Sunday, 29 July 2012

A licensed rabbit warren

I recently dug out my copy of the 1979 Good Beer Guide to look for early examples of “beer exhibition” pubs, and was reminded of the classic description of the Victoria Hotel in St Annes on the Fylde coast - then a Boddingtons tied house - as “Unspoilt Victorian building, resembling a licensed rabbit warren”. I’ve never been there, and it doesn’t appear in more recent editions, so I thought I would look into what had become of it. It’s still there, and can be seen on Google StreetView here – a rather magnificent late-Victorian edifice, perhaps grander than I had imagined it from the GBG description. Here is a description of its history. As it doesn’t appear on CAMRA’s National Inventory of historic pub interiors I assume the “licensed rabbit warren” element has been subject to substantial gutting.

It appears that it has recently been the subject of a planning application by McCarthy & Stone to demolish it and build retirement flats on the site. It is exactly the type of pub on a large site in a suburban residential area that has been most vulnerable to redevelopment in recent years. It’s probably the only pub within walking distance for many local residents, but that is no guarantee of success. However, there is a happy ending – the local council have refused planning permission for the redevelopment. Let’s hope it can enjoy future success as a pub.

Interestingly, there is no mention of food being served in the 1979 Guide, although you would now think that would be essential to its success. How times change.

4 comments:

  1. I remember this pub from way back when. I got married in January 1977 in the church opposite this pub. When we stepped outside into freezing wind for the wedding photos, all the men on my side decided to go to this pub, so don't appear in the wedding photos. There were lots of little rooms off the main bar, each seating about twelve, called the Smoke Room, Coffee Room, Sports Room, Snug etc. It was great when we went out as a gang, six lads and six girls, as we'd take over a room. When it was time to get a round in the lads would go out to the bar and order 6 pints of Boddies, then the usual half a lager and lime, a vodka and coke, a gin and tonic etc for the girls. By the time the barman had served all the girls drinks we'd downed our pints and ordered 6 more. By the end of the evening our partners were all saying "I don't know why he's so p*ssed, he's only had four pints!" Oh, those were the days....

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  2. The Victoria Hotel Community Association was formed with express intent of saving the pub from demolition & then raising the necessary funding to buy, renovate & run the pub as a either a CIC or co-operative to benfit the local community. You can read all about our successful campaign on our website.http://vhca.weebly.com.Last week Spirit pub co told us they were putting the pub up for sale,so hopefully we'll soon be in a position to buy & turn our dream into reality

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  3. I used to go there the odd time when I worked round the corner at the Government site in Moorland Road. A smashing big boozer. I'm glad it is being saved.

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  4. It is indeed a splendid pub. Let's hope it can be saved for future generations to enjoy.

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