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02-06-2011, 09:03
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Yes, we're back in Bolton again. This time looking at the physical nature of the pub.

I'll be honest. I've never analysed pub architecture this way. Perhaps that's because the distinction between a fully-licensed pub and a beerhouse had become pretty irrelevant by the time I frequented pubs. As we saw the other day, by the 1970's there were only a couple of hundred beerhouses left. I can only remember drinking in one: The Roscoe in Leeds. I may well have drunk in others, but, only drinking beer at the time, I probably wouldn't have noticed.

The two types of pub gradually converged during the 20th century, as beerhouses were either closed or improved and given full licenses. WHich probably explains why the authors failed to find universal distinctions in the physical nature of the two types.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ygIPgRQrVjM/TdzKUFXuLdI/AAAAAAAAH8k/D8RWXAjUr4s/s400/Eagle_and_Child_Bolton.JPG (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ygIPgRQrVjM/TdzKUFXuLdI/AAAAAAAAH8k/D8RWXAjUr4s/s1600/Eagle_and_Child_Bolton.JPG)

"A pub is a house. Certain exterior characteristics differentiate it from other houses. All pubs have displayed outside, painted on the wall or on a wooden sign, the name of the brewers to whom they belong. Most, but not all, also have the name of the pub itself similarly displayed. Many have on the windows either painted or engraved the name of the room within or the brewer's name. And many have fixed on either side of the main entrance rectangular tablets with the brewer's name on them. There is no specific pub architectural style. Though false pilasters, porticoes and other stucco neo-classical trimmings are common, many pubs do not have these, and are simply ordinary houses.

The following table is the result of an analysis of the frontages of 12 pubs, 6 of them beerhouses (A) and 3 each of large (B) and small (C) full licences:

Characteristic A B C Total Sign with pub name 5 3 3 11 " " brewer's name 6 3 3 12 " " both 5 3 3 11 Tablets on door 2 1 2 5 Name of room on windows 6 1 1 8 Name of brewer on windows - - 1 1

Pub signs have never been universal in Worktown; tendency to general decline was recently counteracted by a special exhibition in London, signs by R.A.'s and speech by the Chairman of Whitbread's Ltd., who said:

"Expression in art must be within reach of the ordinary fellow. If this is so it will meet with an enthusiastic and ready response. Art for art's sake is a noble ideal but it must not be allowed to develop into a selfish thing which does not touch the hearts and emotions of the ordinary fellow"—(News Chronicle 7.4.38).

In Worktown the pub facade offers no art-appeal. The only feature common to all is the brewer's name. Tablets on the door generally denote a higher class of pub, and name of rooms on windows a beerhouse. More than half the Worktown pubs are beerhouses ; there are 19 beerhouses licensed to sell wines; and the rest are fully licensed. This may seem to correspond to the Inn-Tavern-Beerhouse trinity. In fact it does not. Though 35 of the pubs are called Inns, and 63 hotels, only 6 are listed in the directory as providing accommodation. A tour of 19 pubs, of all kinds, asking for accommodation, proved fruitless. The ancient function of the Inn as a place for people to stay at has died away. The ordinary Worktown pub, whatever its title, is not an Inn or Hotel.

All large pubs (i.e. with 5 or more rooms and/or seating accommodation of 150 or more) are full licences; but all full licences are not large pubs, and as far as size, architecture, and general appearance, some small full licences are indistinguishable from beerhouses. The beerhouse licensed to sell wines has a separate legal status, but this status is not reflected in any differentiation in the pub itself (beyond, of course, the fact that you can buy a glass of wine in it)."
"The Pub and the People" by Mass Observation, 1943 (reprinted 1987), pages 86 - 87.
The names of rooms on the windows signifies a beerhouse? That's an interesting claim. It was pretty common in the pubs I drank in during the 1970's. Common in all types of pubs, backstreet locals and gin palaces. Maybe Bolton was different.

Now there's a funny thing. All 12 pubs had the name of the brewer on a sign. But only 11 had the name of the pub. Shows where the priority lay: in identifying the brewer, not the name of the pub. I can remember coming across the opposite in Salford in the 1980's. I cam across a pub with no brewery name on the outside and no pump clips. I had to lean over the bar and peer at the bottles beer to work out that it was a Holt's pub.

One last quote before I finish:

"The licensing laws of 1869, already referred to, besides restricting the number of pubs, presumably resulted in their gradual improvement, since the consumption of drink went on increasing, which meant that a smaller number of landlords were doing better business.

From this date onwards all types of pubs were "institutionalized". Our knowledge of what the inside of pubs were like at this time must be gathered from contemporary fiction. Dickens' descriptions in Barnaby Rudge and other works give us a picture that is not very different in essentials from most present-day pubs. The greatest change must have been brought about by the introduction of the beer engine (on which historical data is obscure), which, besides tending to lower the quality of the beer, made it possible for the landlord to keep his barrels all in the cellar, away from the bar, and so serve a larger number of drinkers from a smaller space and with a smaller staff. "The Pub and the People" by Mass Observation, 1943 (reprinted 1987), pages 85 - 86."
I'm trying to work out why beer engines would have caused beer quality to get worse. Surely keeping the beer in a cool cellar rather than behind the bar would have had the opposite effect?

I've more, yes it's true, more about 1930's Bolton pubs to come.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5445569787371915337-5621345115087232168?l=barclayperkins.blogspot.com

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