The Pub is one of the few great cultural icons of Britain. We are currently in a phase where the future of the pub is in doubt. This blog shows how pubs have changed (or not) over the past 10+ years. I first started taking pictures of pubs in 1986 and have amassed quite a collection. Most of these pubs are within easy walking distance of the English Canals and most are based in the Midlands. Apart from a (very) few, I have drunk in every pub pictured (and sometimes been drunk in them!)
Birmingham Skyline 1980's - Courtesy This is Birmingham
This is Birmingham is a wonderful place for those of us who like to see scenes of this great city from bygone days and I've spent many hours marvelling at the lost wonders of Birmingham. However it is very rare to find a picture that corresponds to one of my contemporary shots of the city.
That was until local photographer Pete Ashton posted on Twitter about how Moat Lane car park was now open again (and renamed the Markets Car Park). I'd been looking for somewhere to take a picture of the Birmingham Skyline for ages and here was the perfect location.
My first experience of The Swan with Two Nicks was a lunchtime visit on Monday 6th July 1987 near the beginning of a two week trip on board Emma Jane. This was the first trip where we'd taken the boat on a trip without Andrew in the crew and we were a bit anxious as it was his family's boat at that time!
As I recall, we'd been there in 1984 (at the start of a journey, but before I'd started taking photos of every pub we visited). It was a traditional old pub with beams and a low ceiling and we spent the whole lunchtime there before heading off upstream on the River Severn.
It was a long time before we revisited The Swan with Two Nicks because Emma Jane was moored first 'Up North' and then 'Down South' until returning to the Midlands in late 1996. However, even though we visited Worcester again, we didn't actually manage to find the pub again until the evening of Monday 31st May 1999.
A complete overhaul of the outside of the pub had taken place in the intervening 12 years, but inside it was exactly as we remembered.
The next visit was another 9 years later on the evening of Tuesday 27th May 2008 and the outside had again been redecorated.
Inside was still in the traditional style, pretty much as we remembered it.
Five years later saw a much less drastic redecoration (and different smokers outside!) when we popped in on the evening of Saturday 11th May 2013.
Inside it was still the same, but this time it contained a large contingent of Royalist soldiers in period costume, presumably rehydrating after a long day's battle re-enactment!
The Swan with Two Nicks is still well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in Worcester and a fairly detailed history of the pub (and before) can be found here.
The pub name is NOT a misprint and, although there are probably more pubs named the Swan with Two NECKS, the name originates from the practice of marking swans by making a 'nick' on the swan's bill - a full explanation can be found here.