This was taken on Wednesday 15th August 2002 during an evening tour around the delights of Moseley. The Bull's Head was completely transformed. From the outside you can see that the entrance door had been moved (to what looks like it's original location) and the ground floor windows have been replaced. Inside was a complete revelation...not necessarily in a good way...the room had become open plan with lots of 'leather' sofas and armchairs - very modern. It no longer felt like a pub and the beer prices were noticeably higher than in the other nearby pubs. But, although it wasn't to my taste, it was good to see it reopened and under new ownership as it had been closed for a while.

I haven't been back for a drink for quite a few years now, but I took this photo on Sunday 11th November 2012.
As far as I can tell, the Bull's Head was almost completely unchanged, apart from the small advertising boards either side of the doors. I didn't go inside, so can't comment on the interior d├ęcor, however judging from the Bull's Head website, I'd guess that it has changed a bit, but it hasn't gone back to being a traditional boozer! Still, it is good to see it thriving which is the main thing! 

Monday, 18 March 2013

#106 The Jolly Tar, Wardle, Cheshire : 2005 to 2012

Whenever we pass through Barbridge Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal, there is only one place where we regularly stop...and it isn't The Jolly Tar! We'd normally visit Ye Olde Barbridge Inn which is right by the canal. However, many's the occasion when I've thought that we should pay The Jolly Tar a visit. So in 2005 we finally decided to pop in for a pint.
This photo was taken on Friday 26th August 2005. As I recall, the pub was fairly quiet and a bit of a throwback to the 70's and 80's in style.

We haven't been back inside since then, but i took this photo as we were passing by at Easter on Thursday 12th April 2012.
It has obviously been repainted in the intervening years and the colour scheme has changed from blue to red. This place always reminds me of a seaside pub.

Each year, in recent times, when we've passed by I've been surprised to see that it has still been open. Although it is advertised as a canalside pub, there is the slight problem of the A51 which runs between the pub and the canal, which must make it difficult to 'sell' to the visiting public. Sadly my fears have been confirmed and, as of writing, The Jolly Tar is closed. It would appear, from this statement, that the lease ran out on 10th March 2013 and new tenants have not yet been found. Sad, but in this current economic climate, not too surprising. 

Monday, 11 March 2013

#105 The Admiral Nelson, Braunston, Northants : 1980 to 2012

This is a pub from my very first canal trip, a journey that started at Woodford on the River Nene and took us to Coventry before returning to Woodford.

 At that time I wasn't taking a photo of every pub we visited, but the Admiral Nelson is an integral part of this picture of Braunston Locks taken on Tuesday 17th April 1980.
As a canal pub it is ideally located alongside one of the six locks of the Braunston flight. In fact, the next photo I took was of Matt bringing me a pint as we were waiting to pass through the lock!

We passed through Braunston many times after this first visit in 1980, but it wasn't until 1993 that I took another picture.
This was on Thursday 23rd September 1993 as part of a trip that took us from Winkwell to Stretton-under-Fosse and back. In those days, Emma Jane was moored at Winkwell near Berhamstead and our options were limited to heading north up the Grand Union Canal, seeing how far we could get in a week and turn round for the return journey.

I don't recall too much about our visits to the Admiral Nelson, except that it was a traditional pub with a Skittles Table that kept us amused.

We were back again the next year on the evening of Saturday 3rd September 1994, this time on the way back to Winkwell after having got as far as Fenny Compton on the Oxford Canal.

We didn't return to The Admiral Nelson for quite a few years as, after we'd moved the boat back to the Midlands, we didn't feel inclined to go back on the Grand Union Canal. It was 2001 when we ventured forth with a view to revisiting the lower reaches of the Grand Union. We'd moored below the locks and, after visiting the other pubs in Braunston, it was quite a stroll, along a dark lane (called Dark Lane!), to get to The Admiral Nelson which was under new management.
This was on Sunday 26th August 2001.

Over the years The Admiral Nelson has been shut and reopened on more than one occasion, so we tend not to plan a visit there, not knowing if it is going to be open.
This picture was taken on Thursday 10th September 2009 as we were passing. We didn't stop.

My final photo was taken on Sunday 30th September 2012 as I was on my way to play golf!
It was good to see that it was open and seemingly thriving, especially as a Morris Dancing troupe were enjoying some pre 'match' drinks! 
It would appear that the current owners have got it right and the Trip Advisor reviews seem to back this up. I'm glad to see that The Admiral Nelson is now thriving again, but I don't know when we'll be back that way again. 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

#104 The Plough, Tividale, West Midlands : 2005 to 2012 (RIP)

As previously mentioned in #093, we discovered Tividale in 2005 as one of the very few viable stops on the BCN Main Line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

This was at lunchtime on Thursday 1st September 2005. We popped in to The Plough for one pint and, having established that they didn't do food, we moved on. It was a basic Banks' boozer with two small rooms at the front and a friendly barman/landlord.

Two years later and we're back! Again it was lunchtime, on Saturday 25th August 2007. There were no major changes to the outside except that TWO satellite dishes have appeared and the small tree to the right of the pub has disappeared. Oh...and the pub has a 'To Let' sign on it! Inside it was unchanged and they still didn't do food...officially! However, when we asked about it, the landlady said that she could make us some sandwiches, an offer we gladly accepted.

It is a real shame that pubs like this, with such friendly and accommodating tenants have disappeared, up and down the land. This is the scene that presented itself when I went by The Plough on Tuesday 4th December 2012.
Completely closed, all external signage removed and the car park being used as a car wash. It looks as though the building is still occupied, especially as a fire escape and first floor exit have been added since my last visit.