I have been writing the Tideswellman blog since 2004, yet, For some reason I have thus far failed to write a post about Tideswell Pubs. Odd really, given that I spent an inordinate amount of time in them when I was a young man.
My Dad had always told me about the many pubs that there used to be in Tideswell when he was a boy. Since those days in the 1930′s/40′s a lot of pubs had closed. Names like,Three Tuns Inn, The Peacock, The White Hart; The Old Hart Hotel; The King’s Head; The Marquis of Granby; two Miners Arms; The Dog Inn; The Gate Inn; First Drop Inn or The Bellevue; Cliff Inn;The Angel Inn; The Bull’s Head and the Black Horse are just some of the pubs that have gone.
When I was a boy growing up, there were five pubs in Tideswell and four just outside. The Horse and Jockey, The Star Inn, The First Drop Inn, The George Hotel, and The Ex Servicemans Club. The Anchor Inn is just outside the Village, The Anglers Rest is in nearby Millers Dale. Within Walking Distance is The Red Lion at Litton, and The Three Staggs at nearby Wardlow Mires.
It’s very easy to overlook the role that the village pub plays in our lives, they are so central to the life of a village it is easy o see how they can be taken for granted. Neither of my parents drank in pubs in my formative years, but the pub was still somewhere I found myself regularly, even before the days of partaking in a few jars.
I was aged around eight years old when I went into my first Tideswell Pub. The pub was most probably the George Hotel. This was the result of a childish fad which involved following the crowd I’m afraid. I enrolled in the Dance class that used to be held in the back room. I wasn’t any good at dancing (Another stereotype smashed, right here). I spent most of my time hiding under the tables with Marcus Roberts and Dave Ponsonby. Oddly enough though I still remember all the moves to the cha-cha-cha.
The Horse and Jockey
The next pub, I frequented was the Horse and Jockey. My mum had a job as a cleaner there. She was working for the landlady Mrs Dunn. I can see Mrs Dunn now, in my minds’ eye though I rarely ever saw her to speak to. I used to tagg along with mum when she used to her job. I used to do a bit of bottling up, I can’t say I really remember much about it, in truth I think I was a bit young to be doing that job. Mrs Dunn used to hold many a raffle to which Gerald (Geddy) Hodgson would often provide the prize. He could usually be found enjoying a drink and a cigar, with his large German Sheppard “Shane” lying at his feet.
Mrs Dunns Ghost stories stick in my mind to this day. I remember mum telling me about how Mrs Dunn had been working in another pub before running the Horse and Jockey. This pub was apparently haunted. She told how she had seen a nun walking down the corridor, and then turn into a room that wasn’t there. There was also a more chilling story about a young boy who could be heard crying in one of the bedrooms. Yet, whenever you entered the room, there was no one to be found. Despite these stories taking place in another pub, I never liked to be in the Jockey on my own after hearing those stories.
It would be years before I’d go in the Horse and Jockey again. The next time was a celebration. I was about 15 and Tideswell United under 16′s had just won either the Cup or the League. We were all there celebrating drinking champagne out of the trophy,thanks to a few proud dads. We were all doing the conga round the pub, all smashed and high on life. Happy days, I never did get my medals though.
The George Hotel
In my early teens I was desperate for money, the prospect of a job at the George Hotel was too good an opportunity to pass up. The landlord was Dale Norris, I knew his daughter, who was in the year below me at school. Dale had built a decent reputation for serving good pub grub. He had several local people working for him. I was one of them and most probably the worst.
The George, had a bloody great Pool table, and it was the centre of the village in early evenings.
The pool table was moved by a recent landlord, much to the chagrin of many locals.
People would go to the George, play pool and then later head over to the club. I never really got to know Dale Norris at the that time, he was a successful businessman, and I was just some oik of a kid. However in recent years we have struck up a bit of an Facebook friendship. We share a love for Tideswell and for the documenting of local history. I asked Dale to summarise his time as landlord of the George Hotel. Here’s what he told me.
