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Saturday, 29 December 2012

#096 The Boot & Shoe, Nantwich, Cheshire : 2005 to 2012

Nantwich is a place we'd passed by on the Shropshire Union Canal, but didn't actually stop there until 1996. On our first few visits, we rarely ventured much past The Oddfellows which is the closest pub to the canal. In 2005, though, we decided to venture forth and discover what Nantwich had to offer the visiting imbiber.

We weren't disappointed; there was a fine selection of drinking establishments one of which is The Boot & Shoe.
This was taken on the evening of Sunday 28th August 2005 on our way back from Chester. As I recall (and I think it was our last stop of the evening!) it was a friendly local that had a very welcoming landlady.

We returned the next year on the evening of Wednesday 30th August 2006. This trip was to have taken us to Manchester, but we'd fallen behind schedule and ended up in Northwich having used the Anderton Boat Lift for the first time.
Unsurprisingly, it hadn't changed and was just as welcoming!

We did visit Nantwich again in 2007 (twice), but only visited The Boot & Shoe just once on the evening of Tuesday 28th August 2007 on our way to Llangollen. Again it was unchanged.

Our most recent visit to The Boot & Shoe was on the evening of Thursday 12th April 2012 during our first trip on a hire boat.
From the outside it appears, on first glance, to be completely unchanged, especially the signage. However, on closer inspection the pub as been double glazed in the intervening years. Also, there are no hanging baskets, but it was probably too early in the year. Inside it was just as welcoming as ever - well worth a visit!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

#095 The Shakespeare, Birmingham : 1999 to 2012

This is my 100th entry on this blog, although I've only listed 95 pubs so far! 
I'm not entirely sure when I paid my first visit to The Shakespeare, but the first time we went there on a canal trip was on Saturday 28th August 1999.
Obviously an evening stop, but I don't remember too much about it. At the time it was a fairly unremarkable corner pub, but one that had a nice room at the back.

Our next visit was on the evening of Tuesday 27th August 2003 at the end of a trip that had taken us to Leicester.
From this angle it is difficult to see whether there had been any changes, but if there were any they were only minor.

We were back again the next year, this time a lunchtime stop on Sunday 30th May 2004.
No real changes...and no food at lunchtime in those days, especially as it was a Sunday.

We then visited every year after that until 2008.
 Thursday 1st September 2005.

Saturday 3rd June 2006

Thursday 6th September 2007

 Saturday 24th May 2008

Over these years, the pub essentially changed very little, but was made much more presentable inside. This was probably a direct result of its proximity to the headquarters of Mitchells & Butlers which are next door. At that time it was an unbranded pub.

Our next visit was on Thursday 9th September 2010 and still there were no more changes.

In 2011, we paid two visits to The Shakespeare, which had now been branded as part of M&B's Nicholson's group of pubs.
This was on Thursday 2nd June 2011. The outside decoration was now in the black and gold livery of the Nicholson's brand and the hanging signs had been replaced. Inside, the overall feel and look had changed subtly, but as it was something of a classic inside before, there wasn't much that needed to be done to improve it.

And we were back on Thursday 6th September 2011. The Shakespeare had become a more regular watering hole as it is the nearest pub to the best curry restaurant in Birmingham, the Raj Doot, that had moved across town a few years earlier.

My final photo was taken this year as I was walking through the area to get shots of some of the Birmingham pubs to keep this blog up-to-date.
This was taken on Tuesday 28th August 2012. The Shakespeare is now our regular stopping off point prior to visiting the Raj Doot and I'll be there tonight!

At the start of this post I said that The Shakespeare was somewhat unremarkable, and so it was for 1999 as there were plenty of reasonably well appointed street corner boozers around. Now in 2012, with some refurbishment, The Shakespeare has become a more stand-out establishment in a world where so many other pubs have disappeared.

Monday, 17 December 2012

#094 Cherry Tree, Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire : 1986 to 2012 (RIP)

This is going to be a relatively short entry. In 1986 I'd been taking canal holidays for six years, but this was the first year that I started taking a picture of each pub we they're not always the best!

Here is the photo of the Cherry Tree in Husbands Bosworth that I took on the evening of Tuesday 22nd July 1986. We were on a trip that would take us to Leicester and Nottingham.
Not my best picture as you can't even see the name of the pub! I actually had to do some research to find out what it was called as I couldn't remember it at all. What I did find, though, was this piece on the BBC website Domesday Project about Mr & Mrs Cave who were running the Cherry Tree in 1986.

We haven't stopped at Husbands Bosworth since, but I was driving to an Open Day at Foxton Locks (an excellent idea by the Canal & River Trust to show people what is actually involved in maintaining the 200 year-old canal system) and my journey took me through the village.

This is what I found when I got there on Sunday 16th December 2012.
No pub! Fortunately, someone came out of the Post Office and she told me that it had closed years ago and had been replaced with the housing development you can see here! The name of the pub lives on as this is now Cherry Tree Close.

When I got home I did some more research and found this photo of the pub after it had closed, but I'm not sure of the date.
This photo is courtesy of the Husbands Bosworth website. Apparently, as soon as it was closed it was demolished and the housing estate built.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

#093 Albion Inn, Tividale, West Midlands : 2005 to 2012

The canal journey between Wolverhampton and Birmingham is always interesting, but the opportunities to stop and find pubs is somewhat limited. This isn't too surprising as the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) were, until fairly recently, mostly hidden away and closed off to the general public. In their heyday, these canals were like the railways and were extremely busy transporting goods around the Midlands. They were a place of work, not leisure.

Over the years we'd exhausted most of the available stops, usually Tipton and the Black Country Museum, but one day we decided to experiment and we moored up on the BCN Old Main Line near to where it goes over the Netherton Tunnel Branch of the BCN Main Line. We only had our 20-year-old Nicholson's Guide to go on and weren't sure if any of the pubs marked would still be open.

We were in luck and we found three pubs, none of which did food...until a helpful local directed us to the Toby Carvery just up the road. It was only then that I realised where we were as none of the streets we'd walked along were familiar to me.

Today's subject is the Albion Inn which was our last port of call before the Toby Carvery.
This was lunchtime on Thursday 1st September 2005. Although it looks to be an inviting prospect from the outside, inside it is a basic local boozer and there was no food on offer.

Our next visit was on Saturday 25th August 2007, again at lunchtime, but this time it was on the outward trip at the start of our holiday and we were heading for Wolverhampton.
There were no changes of note, but one of the signs still said "Bar Snacks" and there were none!

We haven't stopped there since then, but I was in the environs a few days ago and took this picture.
It was taken on Tuesday 4th December 2012. At first glance, nothing much has changed, but on closer inspection the main signs have been replaced with ones saying "Free House" although the hanging sign is the same as previously. Two satellite dishes have also appeared - a definite sign of the times!