Another Working Men’s Club in Knott End last week (they’re actually always full of retirees, tickers and children, but never mind), and now a Village Hall and Sports Social Club in Cookley, which will mean more to some of you than others. So here it is, near Kidderminster;


Not that anyone knows where Kidderminster (small town full of tickers) is, I dunno why I bother with these maps.

I’ll confess I’d never known there was a Stour flowing into the Severn; a good job I stay clear of pub quizzes.  The Staffs & Worcs canal flows alongside it.


Cookley is an idyllic little village, without the tourist trade of Bewdley to the west, but attracting a decent group of walkers on a bright Saturday morning. If any of them lost the glove at the top I can provide exact map co-ordinates on receipt of an s.a.e.

A year or so ago the village had a proper pub in the Guide, the Eagle & Spur mysteriously providing Caledonian Deuchars as well as a £6.95 roast.

By law you need a Banks pub within 20 minutes of your house in the Guide, so I suppose the Village Hall has a role to fill.

As with my own village, it’s an impressive new build serving as the clubroom for a vast number of children’s football teams on Saturday. Unlike Waterbeach, the teenage De Bruynes have a decent choice of post-match refreshment.

Can you guess the beer second from left from it’s jam jar ?

The Banks Bitter/Amber/Ordinary was pretty good (NBSS 3); it’s very consistent.


More tempting were the pie cabinets. Sadly as an athlete I had to resist the Black Country pork pie.


Open to all, there was an old boy on Fosters, a girl feeding her dog crisps, and a soccer Mum.  It could have been a Spoons at 11am. The view to the hills was almost glorious, and the sound of thickset Dads shouting “Winners“, “Seconds” a perfect soundtrack.

I reckon that GBG tickers like Duncan, Simon and myself will visit a dozen or so of these clubs every year, always with the slight frisson of excitement that we’ll be refused entry at the door.  Some clubs don’t like non-members Their inclusion in the Guide is always a point of discussion.

I agree with Mudge.

If a Club lets anyone in, as in Cookley, that’s fine.  If it restricts entry to GBG members or folk carrying the Guide, it’s not open to the public and has no place in the Guide. 


      1. Yup. I’ve been valiantly trying to stir up stuff that won’t be mentioned in Sam’s pubs any time soon. It’s like 2 angels dancing on an ever decreasing pinhead.


      1. I’m lovng the fact that there is currently a 65 comment narrative about use of the 24 hout clock on it. I honestly think some CAMRA members should just be hidden away on the dark web somewhere far from “normal” humanity.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure Discourse will benefit from a few more members who are prepared to stir the pot a bit, but overall it really is a deadly dull forum.

        Interesting challenge to see if you can match Cookie and Mudgie with their real names.

        It’s also worth giving a plug to the unofficial Beer and Pubs Forum which was recently set up by a few members of the old CAMRA forum who weren’t too impressed with Discourse.


  1. Er, where do you think Stourbridge and Stourport get their name from? 😛

    “I agree with Mudge” sounds a bit like “I agree with Nick” from the 2010 General Election debates 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was about to suggest that the mysterious jar might be an example of slightly watered down Plum Porter, when I realised that it was obviously an uncontaminated sample to be provided when an athletics medical inspector makes an unexpected visit for testing purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There seems to be a few clubs featured on your blog Martin,i know the GBG lists them but i am not allowed in them as i have never been a Camra member and the last GBG i brought was in 2002,i think they should be banned as all are not welcome.
    On the Samuels Smiths story about banning swearing i did a You Gov survey this afternoon and a question came up about the ban,do you agree or disagree,i disagreed,i am not a one to swear a lot but it does sometimes come up in normal conversations,so this will happen when out for a drink.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I noticed the lock gate is single and when out and about have noticed lots of single lock gates,when i was young i always though all lock gates were double because they are on the Erewash Canal,probably much more coal being pulled down it all those years ago so the need for double lock gates,well that is my guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Erewash Canal is a broad canal, which means it can take boats with a maximum beam of 14 feet. Most of the traditional canals in England, like the Staffs & Worcs, are narrow canals with a maximum beam of 7 feet. These often, although not always, have a single lock gate at the top end of the lock but (I think) generally have double gates at the bottom end.


  5. Mudge has beaten me to pulling you on Stourbridge. To my eternal shame, I have never really noticed differing types of lock gate, so you have added some fascination to my evening. Would you say that there is any geographical variation in the choice of whether a single or double gate is used?

    Alan, if ever you wish to visit a club in the GBG, just borrow a copy of the GBG from your local library. Mine has two copies. In the main I find them to be friendly places. If they weren’t in the guide, I’d never have had that afternoon slowly dozing off in the Bolton Ukranian place, thus I could never condone their removal. It’s a Good Beer Guide, if they serve good beer then they get in.


    1. I can’t say I’ve enough experience of the subject to comment on the prevalence of single vs double lock gates on narrow canals. However, this picture of Marple Top Lock, very near me, shows the classic arrangement of single upper and double lower gates.


    2. I would rather go in normal pubs than join a library to get a up to date GBG to cart around with me to do a club that would other wise deny me into it.
      Thanks for the advise,but i am a pub lover over a beer lover.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I didn’t know I was sane to begin with. How do I tell? I’ve not really noticed an upturn in form as I only go to away games. The last game in which I came away really impressed by the performance was the 2-0 pre-season friendly win against the Scunts.

      The trouble is, I often feel more welcome in a club than a food orientated pub. I also find it rare to have to provide any documentary evidence to be let in, it tends to be a case of stroll in, just as you would a pub. I think I had to sign a visitors book at the cricket club that used to be a football ground in Watford. I suppose if you were a regular they would might make you join, visitors normally seem more than welcome. That said, given the choice I would choose a proper boozer.


      1. I didn’t know you only went to away games. Is that because Hull is a no-go area because of all the BBC Culture folk ?

        You make a very fair point about admission. I can’t remember actually showing my card, I normally just say “I’m camera, I’m camera” and they take pity.


      2. The last time I paid to enter the Circle was Andy Dawson’s testimonial, the day after Assem Allam announced he had changed the name of the club. I have always supported Hull City, I still support Hull City away from home and I always will support Hull City AFC. I will return to the ground when the old git and his arrogant halfwitted excuse of a son get out of our club. That pair are not getting a penny out of me or many others for that matter. I did relent once and go to the home leg of the Under 21 cup final against West Ham United, and was pained to have to leave at half time in extra time to get back to work the next day on the last omnibus. I will never forgive myself for that.


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