Happy Staffordshire Day.

Home to our top PubMan, and still the UK’s most underrated pub county.

My highlights for Cannock may not be the same as Paul Mudge’s own list.

But I’m sure we can agree that Miss Penny (US Readers – Ms Nickel) is the sign of a Proper Pub, at least in the Creative County.

Cloudwater on keg last time I checked

Because it’s a legal requirement to compare everywhere to someone you haven’t been, I declare Cannock the Harlow of the North.


20 minutes from the big cities, motorways on the doorstep, surrounded by light industry and country parks, a dearth of great pubs.


Not sure why, but I’m particularly taken with this clock.

What is this ?
Industrial art

See how hard I’m trying to big up Cannock for you, when I could just tell you to press on to Penkridge for some proper pubs.

Oh look, is this a micropub ?

Seen smaller. Cleethorpes, I think


Actually, the most interesting thing about Cannock is this place,

For all your pink toy trucks and Elvis calendars

the only record shop in England not taking part in the lunacy that is Record Store Day (Matthew managed to spend a month’s allowance on blue vinyl and Julian Baker singles).

I resited, somehow, the cheesey chips in favour of Subway’s Spicy Italian, an all time bargain lunch.

The clock ticked towards midday (it didn’t really, it’s broken) and I looked for the tell-tale signs of a great pub.

Impressive mobility scooter there

I had a couple, well three, flat whites in the rumbustious Spoons before heading over the road for the Victorian  Well, I did after I’d held the door open for two wheelchairs, three gentlefolk and fifteen teenagers.

Not very Victorian

This sort of Proper Pub, just a bit smaller, seems to be taking over from the “High Tables and Owner’s Mates” model, and TFFT as that you kids say.

So here you get a cosy room with actual seats,”Your Song” on the radio, and proper staff who seem pleased to see you, rather than a feeling you’re interrupting their game of cards.

Carpet borrowed from Spoons

Some competent regional brewers like Castle Rock and Thornbridge, whose Lumford was able to taste of straw and sherbert at the same time.  You can tell I went on that BRAPA Beer Sommellier course.  Still, a pleasant NBSS 3.

Hardworking barman called me “Bud” and wished me a good day

I waited to see if “sensible couple” would be joined by a hispter.  Sure enough, he arrived just before I left.

Unless it was Benny from Crossroads.



  1. As Paul will confirm, Cannock also has the rather impressive Crystal Fountain heritage pub. The “hispter” looks like the identikit scruffy pub bloke you find in Sam Smith’s establishments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, Mudgie, in my experience the The Crystal Fountain may not be what it was. I’ll DM you a link to my last visit if it doesn’t work here ( as I think Martin might strip links from his posts. This is a real shame, I loved it on my first visit, and we’d bigged it up to our companions, persuading them out into the uncharted wilds of Cannock.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @Stafford Mudgie The train does indeed connect them, but only if you like a walk. Bloxwich station is some way from town, and even further from The Bell, and given my various hospital trips for knee surgery in the last couple of years, not an option. Our original plan to use the 2 would have meant very little walking, and even using the 1 is considerably less than the train. However, the train is ace for Hednesford:


      2. Stymaster,
        I understand and “knee surgery” makes you a proper member of this site !


  2. Yes, Cannock was home to me for my first eighteen years so I could bore you all day long about the many pubs thereabout in the 1970s most of which have shut with only, as t’Other Mudgie mentions, the Crystal Fountain retaining a well preserved historic interior. Black Country Ales rescued the pub several years ago from but it was very quiet and up for sale when I was there last year.
    I think the Merchant, in the Market Place where the Swan was, has about the best beer in the town centre – and the White Hart is also worth a visit. ,

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the lounge at the back is especially impressive.
        Mention of “chips” in the title reminds me of Steadmans Chippie at the side of the long demolished Market Hall. The chips were so so greasy, and it was said they could be consumed through a straw, that it was known as Greasy Eadie’s.

        The ‘Seen smaller. Cleethorpes, I think’ picture is of the Conduit Head erected in 1735 to bring piped water to the town.

        Liked by 1 person

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