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Thursday, 21 September 2017

#231 Fox & Hounds, Great Haywood, Staffordshire : 1991 to 2016 (RIP)

Great Haywood is a very good place for a canal stopover (both lunchtimes and evenings). The village is a short walk from the canal and the Clifford Arms (#069) is a proper pub that does very good pub food. There used to be two other pubs in the village, both sadly no longer with us.

Our first visit to the Fox & Hounds was on the evening of Saturday 27th July 1991 after having eaten at the Clifford Arms.
I have no recollection as to what it was like inside, but my feeling is that it was a typical village pub with a bar and a lounge.

It was quite a while before we returned, this time on the evening of Sunday 24th August 2003 when in fact we'd moored at Little Haywood, but ended up walking to Great Haywood in search of food!
The pub had undergone a complete makeover in the intervening 12 years.

It wasn't long before we returned, another evening stopover on Tuesday 6th June 2006.
Another complete transformation.

We returned again on the evening of Tuesday 1st June 2010 and another redecoration! And the beer garden had been fenced off from the road.

It is interesting to note that in the same period, the Clifford Arms has barely changed at all.

Our final visit was on the evening of Friday 5th August 2016 and this is what we found.
Obviously it had been closed for some time and converted into two (i think) houses. It's a shame, but in these modern days, not too surprising that the Fox & Hounds bit the dust. Hopefully, now that the village has consolidated down to one pub, there will be no more pub closures in Great Haywood!

Interestingly, WhatPub shows the Fox & Hounds from the days it was still a boarded up pub.

Monday, 11 September 2017

UPDATE : #028 The Canal House (formerly James Brindley), Birmingham : 1986 to 2017

This is a post that I doubted would ever see the light of day - the James Brindley pub, in Gas Street Basin, that had been boarded up for about five years, has now been resurrected as The Canal House.

My original blog post was back in 2011 and can be found here. This is how the James Brindley appeared on Tuesday 6th September 2011.

Boarded up and left to fester until 2016 when plans were announced for a redevelopment...and this is what has appeared.
formerly James Brindley

formerly James Brindley
We visited it on Monday 14th August 2017, just a few days after the grand opening. It was so busy that we couldn't find a seat to only have a drink (too old and knackered to stand these days!). It is now more of a restaurant than a pub, but it was well done out inside and if they can maintain that level of popularity on a dull Monday evening, then The Canal House will be a roaring success. I assume that it will setle down to a more regular pattern of trade, but I am hopeful that it will be with us for a good number of years to come.

If you fancy a visit, the website is here.

Friday, 1 September 2017

UPDATE 4 : #008 The Navigation, Lapworth, Warwickshire : 1986 to 2017

Since our last visit in 2012 we've only had limited opportunities to return to The Navigation as we no longer have our moorings nearby.

We did visit on the evening of Wednesday 1st October 2014.
 I briefly reported on it here and it was a good night in a well refurbished old favourite.

We returned at lunchtime on Sunday 13th August 2017 and I'm pleased to be able to report that it is still as good as ever.
The exterior has been repainted and it is no longer The Navigation "at Lapworth", presumably because it is actually in Rowington. The greenery looks as though it is about to take over, but I'm pleased to report that the streetlight is still unchanged!

Inside, the new owners have maintained the 'pubby' feel in the bar by making it lighter, but also by keeping the uneven floor with the general layout and seating staying the same. The food and service were both excellent and the atmosphere was enlivened by landlord Mark collecting winning bets from his regulars on his beloved Huddersfield Town's first win in the Premier League. (The 'teletext' verion of the top half of the table was the only thing allowed on the telly...presumably until Man United knocked them off the top a few hours later!)

The beer was also up to a high standard, I sampled the Lapworth Gold which was excellent.
I blame Retired Martin for corrupting me as I'm now tryling much more of the real ales on offer than ever before...but I still drink Carling most of the time! The Lapworth Gold is brewed by Byatt's, a small brewery near Coventry (and a new name for me!)

And finally...a man walked into the bar with his son and asked for a half pint of the hand pulled Guinness as he'd heard so much about it and just happened to be driving by. Yes, the only hand pulled Guinness in the UK is alive and well at The Navigation. The verdict? Very good he told me just before getting back into his open top E-type and disappearing into a lovely Warwickshire Sunday afternoon.