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!)
Today you get a two-for-one bonus! As outlined in the previous entry (#189), we rarely stop at the bottom of Delph Locks and there are two pubs there. So, I thought I'd publish them together!
This was at lunchtime on Monday 27th May 1996 and I believe that we went in and had our lunch here, but I don't really remember much about it. The pub was managed by Holt, Plant & Deakin which meant little to me until I looked it up while researching this entry!
As I was looking through some of my early digital photos I came across this from the afternoon of Tuesday 27th March 2012.
Obviously it had undergone a complete refurbishment, but it was good to see it was still open!
Fast forward to the evening of Friday 12th June 2015.
Now styled as The Bell Inn on the Delph, it had undergone a thorough exterior transformation over the passing 19 years. I have no idea who runs/owns/manages it now. Again, we didn't go inside as we spent the whole evening in the Bull & Bladder.
One of the most impressive features of the Dudley No 1 Canal is the flight of eight Delph Locks. There used to be nine locks, but when the flight was rebuilt in 1858, the middle section was reduced from seven down to six locks. hence the now anachronistic name for the pub at the bottom of the flight.
We pass through this part of the canal system every five years or so, but rarely stop at the bottom of the flight as there isn't much mooring room. However, we did moor here at lunctime on Monday 27th May 1996, mainly because the propellor on our boat needed de-weeding.
As I recall it was a fairly standard Banks's estate pub that also did food.
I was passing by on the afternoon of Tuesday 27th March 2012 so I took this picture to show how the place had changed. Just a few subtle modifications...and a large smoking area at the front!
We didn't stop at the bottom of Delph Locks again until the evening of Friday 12th June 2015 after a tortuous journey from Stourbridge in very shallow water!
The Tenth Lock has undergone a complete exterior refurb in the intervening 19 years and, although it doesn't look like it, it is now a Marston's pub.
On this occasion we didn't go inside. We'd planned a bit of a pub crawl down the hill from The Vine at the top, but we never left The Vine, aka the Bull & Bladder, as it was such a fantastic place and the Bathams was wonderful (and I'm a lager drinker normally!)
Trent Lock is where the River Trent meets the River Soar and the Erewash Canal and is where the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire meet with the Soar forming the border between Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, and the Trent that of Derbyshire.
From a boater's point of view it is quite a scary junction, especially when the local sailing club is out in force. Our first visit was on the lunchtime of Sunday 27th July 1986 on the return from Nottingham.
Back in those days it was called the Trent Navigation Inn. This photo is taken from the beer garden which leads down to the jetty on the River Trent where we were moored. An attractive location.
We didn't return until the lunchtime of Sunday 31st August 1997. Again, returning from Nottingham.
Quite an external transformation had taken place in the intervening 11 years...but I still cannot remember what it was like inside!
We stopped again, this time with no trip to Nottingham, at lunchtime on Friday 22nd August 2003.
Another external makeover, but it still retained the name from previous visits.
The next stop was, again, at lunchtime on Wednesday 2nd September 2009. It was an unscheduled visit as we had planned our first trip up the Erewash Canal, but were stymied by a lack of water. Instead, and after lunch, we went to Nottingham first. When we returned the next day, the canal was clear for navigation.
Another six years had passed by and another refurbishment had occurred. It had now become more of a pub/restaurant hybrid with a rustic style interior.
Our most recent visit was yet another lunchtime stop on Sunday 23rd August 2015.
Six more years had passed and now the pub was part of M&B's Vintage Inns brand and had been renamed The Trent Lock!
So, over a period of 29 years this pub/restaurant has had four complete makeovers together with a name change, but yet the TV aerial is still the same! I'd also hazard a guess that the roof has also been untouched over that period.