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Monday, 29 October 2012

#088 The Devonshire Inn, Skipton : ca.1973 to 2012

When I started this blog last year I expected to have enough pub pictures that I could carry on with it for at least two years. However, that was before we sold our boat Emma Jane and took the decision to hire boats allowing us to visit canals we'd not been on before.

This means that, this year, I've only visited a handful of pubs that I've been to before; although I've now got 54 new pubs along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal that could become part of this blog in future years.

Before we embarked on our 2012 canal trip I came across this blog posting by my favourite author, Christopher Priest. It contained this photo of the Devonshire from the 1970's.
I have guessed the year to be 1973. The pub was the setting for the opening of his 1976 novel "The Space Machine", so I'm assuming he did the research a few years earlier. The details are in his blog entry and make a very interesting read.

Having read this, I made sure that we paid a visit to the 2012 incarnation The Devonshire Inn which is now a Wetherspoon's.
This slightly blurry photo was taken on the evening of Saturday 6th October 2012. Inside it is very much a Wetherspoon's style establishment making maximum use of the available space. I imagine it was very different in the 70's when it was a Tetley's pub. Externally it looks pretty much the same apart from the signage.

I still have quite a few pubs to report on, several of which are here in Birmingham, but others are further afield.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

#087 Beehive, Curdworth, Warks : 2006 to 2011

I'd been aware of the Beehive in Curdworth for a long while and I'd visited for a business lunch many years earlier, but our first canal visit was on Wednesday 6th September 2006.
Usually, when our boating trips took us along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, we would stop just outside Curdworth at The Kingsley. This was a Beefeater and had very good moorings, but the pub had been going downhill for some years and was closed when we moored up for the night. So, we took the 20 minute walk back to Curdworth and headed straight for the Beehive.

Inside it is a pub of 'two halves'. As you enter the door from the car park you step into a proper pub and a proper bar populated by locals. Walk through to the back and you're now in the restaurant, which is where we headed after a couple of pints in the bar. The food was good pub grub and we had an enjoyable evening - so good, in fact, that we returned the very next year.

This was on Saturday 26th May 2007 and, unsurprisingly, the place hadn't changed a bit.

Our next visit was on Saturday 28th August 2010.
The Beehive was unchanged on the inside, but on the outside there was the added smoking area just to the right of the front door (and a satellite dish above the toilets).

Our last visit was on Wednesday 1st June 2011 near the end of a one week circuit around the Midlands.
Again the pub was unchanged.

To see how the Beehive has changed over the years follow these links to see what it looked like in the 1900's and 1930's

Sunday, 14 October 2012

#086 Craven Arms, Birmingham : 2004 to 2011

As a long term resident of Birmingham, my regular challenge, whenever we visited the city on our canal trips, was to find pubs that we'd not entered before. Over the years this has become almost impossible, but back in 2004 we found this gem. The Craven Arms has been tastefully refurbished and, when we first found it, I was surprised to find such a pub just by The Mailbox.
This photo was taken on the evening of Wednesday 1st September 2004 at the start of a pub crawl that took us into previously unvisited parts of Birmingham near the city centre. It is a small back street pub and is the only building still standing on the corner. When we visited it had only recently reopened and was still shiny and new inside.

Our next visit was on the evening of Thursday 8th June 2006 and, as I recall there were no changes.

We didn't go back for a number of years until Friday 26th August 2011 at the start of our trip that would take us along the Caldon Canal.
At first glance the pub hasn't changed very much at all, but it is no longer a Banks's establishment and the England flags have been replaced by flowers in hanging baskets. Inside it was unchanged, but I'm constantly surprised that pubs as small inside as the Craven Arms can survive in this day and age. The other major change is in the background where the 2004 crane has been replaced by Birmingham's newest architectural masterpiece, The Cube.

There's little more to say about the Craven Arms, but if you are visiting Birmingham and you are in the vicinity of The Mailbox, you'd do a lot worse than this place!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

#085 The Roebuck, Warwick : 1998 to 2011

Our first visit to The Roebuck in Warwick was on the August Bank Holiday weekend in 1998 when our boat Emma Jane broke down on the Grand Union Canal just by the Cape of Good Hope locks. We got a tow to the nearest boatyard (the very helpful Kate Boats), but as it was Sunday there wasn't an engineer present...and no-one was available on the Monday either as it was the Bank Holiday. Although we were delayed by a couple of days, we still managed to get to Oxford, our ultimate destination, in plenty of time.

So we had several drinking sessions in Warwick during which time we visited many of the pubs in the town!
This photo was taken on Monday 31st August 1998. As I recall it was a pleasant enough place, but obviously not outstanding.

The next time we visited The Roebuck was on Thursday 31st May 2007. We'd visited Warwick on a few occasions in the intervening years, but had managed to miss out on The Roebuck.
The only noticeable change was in the hanging pub sign and the name above the door.

Our final visit was on Saturday 28th May 2011. We were on a one week excursion around the Midlands and The Roebuck was our second pub of the night. We'd been to The Railway (#063 in this series) to watch the first half of the 2011 Champions League Final, but at half-time we decided to move on, hopefully to get a better view (and for Will to have a fag!).
Again it seemed to be quite a pleasant place and we did get a better view of the telly...shame about the result, though. There were no apparent changes to the outside of the pub.

And now for the info I hadn't been aware of...The Roebuck is the oldest pub in Warwick dating back to 1470. This and the more up-to-date details can be found on their website.