You’ll like the next few posts. Unless of course you live in Maidenhead and dream of a new Brunning & Price opening.

I was coming to the end of my West Midlands adventure for GBG19, and splashed out on a boutique hotel in Delightful Dudley (my term, not theirs).

Looks posh

Grand staircases, decor evocative of a bygone era, decent WiFi, clean rooms. The only thing the Station Hotel lacks is an actual station (thanks, Mr Beeching).

Yours for £22.  Or eleven pints in Wetherspoons.

At current £:$ exchange rates I make that about five bucks; Dick and Dave will confirm.

I could have had a bed for the night for £21, but Booking.com described that as a mystery room to be allocated at management discretion, which rather sounded like I’d end up without the “heritage view“.

Actual “heritage view” from my £22 window

I’d completed the bus journeys (better than Fife), so from now on I was on foot to conquer my last 3 ticks.

Let’s be honest.  Dudley is the butt of some terrific smutty jokes, most of them only suitable for Simon’s blog. But it gives great OS map.

All your favourite hills

Some great and unexpected Art Deco for the Jehovahs Witnesses,

Strangely seductive

some micropub Brewhouse & Kitchen potential,

All the stars played bingo there

and some curious shops.

Not really

With its cut-price casino opposite the zoo,  it’s not seedy, more sad.

Towards the centre there’s some glorious architecture.

Posher than my school
Look at the brilliant police statues

It all paints a picture of a major town rocked by industrial change, the loss of transport links, and the devastating effect of an out-of-town shopping centre.

Friday night is quiet, despite the arrival of the Beer bus.

Off to the usual suspects

I don’t know if the bus was headed for the Malt Shovel, but it’s the only GBG entry in an under-pubbed town.

The sign of quality
The sign of a probable GBG entry
The sign of a near-certain GBG entry

Yes, loads of beers, but no Banks’s. Never go for the Italian Grape Ale.

Better than it looks

Unless it’s Fixed Wheel.  It was cool and tasty (NBSS 3+).

It was also, after the little dance where the excellent Landlady says “Are you CAMRA ?” and then makes a mental calculation about minimum prices qualifying for discounts or something, only £1.39 a half.

Mind ya bonce” said the sign.  Too late, of course.

Yeah, yeah

I joined the Old Boys ignoring the golf. It must have been a Seniors competition as that old Tigger Woods was in the lead.

A bit modernised for some tastes, as Banks’s pub often were, but there’s young lads as well as Old Boys and a singing Landlady.

And I reckon it’s not just the sub-£2.80 pints that bring them in.


Next stop, Brierley Hill.  I warmed up by admiring the windows in the Lamp.



  1. Those photographs bring back some memories.
    Dudley Zoo. A trip there from the infant school, I bought a bag of (unsalted) peanuts to for feeding to the monkeys and ate them myself.
    The Station Hotel. Attending Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries AGMs there quite a few years ago.
    The Bull and Bladder. Three pints of Bathams Best Bitter in the Swan at Whiston early last evening.


      1. Gosh! Hadn’t thought of that. I think my taste must be suffering from Pub-Blog Burnout, need to spend some time in a darkened snug with some mild…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very! Particularly as we’ve ruled out Cambridgeshire until the roadworks are finished sometime this century. XX Mild available in the much more nearby Dewdrop in Hathern…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I did laugh out loud at your “Curious?” “Not really” sequence!

    So glad you ordered the Italian Grape Ale, as that was the one I wondered about. Does it taste of grapes? Or even specifically of *Italian* grapes?


  3. Ah the Station Hotel – I remember doing a ghost tour there once as it is supposed to be haunted. Perhaps the room used at management discretion is room 214 as mentioned in this link? https://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk/the-station-hotel-dudley. I didn’t encounter anything paranormal there myself, unless forking out for premium cider counts!

    The Malt Shovel seems to have displaced the Courthouse as the pub of choice in Dudley town centre, and it has been transformed from a Banks’s that was very much going through the motions previously. I always enjoy visiting the Lamp Tavern although the Bathams Mild doesn’t seem to shift that well there. My Dudley favourite used to be the Shakespeare on Stafford Street with its simple interior seemingly untouched since the 1970s, pigeon clubs and keg Theakstons tarmac with a massive head. Sadly it closed permanently a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well some would pay more for the Ghost room, I guess!

      Central Dudley is a bit pubshy, isn’t it?

      I always expect all the Bathams pubs to be in the GBG, but Lamp has been out for a while. Confess I wasn’t greatly impressed by Courthouse, too many handpumps as often the case with Black Country Ales.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s