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Published on June 5th, 2014 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Princess Alice and the Crystal Palace

Where was Little Albert? Who brewed at the Turk’s Head? What did the Crystal Palace look like? The answers are in The Old Pubs of Gateshead, a book launched this month that traces a fast-changing town and a radically developing society.

The author, John Boothroyd, is a former manager of the Local History Service at Gateshead Library whose aim was to ensure that all the information at his disposal was not lost and to present the years from 1889 to 1939 as a social history with a slant on where people slaked their thirsts and why. More than 140 photographs show the favourite old pubs on a tour around Gateshead High Street, through East and West Gateshead and then onto Low Fell, Deckham, Sheriff Hill and Wrekenton.

Also featured are local brewers, pub architecture, and why some pubs have such unusual names.

People like pubs,” says John. “The pub is still a place to chat and unwind, a place to celebrate – and commiserate – life’s occasions. But society has changed, the world is a very different place from even 30 years ago and publicans compete in a crowded marketplace for business. The book is not the final word on Gateshead pubs, but it’s also about how the Deuchars, the Tuckers and the Calders fitted into the Gateshead pub story.

The North East was a huge market for Scottish breweries such as Lochside in Montrose, for example, and there was great competition between them and the breweries of Burton upon Trent and London as well as the local ones.

“The Old Pubs of Gateshead was a good winter project after I retired last June. I was able to pull all the information together that we had in the library, plus I had access to a good selection of photographs.

“The mapping section in the book is brilliant and you can track down exactly where each of them were – or still are.”

One of John’s favourites – although he never drank in it – is the original Foresters Arms on Derwentwater Road, a magnificent building depicted on the book’s cover from a collection of images taken by the late Steve Wood who was a photographer at Turners in Newcastle.

So, if you hanker after the likes of The Richard Cobden, The Goat, The Princess Alice and The British Queen – and Little Albert – The Old Pubs of Gateshead will bring back a memory or two and will perhaps settle a few arguments, or set them off.

The Old Pubs of Gateshead by John Boothroyd (Summerhill Books, £4.99) is available from Gateshead Libraries; The Back Page, Newcastle; Waterstones and from www.summerhillbooks.co.uk


About the Author

Alastair Gilmour



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