Blog Surfer

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

#225 The Cheshire Cheese, Middlewich, Cheshire : 1999 to 2016

Although we'd visited Middlewich on previous occasions, our first visit to The Cheshire Cheese was at lunchtime on Sunday 5th September 1999.
Finding The Cheshire Cheese was pure serendipity! Having left Wheelock heading north on the Trent & Mersey Canal our boat, Emma Jane, broke down above Lock 67, just short of Middlewich. It was a Sunday, but a phone call to the Middlewich Narrowboats office was answered and a mechanic came straight out to us. He got us going quite quickly, but asked us to pull into the boatyard once we got to Middlewich to give it a final check over.

Everything was OK and, as I recall, our saviour mechanic refused any payment, so we insisted on buying him a pint, at least, for his efforts. That ended up being two or three pints and a great session in The Cheshire Cheese which is just round the back of the boatyard.

We were next in The Cheshire Cheese on the evening of Thursday 25th August 2005 on a trip that would take us to Chester.
The pub had undergone a complete external transformation with new signage and a low wall to separate the pub patrons from the footpath.

We were back again on the evening of Thursday 31st August 2006.
At first glance it looks to be little changed in a year, but the 'Beer Garden at Rear' sign has been moved, the main hanging sign was now present nad a new sign had also appeared.

Our most recent visit was on the evening of Friday 12th August 2016.
Although we'd moored by the Big Lock, we purposely sought out The Cheshire Cheese to see how it had changed over the passing 10 years. Externally it had undergone another complete makeover, but inside it felt a little tired and not quite as welcoming as on previous visits. However, it was good to see that it had survived and is still thriving as a proper boozer.

Monday, 19 June 2017

#224 Bridge Inn, Brewood, Staffordshire : 1987 to 2016

No article on the village of Brewood should start without the obligatory, "How do you pronounce that?" question. The answer is; Brewood is pronounced 'Brood'.

Brewood is a great village for canal trips. It stands on the Shropshire Union canal and there are lots of mooring places and plenty of pubs, but for us it has proved to be an awkward location, particularly when heading back to Lapworth as the next viable pub stop is about five hours away in Wolverhampton.

Our first visit to Brewood and the Bridge Inn was on the evening of Wednesday 8th July 1987.
As I recall it has always been quite a cosy pub that does proper pub grub. Note, in 1987 it was an Ansell's pub.

Our next visit was a lunchtime stop on Wednesday 4th September 1996 on the way back from our first ever canal trip to Llangollen.
Externally the pub had undergone a full refurb, I assume when it was taken over by Burtonwood. Inside was still as cosy as before. 

For the record, it took us 4 hours 15 minutes to get to Wolverhampton Top Lock!

Our next visit was on the evening of Wednesday 6th September 2000 on our way back from Manchester.
The pub appeared largely unchanged apart from the now hardly noticeable hanging baskets and the main door has gone back to black.

This time the journey to the top of the Wolverhampton flight of locks took 5 hours 10 minutes!

That journey time almost certainly explains why we didn't revisit Brewood until the evening of Wednesday 8th September 2010, again returning from Manchester.

No longer a Burtonwood pub, the Bridge Inn had become a free house with all of the external signage replaced/removed. However, despite the external changes, it maintained it's original character.

Trip to Wolverhampton Top Lock - 5 hrs 10 mins...again!

Our most recent visit was at lunchtime on Sunday 7th August 2016.
Our first non-Wednesday visit because the new boat Peggy Ellen is moored at Kings Bromley and so Brewood again becomes a more attractive stopping off point as there is no need to go through Wolverhampton.

What has now become subtly apparent is that the Bridge Inn is now a Marston's pub as evidenced by the small sign on the chimney breast. We had a very pleasant Sunday lunch in a pub that, although it has changed hands over the 29 years, has maintained it's character. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

#223 The Beehive, Northwich, Cheshire : 2006 to 2016 (RIP)

On our first ever boating trip to Northwich, we discovered this great little town centre pub, The Beehive Inn.
This was on the evening of Saturday 2nd September 2006 and we had something of a pub crawl around Northwich with The Beehive being the most memorable of the hostelries we visited.

We were next in Northwich on the evening of Sunday 5th September 2010. This time we were on the Trent & Mersey Canal on our way home after a trip to Manchester. We were late mooring at the Old Broken Cross (#213), missed the food and so ventured into Northwich in search of sustenance.
This was late on in the evening and it was difficult to tell whether it had been open earlier, or not.

Our most recent visit to Northwich (via the River Weaver) was on the evening of Saturday 13th August 2016 and this is the sad sight that we found.
The Beehive Inn is no more, but at least the estate agents who are now located there have retained (as much as possible) the frontage of the old pub.