Blog Surfer

Thursday, 2 March 2017

#214 The Bull's Head, Bishopsgate Street, Birmingham : 1950's to 2017

Breaking one of my own rules we start off with a picture not taken by me and in all probability it was taken before I was born...just!
The photo was taken in the 1950's by Birmingham City Council Public Works Dept and can be found here along with a few other Birmingham pubs then and now.

It is a classic James & Lister Lea pub that in all my years in Birmingham had been known as the City Tavern. Also interesting to note that it was an Ansell's pub back in the 50's.

This is another picture not taken by me - I've purloined it from the Images of England website - it was taken on Saturday 21st August 1999 by Mr Peter Garratt. This was a year after it had been Grade II listed, but was looking in a pretty sorry state. During this closure it was rumoured that the interior fixtures, including the classic bar had been stolen.

Just four years later and I finally make a visit to The City Tavern as part of a canal trip on the evening of Wednesday 27th August 2003. Inside, it was just as I'd hoped, a proper old school Birmingham pub with the bar either replaced with a look-a-like or it maybe hadn't been stolen after all. (I'm sure someone will know the truth of the matter.) From the outside, all of the upstairs windows had been replaced, but the downstairs look like the originals are still in place. Attractive lanterns had also been added. In the intervening four years, the sites either side of the pub had been fully redeveloped.

 I frequently go past the pub for various networking meetings and took this picture on the morning of Tuesday 12th August 2014.
In the passing years the signage has changed with the name Davenports appearing and the downstairs windows having been replaced.

Moving on to the present day and momentous changes have occurred.
I took this photo on the afternoon of Friday 24th February 2017. The name had reverted back to The Bull's Head and it is now, officially, a Davenports pub. Interestingly, the downstairs windows have been changed again and there's a hanging sign on the corner. A full description of the refurbishment and resurrection of the Davenports brewery can be found here on their website.

In the interests of completeness, I actually went inside the pub and had a half of the Davenports Imperial IPA!
I would have sampled the Original Bitter, but it had run out. They also had some Dares beers on offer (details here), but of more interest, to at least one of my friends, is the resurrection of Highgate Old Ale and Dark Mild. The manager explained that Davenports had bought the rights to these beers and were making them to the original recipe.

For those of us who like lager, there was a fine selection with the taps on the back wall of the bar in the tiled area visible in the photo.

The interior of the pub is just as it was all those years ago when I'd last visited and hopefully it will have a great future as a proper pub.

It wouldn't surprise me if the newly revamped Bull's Head found it's way into the Good Beer Guide within the next few years.

© Photo Digital Art 2017
Well, I couldn't resist!

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