Death Of The Pub
Posted on October 11, 2008
Everywhere you look at the moment you see boarded up pubs. The ones pictured here were taken over a couple of days in Hants/Berks and are an illustration of an industry in rapid decline.
Pubs have evolved since the 12th century and are likely to continue to do so. They date back to when everyone baked their own bread and brewed their own beer. Those who brewed good beer opened pubs, adapting to new innovations, such as billiards the jukebox and fruit machines. Traditional Pubs have certain characteristics which set them apart from sleeker, more modern bars, and they are indisputably British just like a London Bus or a red phone box.
So why are they closing at a rate of 27 a week? Ask your local landlord this and stand well back as he gives a volley of abuse directed at everything from rent increases to tied beer prices, and the smoking ban. The truth is a combination of the above though I think each pub suffers for different reasons (often an uninspiring landlord). However one thing is for certain………….beer in pubs is bloody expensive. I am in a tough financial position at the moment, but I still like to get out for a pint as I did last night. However both pubs I went to were dead (one is shutting at the end of the month) and the beer was £3.00 a pint. On Wednesday I bought 4 pint bottles of London Pride for £5.00 in Sainsburys. So four pints at home for £5.00 or four pints in a dead pub £12.00……no mathematician required.
Pubs were – and still are, particularly in London – something of a leveler in British society, a place where accountants and solicitors mix easily with blue collar workers and tradesmen. They provide meeting places for people who would otherwise never cross paths. They are offer varied real ales like nowhere else in the world – warm beer eulogised by John Major.
Where else but the pub can you find a place that so heartwarmingly combines the style of a living room with a farm house, with the added bonus of fine beers. “When you get to the pub, you leave the troubles and hierarchies of the outside world at the door,” says Pete Brown, fellow blogger and author of Man Walks Into A Pub. “When you say, ‘do you fancy a pint’ at work it means you can go offline – and relax. When we are in the pub we can be ourselves and as a nation we are quite stiff and reserved and we need the pub to give us a nudge and break down social barriers.”
Most people drink sensibly, and happily, when they go to the pub. At the last count there were 56,923 left. But every day you will have to reduce that figure by four. It’s time for landlords to be more creative, and villagers to be more supportive or this very British tradition will be gone forever and you will find yourself sat in a Toby Carvery drinking crap beer eating crap food. You have been warned!