Wednesday 5 June 2013

Vanishing Pubs

As I've surveyed shops in the past few weeks I've been completely amazed to see how many pubs have closed in the past 2-3 years. I wrote about mapping former pubs a couple of years ago.

Vernon Arms
The one that provided the initial idea for this post : Vernon Arms, now a Sainsbury's Local
This is a photographic selection of some I have encountered in Nottingham over the past few weeks, with a sprinkling of ones which closed long ago, but which I used to frequent. I've tried to be reasonably eclectic in my choice of pubs and their current uses, unfortunately I didn't realise that a Police Station was a former pub.

Not all of these pictures are very elegant, at least in part because I'm not a fair weather mapper. Many are shot into the sun or the light was otherwise poor. After a while I realised I was seeing so many of these I started trying to be a little more careful in taking photos. Although these were originally OpenStreetMap survey photos, I soon realised I was documenting a significant phenomenon, and took a little more care with later ones in the sequence.

Of course pubs were used by some, such as Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, as drinking dens. However, many of the large inner city pubs (like the Old General, Le Grand, and The Albion) were not just pubs, but meeting places for clubs and societies. The Old General, like many Nottingham pubs in working class areas, had an upstairs room which was used by a lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB), sometimes known as the "poor-man's masons". Others had function rooms, where in the late 1950s and early 1960s you could see the like of the late Alvin Lee, which gives me the excuse to insert the following irrelevant clip:.

Pubs no longer provide this wide range of  community functions. Now they have been hit by a multitude of factors: cheap beer in supermarkets, huge changes in demographics (as witnessed by the two mosques), fragmentation of their communities by urban 'regeneration', the Beer Orders, pubcos, indifference of the student population to traditional pubs, rapacious landlords, violent customers and probably benign neglect from the council.

So without more ado here is a further selection of former pubs and their associated lamp posts:

The Running Horse
Running Horse, Huntingdon Street : has had a chequered recent career as a music venue.
 Murphys Bar
Murphy's Bar, Upper Parliament Street
The Apollo Hotel, Bulwell
Apollo Hotel, Bulwell : demolished and now a hand car wash.
A similar fate has met The Swinger just North of here.

The Scots Grey, Bulwell
Scot's Grey, Bulwell : for sale. Briefly called The Venue.
Le Grand, Hyson Green
Le Grand, Hyson Green, now a mosque.
Clarence Hotel, Alfreton Road
Clarence Hotel, Alfreton Road : for sale and not trading
The Albany, Hyson Green
The Albany, Hyson Green : not open on a holiday
John Barleycorn
The John Barleycorn, Nuthall Road : demolished
Nottingham Arms, Radford
Nottingham Arms, Radford : now housing
The Crystal Palace, Clumber Street
Crystal Palace, Clumber Street : this was my local before it was sold by the brewery to be converted into a clothes boutique. For most of the time since it has been an amusement arcade. After a period of being vacant it is now a bookies
Bear and Staff
Bear and Staff : converted to shops 20-30 years ago
Market Side, Sneinton
The Market Side, Sneinton : another pub for sale with no sign of current trading
The Fox, Sneinton
The Fox, Sneinton : another one of my locals, now a lawyer's office.
The Jester, Sneinton
The Jester, Sneinton : in the process of being converted to a mosque.
A nice touch is that the inn sign has been retained but the new name.
The Hermitage
The Hermitage, Sneinton : now called Noor (I assume a restaurant)
The Old General, Hyson Green
The Old General, Hyson Green : due to be converted into student flats
Rose and Crown, Alfreton Road
Rose and Crown, Alfreton Road : a relatively early example of a conversion to student flats
ISeven, Canning circus
Seven, Canning Circus : has been boarded up for a while.
The Wheatsheaf, Ilkeston Road
Wheatsheaf Inn : now a pharmacy.
Old Peacock, Ilkeston Road
The Old Peacock, Ilkeston Road : like the White Horse appears in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but is now moribund.
The Generous Briton, Alfreton Road
The Generous Briton, Alfreton Road : now a chinese restaurant
Three Wheatsheaves, Derby Road
Three Wheatsheaves, Derby Road : still open, but the for sale sign is a bad omen.
The Marquis of Lorne
Marquis of Lorne, Salisbury Street, Lenton : boarded up.
I first surveyed this pub 4 years ago and had to go inside to see if it was trading even then.
The Gregory, Radford
The Gregory, Radford : just completed its conversion to student flats.
White Horse, Ilkeston Road
The White Horse, Ilkeston Road : the pub where Arthur Seaton falls down the stairs in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, now a kebab fast-food outlet.
The Langham, Radford Road
The Langham, Radford Road : now a kurdish restaurant
Newcastle Arms
Newcastle Arms, North Sherwood Street : converted to flats.
White Lion, Alfreton Road
White Lion, Alfreton Road : now a convenience store.
The Local, Alfreton ROad
The Local, Alfreton Road : moribund.
There is a more comprehensive listing at the Lost Pubs project, and there are many Geograph photos dedicated to other pubs in Nottingham.

