I continue my lonely campaign to save the British pub by attempting to visit as many different ones as I can. I have decided to chronicle this crusade in what, hopefully, will be a regular series of Wednesday visits to the pub. I will try and get around as many pubs as I can and provide you with a picture and a few words about the pubs in question.
I am starting with a pub called The Village which is in the West Yorkshire village of Queensbury. It is the first in the series because it was whilst I was sat in its near-empty bar a couple of hours ago that I suddenly thought to myself "I should do a new weekly series on pubs, it will give me a purpose in life". The Village is a relatively new name for a pub that has been around for at least 150 years, and I suspect nearer 200 years. It used to be called The Granby Inn, and it is marked on maps of the village of Queensbury (or Queenshead as it was then called) dating from 1852. The Granby (also The Marquess of Granby) has always been one of the most popular names for pubs in Britain : all were named in honour of John Manners. the Marquess of Granby (1721-1770) who was Commander-in-Chief of British Armed forces in the 1760s and introduced a scheme by which old soldiers could receive help from state funds to buy and operate inns and ale-houses upon their retirement.
As a name, The Granby Inn seems to be more resonant of history than The Village. And there is little history left within the framework of the building itself. It's an alcopop pup, a place of flashing TV screens and fruit machines. It is open, however, and that is a bit of a triumph for pubs these days. But the black lacquer paint and the flashing lights are merely surface manifestations; deep within the fabric of the old building, the Marquess of Granby still probably stalks the corridors.