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London Night & Day,*edited by Sam Lambert and (the headline act) illustrated by Osbert Lancaster, was intended to help visitors to London during the Festival of Britain and, of course, contains a section on pubs.

It is written for complete newbies and so explains in minute detail things which would probably have seemed obvious at the time. To readers 65 years on, however, this detail is extremely helpful. For example, though the pint is very much the default measure these days, our anonymous advisor says:
You order… by asking simply for a bitter, a mild or a Burton and you will be given a half-pint. If you want a pint you must say so.
The default type — what you get when you ask for just ‘beer’ — was, apparently ‘mild ale, which is also called “wallop” and is the cheapest and weakest… and maybe not what you expected’.
There is the usual breakdown of the main types of bar within a pub (public, saloon, jug-and-bottle) and of the most commonly found beer in bottles (light ale, brown, Guinness, Bass, White Shield Worthington).
Chapter header by Osbert Lancaster.The author also attempts a taxonomy of pub types coming up with (a) the alehouse ‘which follows the functional tradition in its use of solid carpentry, scrubbed wood… and “grained oak” or “teak” paint’; (b) the city tavern where ‘wines and spirits and bottled beers tend to take precedence over beer-in-cask’; (c) the gin palace — ‘the great Victorian contribution to the architecture of drink and… one of England’s most prized possessions’. Half a page is then given over to raging about the damage being done to such*pubs by magistrates (the loss of ‘intimate little bars’ in the name of supervision) and brewers who ‘are putting in jazz wallpapers [and] chromium bars’ as a ‘beastly development of genteelism’.
The main event is a six-page listing of notable pubs. These being tourists attractions and recognised heritage buildings even then most are still standing, and trading, and retain some of the atmosphere described here. (The bar staff at The Antelope on Eaton Terrace probably don’t wear white coats these days, though, and the Hole in the Wall at Sloane Square Station is long gone.) There’s plenty of meat here for anyone wanting to take on a Will Ranner or Des de Moor style pub-crawling challenge.
The book was updated and reissued several times (it might be interesting to see how the pubs section changed over the course of a decade)*and original paperbacks of later editions can be found at quite reasonable prices. Because we wanted the 1951 text we got hold of a lovely 2014 reprint by Old House, RRP £5.99, which we don’t hesitate to recommend as a stocking filler for the London-o-phile in your life.
BOOKS: London Night & Day, 1951 from Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog - Over-thinking beer, pubs and the meaning of craft since 2007