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The Red Hand cometh

I got my scanner working again. This means I can scan in some pics from a couple of magazines I picked up from a tat stall (sorry – “breweriana” emporium) at the Great British Beer Festival in August.

Since doing Hops & Glory I’ve been fascinated by Allsopps – the forgotten man of Burton. By the mid-fifties they were Ind Coope and Allsopp and their days as the brewer of the first Burton IPA were almost forgotten. The industry was undergoing massive change, and you get a snapshot of this change in the pages of The Red Hand, the staff magazine they published. Some of these are fascinating, others unintentionally funny more than half a century since they were published. I’m going to mix them up and post a few over the next few days.
Here’s the opener, from a magazine published in 1956:
There’s all sorts happening in Ind Coope & Allsopp’s pubs. The barmaid at the Fox and Hounds has been “televised as one of the prettiest girls in the Leeds area”. It would be beneath you to make a crack about what this says about the standard of prettiness in Leeds.

Next, Mr and Mrs Parker enjoyed their Golden Wedding Party down at the local:
But my favourite has to be the Admiralty Tavern’s Easter bonnet parade:
The serious point here is that this all challenges the idea that pubs were until recently the preserve of blokes. These pics show the pub as the obvious place to go for any event, the beating heart of the communities they inhabit. Landlords – come on, we talk about all these pub closures and declining attendance – you can’t get an Easter Bonnet Parade with your 24 pack of Carling from Tesco’s can you?




Good point – "pubs used to be male-only bastions" is one of those pervasive myths about the industry that have grown up. Disproved, of course, by the presence of Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell in the Rover's Return in early editions of Coronation Street. It may have been true for pubs next to coal mines and steel works, but there hasn't been a time in living memory when pubs as a whole didn't have a substantial female clientele.

"There was very little cask beer about in the early Seventies" is another one.


I wonder to what degree this is about the loss of the pub at the heart of community as opposed to the loss of community. A few years ago we moved and started going to a church. My Dad was a Minister when we were kids and one who had a certain type of non-wowser but very active church. Walking into this new place was like stepping back into 1972 when I was nine and there were 97 great aunts handing you a cookie and 97 great uncles telling you not to run so fast.

What you see in these photos is another sort of lost community. We can't even relate. She was probably the prettiest girl in Leeds when you spoke to her. The medium of the photo lets us down. We don't see the Easter parade as a goofy joke to the participants, we see them other than us through a dead camera's eye. Then between now and then the television intervenes and we stop always getting together for our entertainment. Then the internet comes along and we sit alone and type our thoughts out for the "social network" when we don't even know the colour of the paint on our neighbour's living room walls.


yeah Pete get over yourself Mrs GR Wood of Leeds is H.O.T. More scans of 50's slightly uptight pint pulling lovelies please !!


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