A mate of mine was clearing his late mother's house and came across a book he thought I'd like. Too true I would. It is an unusual "beer book" as it is written by a pub architect and gives a great insight into how breweries designed pubs, their thinking behind designs and a lot of "do's and don'ts.
Written by Ben Davis, the book, The Traditional English Pub is dedicated to "the memory of the Architects Department, Ind Coope Ltd, disbanded on 3oth May 1980" and was published in 1981. The author doesn't confine himself to architecture, as there are chapters on Understanding the Pub, and sub chapters on breweries, licensees and some case studies. His observations on the "Essence of Pubness" are simple and compelling. According to Davis there are five essentials that a customer consciously or sub consciously seeks in a pub. He likes to feel welcome. He likes to feel at home. He likes to give and enjoy friendliness. He likes a good hearted atmosphere and importantly, "he likes a sense of continuity." He goes on to explain how a good pub architect will try and make these qualities easier to achieve by good design, whether by new build or refurbishment. At the end of the book, written by Frank Bradbeer, there is a Pub Design Guide which explains the steps from concept to completion.
While some of this is pretty dated, it is a simply fascinating read and takes me back, in my mind to the 1980's, but in a good way. It is also interesting that the author determines (and I agree with him) that the pub is a English rather than British institution. As Davis puts it "The pub is English. The Scots drink in bars, and the Welsh, bless them, will drink anywhere. The Irish had the good sense to hold on to the pubs the English gave them, but their native manner of drinking is in grocers' shops." Perhaps these observations may not meet with unqualified agreement, but I reckon I can see what he means to a fair extent.
The book does hark back to a lost era and clearly Davis was an Ind Coope man through and through, but in some ways, reading it now, that is its strength and a reminder, that contrary to popular opinion, pubs didn't just happen. They were often designed by very clever men and indeed, as the author makes clear, women.
The author on handpumps: "they have a sculptural strength and elegance which, even regarded as abstract form, gives delight."
The Traditional English Pub. A way of Drinking is published by the Architectural Press: London. ISBN 085139 055 2
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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