Sunday, 7 October 2012

Past watering holes (1)

Many a happy hour was spent in the hostelries of Chesterfield and the surrounding area.  One of my favourite haunts was the Portland Hotel, run as a family business, now a Wetherspoons hotel.  The attraction of the hotel was that it was possible to engage in drinking long after normal pub licensing hours, so long as you were in the company of a hotel guest, the latter paying for the drinks (although, of course, you paid the guest for the drink).

Many an evening was passed playing solo in the company of a local solicitor and hotel guests who stayed from Monday to Friday at the hotel.  The guests were employed by the Accountant General's Department and returned to London for the weekend.

Another regular haunt was the Yellow Lion.  Peter, the landlord, a former miner,  had strong opinions on most issues which he would regale to customers.  We used the back room which was the drinking place of Dennis Webster the full-time Labour Party agent for Chesterfield.  I got to know Dennis well and would take him to cricket matches at Derby, Burton-on-Trent and Nottingham.  Dennis purchased Hansard and would sit in the pub annotating the publication.

Across the road from the Yellow Lion stood the Corner House, a mock-Tudor building.  Sometimes our drinking party would call in for a pint, but it was not a well patronised pub, so we would quickly make tracks for the Barley Mow.

The Corner House is shown also in this photograph, which shows the close proximity of the two pubs.

The pub was run by Tommy and Ennis Andrews.  Ennis ruled the pub with a rod of iron.  Tommy had a day job as a surface worker at Williamthorpe Colliery and also found time to keep a massive allotment in a walled garden behind the Friends Meeting House.  It was a busy, happy pub, redolent with characters, most of whom travelled a few miles to be there.  Cheese and onion sandwiches and black pudding on darts, cribbage and dominoes match nights, plenty of banter and good beer (Wards).

No comments:

Post a Comment