I’ve really tried but I can’t make a great case for Skelmersdale. Even the legendary 2001 edition of “The Road to Wigan Beer” saw surveying the place as a chore, it seems.

Where’s yer civic pride, pie-eaters !

But as is so often the case (Harlow, Basingstoke, Watford), Skem is a fairly desperate town for pubs surrounded by some excellent ones. The Leeds & Liverpool canal runs along a series of pubs that manage dining and drinking particularly well.

Parbold is the biggest of the commuter villages along the famed Wigan to Burscough route, and now has its third Beer Guide pub.  The Wayfarer and Stocks have been aimed at the diner, without any pretensions, but the Railway is a proper boozer.

Thrilling view from the 3.42 from Southport

Without staking a claim for the National Inventory, it impresses as a solid pub for solid people who can hold a pool cue and a dart without aiming it at a visitor, which is something to be said.

Excitingly, the Railway is also a stronghold for Tetley, which is getting to be as rare as Draught Bass in Beer Guide pubs these days.

Only a decade ago Tetley was my regular pint after work at Quarry House in Leeds, in the days when more than half the pubs in town had it as their stock beer. No sooner did it get shifted to Wolves (or wherever), than Leeds Brewery and pubs called things like “Allies of Jamon” and “Hopopost” took control of the Beer Guide.

It’s quite surprising, and reassuring, to see a Beer Guide pub with two Tetley pumps.  It looked good, with a proper head, but was a pale shadow of its Hunslet self. I’ve no idea if that’s down to the water in Wolves or just lower turnover.

That gun is for emergencies only

tt wasn’t bad, and I’d probably try it again in preference to the local beers if I popped in again.  I never learn my lesson.


  1. The Railway looks inviting even with the TV (be better without it). And Indian takeaway right across the street. I hope she gave your beer the care she gave her nails.


    1. I do like it when readers pick up the details I miss. Sadly my handwritten notes were washed along with my plus fours, and I can’t afford to pay Simon to make it up for me. She did take care of her nails though.


  2. Those Huntsman pump clips still bring a tear to the eye, the destruction of Tetley both as a brand and a product is one of the saddest industry stories of the last 20 years.
    I’ve no idea when the huntsman was supposedly phased out, hats off to the Railway for hanging onto them. I don’t remember the pub from my time, but the Stocks Tavern in Parbold was very good.


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