Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Wednesday Pub : The Village, Queensbury


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.

12 comments:

  1. I think there is a lot being lost in the re-naming of pubs, it's a shame. Thanks for the history of the Granby Inn.

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  2. I so hope this becomes a regular feature.
    I was surprised how many of my relatives no longer make a weekly visit to the pub, deciding to stay home instead.
    Is the atmosphere gone, or the prices so high?

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  3. A most honorable purpose for your life, Alan. I would emulate you but for the fact that we don't have pubs here, except in cities. For the most part, the bars we do have in these rural counties are not someplace you would want to take the missus, and certainly not the children.

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  4. I avoid most pubs - and especially those that advertise Sky Sports in big letters! Not that I don't enjoy watching sport but if I want a drink I'd rather have a nice quiet one.

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  5. Really interesting story of the history of the pub. And you nailed it on how modern times have taken the soul away from this little pub.

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  6. I support you in your calling to record pub history Alan, and actually wouldn't mind doing the same myself. However, as Jim mentioned above, going into bars as a woman, regardless of age, can be a rather scary proposition in these woods.

    I think it would have been nice if they'd stuck with the original name also rather than the more common, "The Village".

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  7. I'm so happy you are too! I wish we had more pubs like that around here, to replace a few of our bars..... I actually found a pub in Northfield that tries to be very British, they even sell Sheperd's Pie, and it's actually good! You even have to go up to the bar to order just like we did in England! They even have some signs about the place, like Mind the Gap!

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  8. I agree with Jenny about the Sky Sports but, if it brings the punters over the threshold... Anything to survive in these harsh and troubled times!

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  9. I've never been in it but I must have driven past that pub a thousand times.

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  10. Hello Alan:
    It is quite alarming when one sees the extent of the demise of village pubs the length and breadth of Britain these days. Many have transformed themselves in order to stay alive whilst others just seem to have withered on the vine. We are not sure whether the Marquess of Granby would be turning in his grave or enjoying ghostly reappearances at the 'Village' these days!!!

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  11. Glad to see you back to where you were when I first arrived at your blog, some years ago. Pubs around your area are of a special interest to me as I spent twenty five years of my working life, working on them. I live many miles away now, so it will be interesting to see how they have changed over the ensuing years. I look forward to seeing your reports on your weekly forays. Thanks for all your very interesting posts and photographs from the area.

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  12. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Hi ali just looking at the sign outside the village it's either been used to lean on (not by you i'm sure or it has popped in for one itself!!

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