My first use of “fuddled” in a post, and therefore my last.  I’m looking forward to reading the BRAPA account of Southampton; I’ll be in awe of Simon if his critical faculties held up till his own trip to Freemantle after his session in the Butcher’s Hook.


My own faculties held up just long enough to get this shot from the Freemantle Arms into focus.


I may have slightly oversold the frisson of excitement you get walking from Southampton Harbour out to the west, comparing it confidently to East Hull; I think my brain was still catching up after a trip to Mansfield the other week.

It was in fact, a pleasant stroll with the strains of “Walking on Sunshine” ringing in my ears (that’s a cultural reference for Mrs RM there).


The three Beer Guide pubs a mile to the west are the first real suburban locals you come to in any direction from the station.  There’s not as colourful as Southsea’s locals, perhaps closer to wonderful Gosport, but the Freemantle had the sort of windows I’d like in my garage, if that were possible.



Just a really cosy traditional local, so you’ll have to wait for Simon’s report on the local’s odd ways and drama over the new £5 note.  I bet they were all still there when Si got there the night after me.

My notes say “Lovely pub, daffodils, “Tubthumping”, all sitting at bar, Otter OK, proper glass “.  All you need to know.  I assume the tubthumping refers to the Chumbawamba sell-out tune rather than the bizarre alternative.

Unwisely, I decided to make a return visit to one of the other locals within 2 minutes walk.

The Waterloo had my old favourite Hop Back Summer Lightning, so of course I went into the Wellington, another Punch house, vaguely remembering scoring the beer highly here in 1976.

Once I’d attracted attention to myself by kneeling down to record the exterior in painstaking detail, I remembered to order my Chinese takeaway for when I got back to Totton.

The Freemantle had been busy enough, the “Wellie” was heaving. Quite how I’ve managed to keep the hordes out of these photos I can’t explain. Perhaps they were all in the garden and smoking shelter.

I note from the website that Bob (presumably the landlord) was leaving on Saturday; hopefully not as a direct result of Simon’s visit.



Perhaps I should have had a coke rather than the sensational Palmers 200, which tasted far more than it’s 5.0% ABV (NBSS 4).  I bet the Pride was drinking well.

This place had real life to it, even if most of it was smoking* (I’m saying nothing), and combined with some wonderful beer put this into my Southampton Top 3 along with the South Western and the Platform.  Of which more later.

How I found my way back to the station at all, let alone in ten minutes, I’ll never know.

* Ten points for identifying the particular relevance of this observation.


  1. Hop Back Summer Lightning is still a mystery to me. I try it every time I see it, and I just cannot seem to see what makes it so popular. And I will keep trying it whenever I see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 20 years ago it was the Brew Dog Punk IPA of it’s day, a real favourite. Suffers same fate as Landlord, London Pride etc; too many pumps, not enough turnover, pubs with more interest in keg and lager.


      1. Maybe more the Jaipur of its day, but as you say suffers from wide distribution into outlets that can’t keep it properly. The last one I remember having, in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, was terrible.


  2. Palmers 200 though is a favorite of mine. I really enjoyed that beer. Palmers is one regional brewer I don’t see mentioned often.


  3. I have to say that, while (as you know) I have a pretty thorough knowledge of British geography, I had never heard of Freemantle before. At first I thought you had made a spelling error, as the Australian city only has a single “e”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve the most thorough knowledge of anyone I know. Freemantle is very much a suburb, with no distinct centre in the way other parts of the city with GBG clusters like Bitterne and Portwood do.

      I’d heard of Totton but would have struggled to tell you anything about it before the weekend.


  4. Well obviously from the lack of bodies in the photos, you found a bar full of vampires. One of whom had a bit too much of the Palmers and staggered outside, spontaneously combusting in the daylight.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The lease on the Wellington has been advertised for around five years. maybe longer. It looks as though someone has taken it on as it’s now been removed from the market. It has been advertised as a bar/nightclub but this is a residential area and there’s no way a night club would be allowed here. Rumours from the locals suggest someone is busy redecorating.
    If your in the area again the Stile on the main road into Shirley is worth a visit. Not really for the great choice of beer but for the interior décor, it’s dedicated to motorbikes.

    Liked by 1 person

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