Monday, May 02, 2011

History In A Pint Glass

SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2011
So here I sit, in the Union Cross Hotel, Halifax. On one wall, an over-intrusive television pipes silent images of extreme wresting to a deserted tap-room. Flashes of film, as long as an adolescent's attention span, show flesh bruising flesh in over-full colour. The window is dressed for the Royal Wedding : two dummies sit in mock supplication before the passing Saturday shoppers. He wears a black coat and charity store top hat, she wears a white wedding dress, the enterprising offspring of a table cloth and a bed sheet. They meet hesitatingly, coming together over a bouquet of plastic flowers.

On another wall hangs a Union Flag and I try to decide whether it is right way up or not. In some ways it is a fitting wall hanging for the Union Cross Hotel, but then I recall that such a name is a recent innovation, dating back no further than 1745. The pub was originally known as the Crosse Inn and dates back to the early sixteenth century making it the oldest inn in Halifax. In 1745, in the midst of the Jacobite Rebellion, some Georgian spin-doctor decided that the Inn should be renamed in support of the Union between England and Scotland which, at the time, was coming under some pressure from a certain Bonnie Prince Charlie. I drink up and nod in greeting to the wedding couple in the window. History in a pint glass.


12 comments:

  1. In marine parlance, an upside down union flag is a distress signal; however; I defy anyone to tell whether a union flag is upside down at a distance.

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  2. I'm right across the bridge from Halifax right now
    Of course mine is across the ocean doesn't that wow

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  3. Your comment that the name is a recent innovation, "dating back no further than 1745," reminds of an Eddie Izzard routine in which he comes to America and is shown a building that's fifty years old! He replies, with mock astonishment, "Fifty years Old! No, can't be!"

    Love your closing statement, "History in a pint glass." Fun post. Not that I'm the Decider, but it was well-written, too.

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  4. I can never remember how one can tell whether or not the Union Flag is the right way up; something to do with the thickness of the red band in one corner or other I seem to remember.

    Delighted, however, to note your reference to the Union Flag, rather than the Union Jack because, as you undoubtedly know, the latter is only true whilst it is being flown at sea.

    Great post!

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  5. Alan I so love your posts about British history. All I really know about those things are what I have seen in movies. I have watched a lot of movies in all my years and of course, for instance, my god looks like god from The Ten Commandments. I am thinking about Braveheart when you talk about England and Scotland. Is that right? I love history so I search out movies with historical backgrounds. Great post.
    QMM

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  6. i might have liked history a bit more in school over a pint...smiles. two dummies sit...is that a bit of social commentary you are playing at...lol

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  7. Those 2 dummies have a bit of a sinister look to them in the photo ... do their eyes follow you after dark?

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  8. Oh thanks for such a delightful morning treat! Love the two dummies! Glad you shared them! Enjoy your visit!

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  9. Interesting on the background of how it became the Union Cross. Crazy wedding commemorative window!

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  10. What can I say, sometimes 'kitch' just works.

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  11. Love the information about British History, in a pint glass no less. I was in Germany once and the local pub was called Hell, built on a a foundation from 900 AD. Our tour guide said, "when someone tells you to go to hell, it's a good thing here."

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  12. Great post...I thought for a sad second or two those mannequins were slightly more reminicent of Chuck and Di...

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