Monday, 22 November 2010

Government Ale - no joke (2)

From NZ Truth, 1918:

"The Duke's State Ale

Government Brew Sampled by the King's Uncle at Enfield. Two Good Glasses. Workers at Enfield Small Arms Factory on October 12 last, saw the Duke of Connaught drink a glass of Government fivepenny. They are now reconciled to Government ale for all time. According to a member of the Royal suite, the Duke's feelings and judgment were appreciative. He did not stop at one glass, but tried each of the two brands of Government ale. The occasion was the opening of the reconstructed Royal Small Arms Tavern, with its bright brickwork and green shutters, and a grand menu, which includes roast fowl at eightpence, chop toad, and pork cutlets at the same ridiculous figure, and custard and stewed fruit for twopence, with "plain and marmalade" or "plain and jam" inclusive for a nimble couple of coppers. HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND WELLFED. To a large body of workers the Duke declared: "I am a great' believer in the workmen, on whom we depend so largely, being healthy, happy, and wellfed. When you are hard- at work you must have good food. "I hope this is only the beginning of these taverns which we shall see growing up round our centres of work. They will be better in every way than the old public-houses." The Duke and Mrs. Winston . Churchill later inspected the kitchens. "

Condescending bastard.


Craig said...

It could have been worse. I'm pretty sure that the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts never had it's own bar.

Duncan said...

Well, those green shutters lasted the best part of a century - and the pub lived on beyond the death of the Small Arms Factory itself but ...

Ron Pattinson said...

Duncan, that's so sad. Even worse than Government Ale.

Gary Gillman said...

Given his position and the nature of these visits, I would not call the remarks condescending, they seem part of the "package". I'm sure the men appreciated his visit.

I know your sons have an interest in military small arms and military history in general. They might not be aware that the names of two famous weapons in the British and Commonwealth armouries of 60 years ago were partly derived from Enfield. The first is the Sten gun. The "en" is from Enfield, and the S and T from Shepherd and Turpin, its designers. The en in the Bren gun is also from Enfield, and the Br from Brno in the former Czechoslovakia, an arms design and factory complex where the weapon was initially manufactured. (I understand too some good beer is available in Brno from Trips, East).

Beer and guns don't mix, but their paths cross now and again in a manner of speaking.


Rod said...


"(I understand too some good beer is available in Brno.....)"

If you're going to Brno, I especially recommend the beers of the Cerna Hora brewery - the Sklepni (Kellerbier) and Lezak (Lagerbier)are very good, as is their Cerne (black beer). The beers of the Pegas bierkeller/brewpub are also well worth trying - both pale and black lagers, wheat beer (subtly different to Bavarian style wheat) and a strong amber lager.

Ron Pattinson said...

Rod, I met my wife in a Cerna Hora pub in Brno.

Gary Gillman said...

Thanks very much Rod. I may get there by end of the year, with Prague now confirmed. These beers sound very good. Ron's book is very helpful too with good pub recommendations.

I wonder if the factory where the Bren was first made is still operating...


P.S. Ron, I thought you wrote in one of your books that you met your wife in England, at a pub after work with friends. I must be wrong since you should know!

Martyn Cornell said...

Just as an explanatory note, the Royal Small Arms Tavern would, of course, have been state-owned and run, as were other pubs in the Enfield Lock area, just like the pubs (and breweries) in and around Carlisle, which were close to the munitions factory at Gretna – taken over in the name of keeping munitions workers sober and productive during the Great War.

Rod said...

"I met my wife in a Cerna Hora pub in Brno"
That's so romantic - you remember which beer you were drinking when you met your wife :-}

"I may get there by end of the year, with Prague now confirmed. These beers sound very good."
Do try to get to Brno - there are some very good pubs there and it's easier to get to try small breweries' beers there than it can sometimes be in Prague, where it's dominated by PU, Staropramen amd Budvar.
Get my e-mail address from Ron, send me a message and I'll get back to you with some detailed recommendations. I was there 3 weeks ago.