Tuesday 20 February 2024

More Mablethorpe memories

There were two Bass Charrington pubs in town. The Eagle, a substantial detached Victorian building a bit outside the centre. I went in there at least once with my brother. Pretty sure they had no cask. As it’s the one and only time I drank Bass No. 1.

Just down the road, towards the seafront, was a rather good chippy. With an attached fish restaurant. A place where they served the chippy food, but on china with proper cutlery, accompanied by white sliced bread spread thinly with margarine and mugs of tea. It’s the only type of restaurant I’d eaten in before going to university.

The other Bass house was on the High Street. The Book in Hand. A pub whose narrow frontage shouted: fuck off, you’re not welcome. Just looking at it, you knew the atmosphere was shit, the beer was shit, the people were shit. They’d think you were a little shit and quite possibly kick the shit out of you.

I never visited it, oddly.

My memories are of walking past and being met by a waft of warm air. Caressing on the cheek but a frontal assault on the nose. A mixture of stale beer, fag smoke and other assorted odours I don’t care to think about too much. OK, it was much like any pub smelt at the time. Just in a more concentrated form. Perhaps on account of the narrow frontage not offering the foul air many routes of escape.

Just over the road was the was the far more salubrious Louth Hotel, a large and airy Home Ales house. In their plain, no-nonsense house style. But with cask Mild and Bitter served, as almost always in Home pubs, by electric pumps. The pubs could open crazily early – 10:00. And the Louth always seemed to do a surprisingly good trade in the two hours before midday. The democratically-priced beer might have been the key.

Much to my regret, unlike Skegness, Mablethorpe had no Shipstones pub.


bigLurch Habercom said...

Hi Ron, I have family that lived that way at about the time you were in Mablethorne and can tell you that you would NOT have had the Shit kicked out of you, you would have had the F++K kicked out of you.

On a more serious note, Skegness was were I had my first pint in a Home Ales pub, a pint of Mix. This seemed to be a common thing from what I have been told, Im sure like me you remember the square electric pumps. Green for Home Bitter and a dark red for mild if my memory serves me right.

John said...

A short bike ride (by Lincolnshire standards - depending on which caravan park you were at) would have you at the King's in Theddlethorpe, which would have (just about) still been a Hewitts pub when you were going to Maybo.

Anonymous said...

I'm an American and I'm really curious what downscale pubs like The Book in Hand were like. What were the furnishings, who were the customers, what would set them off? Was there a TV going, music, or just uncomfortable silence? What was the ratio of men to women and the mix of ages?

Were prices the draw, was it a closer location, did they take in the people the nicer places kicked out, or did the customers just identify with each other? Was there a lot of turnover of customers, or did it tend to be the same cluster for hours? How many customers did they need to serve to stay in business and how many beers did they need to sell?

I realize it's hard to generalize, but I'd love to know at some point at least a few examples of places like this and what they were like.

Chris Pickles said...

I worked at Butlins Skegness for a few weeks in 1975. Just outside the camp there was a Hardy Hanson's pub, which I never went in, a little up the coast at Inglodmells there was a Bateman's pub. I'd already encountered Batemans when I was at a cadet camp at RAF Coningsby in 1970, and knew I liked it. mmmm!

Chris Pickles said...


I'd have to say that in many years of going to pubs in all kinds of areas, I never felt under any sort of threat. In Manchester, when I lived there, downmarket pubs meant Holts. But there were some rough places, a Boddington's pub just outside Strangeways where you were hit with an overwhelming stench of disinfectant when you opened the door. But the beer was good. There were places like that in Bradford. The Washington (the Wash, you needed one after going there). Or the Harp of Erin. Smelled like the Lanry Factory. But as a fellow drinker one was never less than welcome.

I remember taking a London friend on a tour of the pubs in Salford. He wasn't happy, he said he was afraid of getting a knife in his back. I was just mystified, I never felt the least trace of any danger. I guess that was me, an innocent abroad! But maybe thats not a bad way to be.

A basic pub: Wooden seats, wooden settles, formica tables, several small rooms, hand pumped beer, floor of concrete or bare boards, crisps and nutsas the food offering (if you were lucky).

But the beer was generally good. More upmarket premises had gone over to keg or tank

Anonymous said...

An over-riding memory of pubs growing up was the influence the lady of the house would have on decor. They were like almost front rooms or parlours with doilies and china, that kind of thing. Not like American bars in the slightest - the personality of the landlord or landlady was often as much of an influence and/ or draw as the quality of the beer - and in the above cases, it was like popping into to someone's house for a chat.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you of some right kip pubs (rough pubs). The Rambler’s Rest in Ballybrack rough as a badger’s arse clientele and the Patrick Pearse near Trinity full of RA heads.