Reply To: Shipstones Beer

Bob Williams
Forumite Points: 13,458

My own first experience was with dad at a pub long gone. “The New Inn” was in fact the oldest pub in the village, a Free House, right on top of Church Hill, on what is the second highest spot in Nottinghamshire. That part of the village lies above the pit village and is known as “t’owd village.” It had just 2 rooms, a bar and a tiny ‘snug’ with a piano. Being opened in 1926, the pit had miners gravitating there from Wales, Staffordshire (my parents), Derbyshire and the North East, even a few Irishmen. Later still, Scotland, even a few from Ireland. Accents became my speciality from a young age: my dad’s best mate at work was huge County Cork bachelor, used to stand outside the door twisting his hat whilst talking to my mam. Also used to give me half a crown, a good sum for a kid in the early 50’s. Quite funny to see my 5’4″ dad and the 6’5″ “Juddy” King together.

I learned a few old songs in that pub from a Welsh pianist and singer, Billy Brooks. He managed to play and sing with a ciggy hanging out of his mouth, was bald, wore an old trilby pushed back on his head. If the singers behind him got out of tune after several pints of Home Ales, he would shout out “One singer, one song! Shurrup!”

Stones brewery wanted an ‘in’ around our area to get some of the ale profits from hard – drinking miners. They gave the landlord the chance of switching his licence to a new pub on the outskirts of the pit village, on land they bought for the purpose. He drove a hard bargain, asked for and got a lifetime licence. My dad, who had a good position at the pit, went to the Licencing Sessions as witness on the promise of free beer for life. The pub was built and the landlord Jack proceeded to drink himself to death. His wife took over and made more profit, but when she died it went gradually downhill. It was redeveloped after I left the village in 2000, knocked down and bought for a large house which now stands there.

Stones’ tried to enter into local character by calling it “The Jolly Friar”. My dad stopped drinking there after his first night of Stones beer, returned to his local “The Forest Folk” and Home Brewery beer.

Blimey I have gone off on one again!

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