More recommendations for the Southworths for when they get here in 2023.

3 trips to Ilkeston in the blog archives. One for a micro that thrives, one that died and a pub I’d actually done already.

Pubmeister has a word for that sort of pointless return, the Latin word for “duff spreadsheet update” I think.


As with much of Erewash and the lower Amber Valley, the loss of heavy industry (and the American Adventure) has not been kind to the town, particularly on the wet February night that normally heralds my visit.

Ilkeston racetrack
Late night joggers
Art Deco glories

But you can get there by rail rather than horse and cart again, and I can recommend the cheap beer local history museum.

Only 50 years out of date, it’ll be fine.

As I wrote in 2017,
“Always worth a trip for the friendly people too. A elderly gent at the lakes shouted “need a hand, my duck“. I was just about to tell him it was a swan when I realised he was offering me help with my bootlaces (I inherit that problem from my teenage son)”

BRAPA liked it, too. Some lovely homebrew bashing in Part II of his Ilk piece.

We both loved the Burnt Pig, a micro in name only.

It was St George’s Day

I doubt I’ll go in a cheerier pub all year. You’d think Nottingham Forest had just been relegated or something. A cheery English pub is a wonderful thing.”

Hello Duck” he said.


3 rooms, a mix of folk, cheap local beer, Bass tat.


As I took my glass back the landlord said “Bless ya Duck“. I could have been in Stoke.

The Observatory lost a mark for dropping the Bass on my return visit, but is still an above average drinking Spoons, with the added bonus of being able to see the stars from the top floor.

Rare new build Spoons?

Last year I excitedly turned up at the Prince of Wales for my tick, enjoying a rumbustuous atmosphere fuelled by Brexit hysteria. Whatever happened to Brexit hysteria?


In retrospect, it looks a cracker. Has BeerMat been here?

Frankly, if you’ve only got an hour between trains in Ilkeston, spend it all in the Dewdrop (top). Get there early for the baps and call them cobs/bread rolls/barmcakes to start an argument. It’s what we do.

I was unprepared for how good it still was, a decade after drinking Bass there, before Bass was cool.

Yes, Green Devil, Citra

“The jukebox spluttered out “Wonderous Stories“. Jon Anderson never sounded so tinny, but Mudgie would not have minded one jot.

With a superb half of Abbeydale Moonshine (NBSS 3.5/4) almost making up for the absence of Bass and “Get ya hands on our baps” the bap-based banter of the week, it was pub heaven, it really was.


How I hope I’ll be able to go there again soon.

24 thoughts on “IN ILKESTON BARS, BASS TAT

      1. I liked Belper. Went to one of the old mill museums there. The “valley of beer” is on our next itinerary. Although Newcastle is calling….


      2. Belper is about the most southerly Pennine valley town of that character that comes to mind.

        Yes, it’s an interesting place.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s in the East Midlands, but you’d think that you could be in West Yorkshire or in a Lancashire mill town.

        I assume that they brought the gritstone for the building down the Derwent and associated canals?

        No doubt someone will know 😉


      4. But they often call you “duck”, Martin 🤫

        Incidentally, I was wrong about the building stone. It could even have come from further south, from quarries at Darley Dale, but it was hewn all the way up the Derwent Valley.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s all too easy to get Belper and Buxton mixed up, both six letters beginning with a ‘B’, both in Derbyshire and so Midlands towns but both a bit like being ‘up North’.


    1. T’other Mudgie,
      I only got to Ilkeston last April, two years after the railway station reopened, and was on the Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket, which is great value.
      I thought the conveniently situated Dew Drop to be a very nice pub, so nice in fact that I didn’t bother proceeding to the town centre that, like Cambridge and Cheltenham, was built some distance from the railway line..


  1. Love the curtains on the dart board ! I would love to see the Brexit arguments again,I would love to have my lovely life back -National Trust , pub lunches & pashminas ,although I have to admit I am rather enjoying being Retired Pauline particularly as I am being paid in full until the end of May !

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If the urge strikes, how about a mix of Hartlepool, Newcastle, and Tyne? Have Simon guest write some university bits…


    1. Good idea.

      I haven’t been to Hartlepool for a long while, the new GBG entry looks very alluring if it survives.

      Yes, I can raid BRAPA’s Sunderland archives, he should do a post from university memories, if he has any.

      There’s a Netflix series about Sunderland on currently. The football stuff is dull but there’s some great coastal views.


  3. The “Bass Charrington” tray is genuine 1970s and NOT “tat”
    ( but maybe “tat” compared to the “Kimberley ALES” tray )

    Liked by 1 person

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