WILLENHALL’S SCRATCHINGS MAN

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Is there a finer sight in PubDom than a pint of Enville (OK, a half) settling in a glass (OK, it’s a Wye Valley glass) in front of a giant bag of Black Country scratchings in a pub playing ’70s soul classics ?

I think not.  But you’ll have to guess the soul classic from the following;

W***   ***l   *   **e   *o*   *g*i*

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Willenhall is the place for unpretentious pubs, proper midweek street markets, Apostolic churches and an unusually brutalist home for the Heron Foods outlet. If you’ve never seen a Heron Foods, you need to get out more.

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As for highlights, the Spoons is one of the most boisterous in the UK, almost convincing me it was Friday night rather than Wednesday lunchtime, and there’s a locksmith’s house (somewhere) run by Dudley’s Black Country Museum that sounds really fun.

The Jolly Collier was so far out of Willenhall it was practically in Short Heath, which has had a few pubs listed under it separately in the Guide over the decade. Professional pub tickers can get very confused by places moving seamlessly between Willenhall, Short Heath and, yes, even New Invention on the western edges of Walsall.

The closer I got to it, weaving past suspicious looking school children, the more convinced I was that I’d been before.

I hadn’t, but frankly the JC comes from a fairly large family of roadside Black Country locals with the word “Darts” on a blackboard outside and your ’90s best bitters on the bar.

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With a cask line up like that you can assume a pub is in the Beer Guide on quality rather than novelty value, and the cool, tasty, Enville was worth at least NBSS 3.

The main items of banter among the 3 lads at the bar were;

  • The arrival of Mr Scratchings with his big bag of scratchings
  • Slimming World meals – what the flip !
  • Artex

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Look to the left of the photo and you’ll just see a bunch of flowers being delivered for the Landlady, a rare occurrence in your average Ember Inn I’d guess.

A Landlady who said “Cheers Darling” as you leave, which may explain a lot.

Back in town, I stopped to admire the Falcon, looking majestic in the shadow of the Gomer Street tower blocks.

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BRAPA will love Willenhall as much as I do.

 

24 thoughts on “WILLENHALL’S SCRATCHINGS MAN

  1. I did 20 pubs in Willenhall on the 11th March 2000,i did The Falcon when it was a free house.
    I have not done the Jolly Colliers though,one up on me Martin with that pub.

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  2. You never got back to me about what pub you had to do in St Margarets in London,i have done all pubs there Martin, so was intrigued as to what pub it was.

    On another note i am undecided as to go to Scunthorpe for the first time next Saturday £27.90 from Nottingham or Bristol and do the Fishponds area for &43.22,my good wife keeps saying go to Bristol as i like it so much there,but there are six Samuel Smiths tied houses in Scunthorpe.

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    1. Sorry Alan, I wasn’t sure about the reference to St Margarets until I realised the Crown (Richmond Road) is the new Beer Guide pub on that page I haven’t done yet.

      You have to do Scunthorpe sometime, Alan. I’m amazed there’s six Sam Smith’s pubs there. Probably dotted round the suburbs though.

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    2. I wasn’t aware there were any Sam’s tied houses left, and certainly not that many, which ones are they? I understood the entire estate was entirely run by brewery employed managers now? There are some free houses that sell Sam’s products, usually the keg lagers and the excellent stout, and very occasionally OBB.

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    1. Taboo was on back in January this year. The house in that was pretty generic Georgian – they’re not exactly two-a-penny, but they’re not that uncommon anywhere that was inhabited back in those times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Was it ‘The Mr Scratchings’ of Low Moor Bradford? An ever present fixture at Leeds Beer Festival or just a delivery person?

    There’s an interesting account of Pork Scratchings on their web site which may be of interest to your foreign readers;

    Pork Scratchings originate in the Midlands where it was traditional to fatten pigs up for St Steven’s day when they would be slaughtered and all the pig used. Strips of skin and fat would be cut in to chunks and deep fried, they would then be stored in jars in the larder and enjoyed throughout the year.

    Pork scratchings arrived in Yorkshire in the mid 19th century when workers from Derbyshire came to work in the mills of Bradford and Leeds and surrounding areas. They were a popular snack food to have in the pub with a pint of beer. And still are!

    Pork scratchings are not only popular in the British Isles they are also popular in other countries where they go by different names: USA – pork rind; Australia & New Zealand – pork crackling; Canada – scrunchions; Bulgaria – pruzhki; France – gratons; Spain – chicharrones; Holland – knabbelspek (nibbling bacon); Austria – Schweinekrusten (pig crusts) ( source Wikipedia )

    In parts of China it is believed that pork rinds have medicinal properties that include benefits to the skin and hair.

    Liked by 1 person

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