Sobering statistics from today's press release by ippr.
|Region/country||Number of pubs 2005
|| Net pubs closed 2005-2009
|| % pubs closed 2005-2009
| West Midlands
| North West
| East Midlands
| South East
| East of England
| Yorkshire and the Humber
Casualties include The Abergavenny Arms.
See Camra for more details.
I don't live in the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency, but if I did I'd probably vote for this guy.
In an article on G.K. Chesterton Patrick Wright wrote this of The Secret People:
Its “secret” Englishmen can be imagined as a group of Anglo-Saxon men seated in an unrenovated pub: slow but steadfast, unschooled but instinctively wise. These representatives of native common sense have sat there, silently drinking their undoubtedly real ale while the centuries have unfolded outside and sometimes come crashing in through the door. They have seen the comings and goings of sundry invaders, and gained nothing through a long succession of rulers - from Norman barons to the triumphant puritans of the civil war. Some may have put down their glasses and wandered off to fight with Nelson at Trafalgar (”dying like lions to keep ourselves in chains”). In general, however, these English natives have not responded enthusiastically to those who have tried to rally them to the defence of their own interests: “A few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.”
I may or may not be Anglo-Saxon but this is an idea of England that I can identify with. Those people do exist, I feel that I am one of them and I feel that I socialise with them down my local, and unlike Partrick Wright I don’t find that at all sinister. The traditional English pub is a bulwark against the modern age, the last place to sucumb to political correctness, and the place where the fabled ‘Middle England’ still foments its dreadful opinions, even in this age of blogging and phone-in shows.
The pub is still a place where tradition matters and old habits die hard, which is why you might recognise this extract from Frederick Hackwood’s Inns, Ales, and Drinking Customs of Old England (1910):
It is the English practice of all others that is characteristically stupid, in that it leads to unnecessary drinking; for a meeting of friends on the common ground of a public-house is invariably celebrated by their drinking together, and, as a rule, an end cannot be put to the celebration till each man has acquitted himself by paying for ‘drinks round’ - and therefore the larger the party the larger the number of drinks taken, and probably all of them except the first quite unnecessary, either for the quenching of thirst or the celebration of a happy meeting.
Hopefully this goes some way to explaining my essay on What England Means to Me.
I was getting bored of the two polls in the sidebar so without further ado I am changing them for this one.
Naturally any poll of this immense importance is bound to be contentious. There are some notable bars that have been omitted from the poll - Stolli's, Cook County Saloon, The Backroom Vodka Bar, The Attic - but as only twenty options are allowed I have been quite brutal and cut the more 'clubby' bars from the list. Other pubs and bars that are a bit more off the beaten track have been included though, such as my local 'The Garneau'. The bar scene of Whyte Av is a subject that Little Man in a Toque, assisted by a team of dedicated researchers, has been researching extensively since May. We've received no federal or provinicial funding to assist us in this task.
I will report my findings at a later date so as not to influence the outcome of this poll.
The results of the previous two polls follow. Thanks to everyone that voted.
With the new football (the game played with the feet) season around the corner, and with the mighty Chelsea kicking off the season against newly promoted Wigan Athletic it is comforting to know that just down the road from my house there is an English pub where I can watch the games.
Pictured on the left is Bass Pale Ale. Bass & Co enjoy the distinction of having the first registered trademark in England (the red triangle), which also happens to be the oldest registered trademark - that exists to this day - in the entire world. And as if that wasn't distinction enough the home of Bass Breweries is Burton on Trent, the place where I was born.
UPDATE: In comments Alfie has directed me to this painting by Edouard Manet - the barmaid could do with cheering up.