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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

#205 Sacks of Potatoes, Gosta Green, Birmingham : 1986 to 2015

The Sacks of Potatoes is a pub that will be familiar to any student (past & present) of Aston University as it sits in the middle of the campus. It is a pub I've visited on many occasions not involved with canal trips, but the only pictures I take are whilst on holiday (mainly!)

We start our journey at lunchtime on Thursday 31st July 1986.
We'd moored at Aston Junction and were nearing the end of a two week journey that had taken us to Nottingham. In those days the Sacks of Potatoes was a cosy, proper pub that did pub grub.

We didn't venture back there again until lunchtime on Wednesday 6th September 1995.
The reason for such a long delay was because our boat, Emma Jane, had spent two years up North, then another five years down South and this visit was towards the end of the journey bringing her back to the Midlands. In those few years, the Sacks of Potatoes has been extended quite a bit, much of it at the back. It wasn't quite as cosy as before, but it was still a proper pub!

It wasn't too long before our return at lunchtime on Wednesday 3rd September 1997, again mooring at Aston Junction and again returning from a trip that had taken us to Nottingham.
From this view you can see the considerable sideways extension of the pub compared to the 1986 view.

We were back again for another lunchtime stop on Sunday 29th August 1999, this time at the start of a trip that would take us along the Caldon Canal for the first time.
It had undergone a refurb in the intervening years and it was no longer labelled as an M&B pub, although it still was part of the Mitchell's & Butlers group. It was around this time that I completely lost track of who owned what pub and what beer you might expect to see! Sadly, the picture had disappeared from the side wall!

We were back again almost exactly a year later for lunch on Sunday 27th August 2000.
No real changes to report, the colour difference being caused by bright August Bank Holiday sun in 1999 versus Bank Holiday gloom in 2000!

It was quite a few years before we came back to the Sacks; almost exactly ten years had elapsed, it was another lunch stop on Saturday 28th August 2010.
Externally it had been repainted and there were many more seats (three years since the smoking ban), but other than that the pub was largely unchanged. In fact, most of the significant changes were going on around the pub as Aston University underwent a massive transformation.

The next picture is from Friday 6th June 2014, not related to a canal trip.
I was out by the university taking pictures, so, as we hadn't been there for a few years, I thought I'd get a new picture for the blog. Little had changed, but the hanging baskets now contained real flowers!

Ironically, we were back the next year for a lunchtime stop on Sunday 14th June 2015.
The Sacks of Potatoes wasn't our original destination for this lunch stop, but The Bull (#073) was closed on Sundays, so here we were again!

Despite the changes all around and the expansion of the pub in the nineties it still feels like a proper pub which is something of a rarity in this day and age! It is now part of the Stonegate Group of pubs (not sure when it transferred from Mitchell's & Butlers!) and the website is here.

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