Thursday, 22 December 2016

Beer in 1958 (part six)

There are some real surprises in the second half of the beer and money article. Like the fact the tourism brought in more money than the financial services industry. I bet that isn’t true today.

Inns and Dollars
What is Britain's biggest dollar earner ? Not cars. Not Scotch Whisky. But Tourism.

Tourism is also claimed to be Britain's largest invisible export. It earned £l80m. worth of foreign currencies last year, compared with the impressive amount of £125m. earned in 1956 by the City's banking, insurance and other financial services. Britain, in fact, earns more from tourism than Switzerland, Italy, Austria or France.”
"Beer in Britain", 1960, page 122.

I wouldn’t have guessed that the UK earned more from tourism back then than France or Italy. Who were these tourists? Where did they come from?

The next paragraph I found so baffling it took several rereads before I was certain: only three hotels had been built in the UK between 1945 and 1958:

“The brewing industry's hotels and inns play their part in all this. One of the three hotels built in Britain since the war was built by a brewer in Coventry at a cost of £800,000.

Motels too - a completely modern facility – are being built by brewers. These include the New Forest Motel near Southampton, the Devon Motel on the Exeter By-pass and the Royal Oak Motel near Folkestone. A brewer was also jointly responsible for the Dover Stage Coachotel.”
"Beer in Britain", 1960, page 122.

I still found that statement amazing. Were there really only three hotels built in that period? I can understand that while building restrictions were still in force (until sometime in the early 1950’s) it wouldn’t have been easy to build a hotel. But years had passed between then and 1958.

There’s still something called the New Forest Motel, but it’s not that close to Southampton.
The Devon Motel has been renamed the Devon Hotel and is located on the Matford roundabout on the Starcross road from Exeter.

The Royal Oak today

I’ve been able to discover a little about the Royal Oak Motel. It was built in 1953 beside the Royal Oak pub and hotel (owned by the Hythe Brewery) and was supposedly Britain’s first motel. It closed in 1989 and is now home to an advertising agency.

The Dover Stage Coachotel was built in 1957 and was, according to the Dover Historian website only the third hotel to be built in the UK after the war. It was run by Watney. It was demolished in November 1988 and the site is currently occupied by a car park.

Pubs, unsurprisingly, have always been very popular with tourists. Though I’m 1950’s licencing laws weren’t.

Major attraction to tourists
The 'British Pub' is a major attraction to tourists, especially Americans. When opening the Hotel and Catering Exhibition in January, Mr. Ernest Marples, the Postmaster General, said :

"Scores of American visitors were enamoured of our little country inns and when they returned to the States they spoke about them in such glowing terms and created such a good impression that more and more people in America were interested in them."”
"Beer in Britain", 1960, page 122.

Presumably the first large groups of US citizens to get a chance to love pubs were the millions of servicemen who passed through the UK during WW II. Though from what I’ve read many of them weren’t keen on British beer.

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