“I arrived at The George Tideswell, 17 October, 1980. It was a terrible rainy day, that seemed to go on for a week, as we moved in everything got soaked. I had never served a pint of beer in my life, I had been in business, with Fruit Shops and Wholesale of the same. I Can remember it was a complete change in anything I had ever done or known. It was a terrible struggle for me, in those early days, and it took a long time for me to come to terms with it all. If I had been asked, if I thought I would do that job, for the next 21 years, I would have thought the person asking, was crazy. But I grew into it, all the terrible lows, and the heady highs, and was lucky enough to survive, healthwise, to be there on the final evenings, to shake the hands of countless Tidza folk, young and old. Tideswell, and its people, will always have a massive place in my heart, but then, I think you all know that. “
Dale has been building up a great collection, of photos over the years, and recently he has shared them on Facebook. He created, a group called “Friends of the George“. He has also created video slideshows on YouTube of the same photos. A great resource for Tideswell, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The Star Inn
‘The star Inn’ is on High Street, it was always a pub of some mystery. It was where the builders went to drink, it was where deals were done. During my teenage years, it was run by Alec and Mary Fairey. Alec was a builder and Mary was a landlady not to be trifled with. We (Myself, Emma Furness, Philippa Hunstone, Antonia Hunstone, Robert Lingard et al), used to go in there as teenagers, taking advantage of some rule that teens could go in pubs and not drink alcohol. One or two of us would chance the fake id’s (Me and Mark Duffy) but who were we kidding in a village where everyone knew each other? In the 1980′s pubs had to close at 11.30. It was however, rumoured that if you were in before 11pm you could have your breakfast in the Star. Of course that was just a malicious rumour.
The First Drop Inn
A bit further up the road was ‘The First Drop in’. It had previously been known as ‘The Last Drop Inn’. My experiences in ‘The First Drop’ were truly character forming. During the tenure of the Tickners ‘The First Drop’ was one of the Places to go. Thursday night was ‘Drop disco night’. Holy hell, those nights were jumping.
There wasn’t a Thursday night when we weren’t blind drunk. Tideswell people get to meet people from all over the Peak District and beyond. Buxton people would come, Hope Valley People would turn up, Matlock folk, Ashbourne and Hartington People, Even Chesterfield and Sheffield folk. And after the Pub closed for the night, Tideswell’s only chippy at the time, did a roaring trade. There were quite a few love afairs and punchups started on those Thursdays.
Ex Servicemans Club
Next, I’d like to take a bit of time to talk about Tideswell Club. Tideswell Ex-Servicemans Club was a special place. Most Tideswellians have spent a few happy hours in there, literally. I first went in there as a boy. My Friend Nicky Orr’s dad, Lionel used to run it. We would often go in to play snooker. Once I’d turned 16 I became a member, it was a private members club that accepted members at sixteen. A loophole allowed all members to enjoy a beer, so it was especially popular with every sixteen year old in the district. I used to ride my motorbike up to the club and park up. Go in for a game of pool. I used to play “Substitute”, by The Who” on the jukebox.
Some people didn’t like us playing the old Rock and Roll tunes, Lee Skidmore and I would play the same track over and over, just to wind people up. We always sat in the same seat, by the Juke box and close to the pool Table. There was an old Chap named Bill Lawrence who used to come in for a glass of port. We were all in awe of him as he seemed so old but , he always used to turn up for his drink. We’d practically fight to take him the drinks.
Christmas, Wakes and every other notable occasion was always marked in the club. The disco’s there were a source of community cohesion that you just don’t find nowadays. The cut price beer and large open spaces made it a real winner with the clientele.
After many years the club closed for a while, it reopened for a few years as ‘The Cross Daggers Inn’, which was the name of a pub that had stood on its site before the Ex-Servicemans was built. Sadly the Cross Daggers didn’t last. Earlier in 2012 the place was demolished. I’m so sad that Tideswell club has now been demolished. But the old has to make way for the new, it’s the way of the world, always has been.
The Anchor Inn
I’m most likely to do a terrible disservice. Because The Anchor is out of the village I rarely venture up there. Sadly the only time I find myself in that pub is for a wake. Being close to Tideswell Cemetery it’s the ideal stop of point for winter funerals. However, many Tideswellians have stories to weave about this pub. Perhaps they will share them in the comments section.
Please leave a comment below (not on facebook), tell me all about your memories of Tideswell’s pubs, and the happy times you had within them.