And the pub where Alvin Lee played? It was knocked down and is now housing:

The Cocked Hat
site of The Cocked Hat, Broxtowe Lane : now housing on Campbell Close.


  1. I've probably got quite a few pics like this among my OpenStreetMap photos, but maybe I should make a collection too. I spot former pubs quite a lot in residential areas of London, sometimes with nice tile decorations which make it obvious what it once was.

    You should join this flickr group:

  2. There are loads of dead pubs near me, too, which I've thought about tagging. In addition to "amenity=dead_pub" for buildings in limbo, I'd assume that if a pub definitively changes use (to flats, a supermarket, mosque etc) but is still the same building and potentially recognisable as a former pub, it's worth adding "amenity:disused=pub" or similar, but if the building is no longer recognisable at all (or demolished) then the fact that it used to be a pub is not suitable data to record in OSM. Would you agree?

    1. @Pgd broadly I'd agree with you, although around Nottingham we tend to use old_amenity=* with associated old_name=*, rather than amenity:disused which is a bit ambiguous (is it a pub, but disused or something else which used to be a pub).

      Ideally Historical OSM is the place for pubs which have completely disappeared, but I must admit to having added a few nodes recently: as much to create a database of Nottingham pubs in order to evaluate the rate of change.

      Mapping pubs which are now used for other purposes is pretty much essential for OSM. Many other sources of data will still refer to these as pubs (including any council open data) and the ability to cross-refer external data to existing OSM nodes is invaluable (more in next blog post).

  3. Back in the 80s and 90s the Admiral Bendigo was a lively place to have a drink, even the mice used to go in in pairs! Once saw a man (one of Del's the Secondhand shop owner's employees) being beaten around the head with a speaker (probably by a disgruntled customer). I used to have the odd pint at the Fox...

  4. The Hermitage pub was originally called The Admiral Bendigo, please use the proper name!

  5. @Mike Carter. It was never called the Admiral Bendigo IIRC, just Bendigo (he's the boxer above the door) who also has a town named after him in Australia.

    In general I've used the last trading name of the pub (for instance I think The Local on Alfreton Road was called something else beforehand). Some places have so many names & name variants it's hard to keep up. My all time favourite was a pub I used to frequent called the South Ealing Tavern. Not long after the pub had been refurbished friends took me to their local pub The Penny Flyer. I thought it was a bit odd that I didnt recognise the pub name in the area. To my astonishment I discovered the pub had changed its name and I hadn't noticed. The new name lasted about 2 years & then they reverted to the old one.

  6. Please please does anyone remember the The New Vic pub at the rear entrance to Victoria centre as was?
    Paul and Janet used to run it then would love to see some old photos or meet some of the people I remember from those halcyon days.thanks in anticipation.dg


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