I stopped at Tadcaster on the way to my gig in York, to see how they’re getting on with replacing the bridge that’s cut off east from west.


Slowly is the answer.

If you remember what market towns were like in the 1870s, before motor cars and wifi, you’ll find Tadcaster familar.

On Saturday afternoon, it is completely deserted.

That’s not unpleasant as a nosey tourist, but can’t be much fun for the businesses, including a good dozen pubs.

WhatPub lists them all without comment, with the exception of Sam Smith’s brewery tap.


The Angel and White Horse is also the only pub I can remember gracing the Beer Guide (though not this year). It’s a lovely place, and presumably the end point for brewery tours, as a smart couple pop in from an extended session of horse petting.


It’s a gorgeous, but proper pub. Over a pint of their Organic wheat beer, which could well be Paulaner in disguise, I enjoyed some proper pub bants about Pauline, village cricket and “do ya want one” in a bizarre accent closer to Peter Kay than York.


All the pubs seemed to be attractive Sam’s locals. Fortunately the good folk of Tadcaster west aren’t entirely cut off from the ale joys of the east (Black Sheep), with a makeshift pedestrian footbridge the town’s saviour.

But there were a lot of boarded up pubs in town, the floods seemingly the last straw. You’d struggle to believe this place was posher than Goole.

Visit now, if only for the wonderful industrial heritage, and see the home of Fosters in all it’s glory.



  1. Sadly, owing to many factors, not just the bridge collapse, Tadcaster is a doomed town. It has been on it’s heels for some time, owing in large part to the shallow outlook of the largest property owner in the town. I doubt if it will ever recover now. Since the bridge collapse, William Hill’s hasn’t reopened, along with many other small businesses – why should they? There are no customers and those there are haven’t got large disposable incomes (or if they do they choose to dispose of it elsewhere). Around these parts people have a love hate relationship with Sam’s (Humphrey principally, who is reviled) – they love to hate him. There is an argument that he will be seen as a philanthropist in time, providing cheap ale in pubs that would have long since closed; that is a view that will never be shared in Tad.


    1. Thanks for that perspective. I follow the Humphrey debate (e.g. onhttp://samsmiths.info) and I think you’re probably right. Certainly a great service is provided to customers, but I guess a business model that alienates the staff isn’t sustainable long-term.

      Tad has never seemed flush, but I guess you’d always expect more having seen Boston Spa, never mind Wetherby.

      It really was shocking on a glorious Saturday, partic aroud the lovely church.


  2. RM – I like a riddle; why isn’t Tad like Easingwold (a charming, thriving, busy little town), yet is sits in the same Vale of York, within a similar distance to York and even nearer to Leeds?

    Answers on a postcard to The Old Brewery, Tad.


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