Saturday, 21 July 2012

Gone for a Burton

I’ve recently been sent an impressive – although distinctly sad – collection of photos by a local correspondent showing closed pubs in and around Burton upon Trent, for inclusion on my Closed Pubs blog. Two of them – the Gladstone, a classic backstreet boozer, and the Union, which I don’t think was named after the Burton Union fermentation system, complete with incongruous palm tree – are shown at the right. These images are particularly poignant due to Burton’s historic status as the capital of British brewing, although now there are only two established breweries operating in the town – Molson Coors and Marston’s – together with six small micros. It’s a rather workaday place with extensive areas of Victorian terraced housing, and the traditional street-corner pubs seem to have suffered particularly badly.


  1. I remember the Union. It was a shithole.

    Burton had many pubs when it had many workers in the many breweries and ancillary trades. Nowadays: less demand, fewer pubs. Simple maths.

    I'll be in Burton next weekend and there's still more decent pubs to visit than I can manage to get to. I appreciate your sentiment, but the death of unloved pubs, even in Beer Town, isn't a big deal. Is it?

  2. Ah yes, to paraphrase Ian Faith, "the appeal of pubs is becoming more selective".

  3. One person's rough house is another's home from home. When a rough pub in Southport closed, the licensee of my local commented to people who said it was no loss, "You won't be saying that when its customers start coming here".

  4. Indeed, Nev, brings to mind this post. Even the crappiest pub is someone's local, and, while many of the pubs that have closed may have been pretty dire in their final months, the reduction in the role of pubs in society that their closures represent must be a cause for regret. Well, it is to me anyway.

  5. I agree completely, but try telling that to the prosperous, snobby beer drinkers who blandly write that we don't pay enough for our favourite drink. They'd have beer drinking lined up with wine tasting (as opposed to wine drinking).

  6. Martin, Cambridge24 July 2012 at 22:36

    I've always enjoyed Burton in the same way as I enjoy Stockport for a night out. The pubs are generally unpretentious and major on well-tended regional/national brewery beer rather than pub dining.

    There's been a fair few rough and ready pubs on the way from the station to the football ground that have found their way into the Beer Guide - the Derby springs to mind, but the choice now seems to be between Burton Brewery and beer exhibition pubs (Coopers).

    I prefer to find new gems rather than do the same half-dozen each time, though strangely always ending up in the fabulous Balti Nights.

  7. I've been to Burton a few times, or driven through it, but never really had a drinking session there. It always seems to me a place where it's difficult to get a grasp of the layout, and also hard to determine exactly where the town centre is.


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