‘Let’s have a smashing time’

Staffordshire Arms pub

Story and Photo by Kate Sheldrick

Pete and Jim are getting ready for their regular Sunday pint, and want to revisit the pubs they went to twenty years ago…

Pete: 20 years ago! doesn’t seem a long time sometimes, but at other times it does. Apparently it’s our China wedding anniversary this year so what are we going to do to celebrate? The girls will be expecting us to come up with something!

Jim: How about a pub crawl – we all used to enjoy those – we can start to plan it now and let the girls choose the final route – they’ll like that, and it saves any disagreements about where next!

P: Plan, what do you mean plan, we used to just make them up as we went along… must be getting old.

J: So, Ancient One, where should be start? We can’t do the whole of Burngreave, but we could do bits, so which bit first?

P: Pitsmoor of course, it’s the easy option, the Bay Horse, Pitsmoor, Tollgate and, if the legs allow, the Sportsman – would the pub quiz be a good idea? But can’t do them all any more, and it’s not our fault.

J: Huh, yes. Forget about catching the turn at the Gate – it turned into a restaurant and now it’s a shop, and the Sportsman’s a carwash and Shisha Lounge.

P: What about round Ellesmere Green, there’s the Grapes, the Gower…

J: Turned into a shop and that doesn’t look very open.

P: The Royal Oak, the Albion…

J: Became part of the Undertakers and now’s a shop, but the Staffordshire’s still round the back.

P: The Burngreave Working Men’s Club…

J: Now a church, and the Irish club (the old Liberal Club) on Brunswick Road is now a Community Centre. The Crown on Harleston Street – my first local – isn’t open anymore, builder’s offices now. Perhaps they could build us our own pub! The East House turned into a bookies and now it’s a shop. The Robin Hood went too and the Hallcar, the Normanton’s still there though but the Carwood went. P: The Corner Pin, remember that brilliant school reunion…

J: Offices

P: Fir Vale perhaps?

J: They knocked down The Cannon Hall to build a Tesco, and they knocked down The Lime’s Club to build an Old People’s Home.

P: What about some of the outlying pubs, The Rock on Rock Street…

J: Closed.

P: The Furnival on Verdon Street…

J: Community centre, and the Highway on Fox Street came to an abrupt halt, so the Signpost did too!

P: The Timber Top…

J: Car wash, not flats.

P: The Foresters on Rutland Road…

J: Now the Forest and they do karaoke, but I can’t sing and I don’t think you’re much of a Pavarotti!

P: The Harlequin! – remember those lovely Sunday afternoon folk music sessions? There were some tears when they knocked that one down, The Manchester Hotel’s taken over the name now you know. And we’d better not forget the Wicker

J: No, we won’t do that, but there’s not much left anymore. SADACCA’s still there, but it’s difficult to tell if the Big Gun’s open or not! The Viaduct’s now a restaurant, and the Station Hotel and Brown Cow have gone. There was that little pub too, the White Horse, it went when the Steak House turned into the Travel Shop – but that’s gone now! Looks like we can’t escape from Burngreave – as if we’d want to! I still think the pub crawl’s a good idea, but I don’t think we ever thought we’d have such a bad dream that there’d be a shortage of public houses – they’re a great British institution you know!

P: I think we’re running short of beer, time for another pint. We can go into the Beer Garden, (not the Tea Gardens – that went ages ago), have a smoke and reminisce. What does it feel like to be a dinosaur?

J: A dinosaur? Who me?

Staffordshire Arms pub