You may remember dear reader that on Monday I came clean about my recent book buying binge? Well another tome has just landed with a thump on the doormat of Miscellany Mansions. It’s made it’s way all across the pond from America and arrived in under a week in plain wrapper as befitting such a niche publication. The initial temptation was to rip it open and devour the contents immediately, but I controlled the urge and popped the kettle on first.
Ensconced on the sofa with mug of tea and Hobnobs I opened the package and slipped the book from its cocoon along with all the rubbish that second hand book sellers seem to think you’ll want. If anybody needs a $20 off voucher for joining the “Wine Club of America” or 25% off your first four orders for “Gobble”(really?) then let me know before Monday as that’s when the bins are collected.
Anyway, back to the book. What I held in my hands was a rather sought after publication no longer in print which was published in 1973. It’s called “City of London Pubs”. Back in the day It’s authors Messrs Richards & Curl could obviously see the writing on the wall as far as the redevelopment of the City was concerned and decided to catalogue the pubs that remained open before some of them disappeared. It’s a very evocative book and some of the photographs show a London that I vaguely recollect.
Back then everywhere seemed more lived in. Visible communities rather than transient workers, a local Character on every street corner and a mixture of businesses and shops that benefitted the locals. Twenty different outlets selling your morning Mochafrappuccino within a hundred yard radius is not really a benefit. There’s also that shabby 1970s look, but perhaps that’s the B&W photos that give the impression. I love the photo above showing at the time what was considered a busy road junction. No tables and chairs outside the Victoria Hotel with young men impersonating Fishermen updating their social media and I was pleased to see that “Adama’s International Travel” had gone all out on their window display.
As I thumbed through the pages pausing only to dunk my Hobnobs a germ of an idea came to me. Take each area in the book and try and trace all the pubs listed in it, cataloguing each one existing or not as I go. I could even have a pint in each one that’s still in existence! This sort of stuff needs to be out there and I for one will step forward and despite the hard work involved will not rest until each pub has been catalogued.