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Friday, 30 August 2013

#125 The Dry Dock Inn, Windmill End, West Midlands : 1996 to 2013 (RIP)

The first time I ever visited The Dry Dock Inn was some time in the 1980's. I remember it very well as I'd been given the use of a company car (for a business trip the next day) and so took friends out for a trip to a pub we'd not been to before.

My first visit as part of a canal trip was in 1996.
This was on the evening of Sunday 26th May 1996 and we spent the whole evening there. It had an unusual bar (more below) and did great, simple pub food.

We visited again three years later.
This was the view from our mooring at Windmill End Junction on the evening of Thursday 3rd June 1999. Again we spent the whole evening in the pub. The interior of the pub was dominated by the bar which was made from the bow of a narrowboat.
This was also the evening that I attempted a 'Desperate Dan Cow Pie' - I failed! When it arrived it didn't look to be too much of a challenge, but once I'd broken into the pie case and finished the layer of potatoes, the layer of carrots and the layer of meat I discovered that I was only half way and there were just as many more potatoes, carrots and meat! I still gave it a good shot, but I know when I'm beaten!

We were back at The Dry Dock in a couple of years, this time for a lunchtime stop.
This was on Sunday 27th May 2001 and, apart from the complete redecoration on the outside, inside it was largely unchanged.

Our next visit was five years later.
This was at lunchtime on Sunday 4th June 2006 and, although it looked to be mostly unchanged, they weren't serving food at lunchtime! So we had a pint and moved on finding a little local called the Red Lion where we managed to get a sandwich (which was all we really needed/wanted). The nearest pub is just over the road and is a typical Banks's estate pub that doesn't do food.

We made our final visit on Tuesday 14th May 2013.
Another lunchtime stop (it is just under 3 hours by canal from Birmingham via Netherton Tunnel) and it has certainly changed - it is now five flats! Disaster! Well not really as the Red Lion is nearby. (The Wheatsheaf across the road is still open, but still not doing food.) More disaster! The Red Lion wasn't open either - not fully closed down, just doesn't open on weekday lunchtimes.

The silver lining to our cloud was that we ended up in Ma Pardoe's (The Old Swan) just up the road in Netherton. Plain, simple sandwiches and three pints of Old Swan Ale (not bad as I don't drink at lunchtimes and I'm a lager drinker!!)


  1. So sad, my uncle ran this pub in 1969 and I used to help out on Friday and Saturday nights. 47 years later I own a pub called the Red Lion in Shropshire!!

  2. First night out with my girfriend, Zoe (now my wife). 1990. Tried the DD pie but it was all veg and not much meat. Didn't finish it.

  3. went in the dry dock august bank holiday 1988, the week-end that pubs started opening all day, brilliant Lumphammer Bitter, my mate chris (who was a big lad) attempted the pie but couldn't finish it, nigh on thirty years ago, dave dormand

  4. I recently purchased a tankard bearing the inn's logo. I found it in a charity shop near my home town in NSW, Australia. Thought I'd look it up to find out where it was from, and happened on this article. A shame to see such a regal building turned into flats. The tankard is now my favourite coffee mug.

    1. Thanks for your story and I hope you enjoy many years of drinking coffee from the tankard!