Today I walked to Middlewood, at the end of the Sheffield tram line. There are NO pubs there, just a Sheffield Wednesday training ground. Not that you’d know they trained.

So, instead of a dull walk, I’m bringing you the highlights from the 3rd edition of the North Yorkshire Guide to real ale pubs. (thanks again to Alastair Gilmour).

It’s a 99p cracker, setting a stylistic tone that lasted for 20 years.

Excellent maps, expansive pub descriptions, and some heroically un-woke photos of barmaids I’ll let Duncan show you when I pass the Guide on.

Yorkshire pubs looked very different in 1980. There were no women, and the bar was a cosy fug of pipe smoke and swearing about Leeds post-Tony Currie.

At least there were no guest beers. The most hand pumps I could find was this exotica in Cowthorpe’s free house;

For the usual prize, which was the Liverpool-brewed cask beer in the Black Bull in Cowling ?

Most pubs had one or two beers, and the county was awash with Bass, though not always the real stuff.

We were still years away from all-day licensing hours, but the many market towns selling artisanal cheese, old copies of AD2000 and healing crystals could at least get a few extra hours at prescribed times.

The ultimate tourist town, of course, was York, and by 1980 the CAMRA Guide had a gorgeous little map showing the pubs locations in relation to the big church and the Harry Potter shop.

Just for Mark, here’s Ye Olde Starre.

The top pic is from Selby’s gorgeous New Inn, where the photographer was reprimanded for taking interior shots of the bar.

You won’t get that sort of behaviour from me, obviously.


  1. Other than the Black Swan are there other York pubs that were in the guide then that are commonly visited now? I don’t think I recognize any others in the photo.


    1. Strikingly, at first glance I don’t recognise ANY of the names in that Guide that are in the GBG nowadays, though they may have changed names I guess. The Sam Smiths pubs are largely unchanged, of course, but the bulk of the current Guide entries are outside the centre and reflect the last 20 years changes.


      1. “The Sam Smiths pubs are largely unchanged” but Humphrey’s got rid of the TV from the Cattle Market. ,


  2. Yes. those North Yorkshire guides were an object-lesson in how it should be done.

    I’ve got a 1988 edition which shows the Black Bull at Cowling as serving Hartley’s XB and Castle Eden Ale (a proper malt-fest). Was the Liverpool-brewed beer in 1980 Whitbread’s Special Cask Bitter?

    Several of those York pubs are still in operation (and some are out in the suburbs) but none are in the front rank of the pub trail. The Brown Cow was leased to Timothy Taylor’s for a while in the 1980s and is shown as such in the 1988 Guide.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, Proper Market Days. None of this current half a dozen stalls ‘Farmers’ Market’ selling olives, jams and artisanal carrot cake the 3rd Saturday each month nonsense. In Seventies local West Country stamping ground, when love affair with pubs began, they allowed to open all day, the earliest from 10.00 in the morning (well with a half hour break from either 4.30 to 5.00 or 5.00 to 5.30, can’t entirely recall – may have varied between towns). It was Sturminster Newton, Monday; Yeovil, Tuesday; Dorchester, Wednesday; Shaftesbury, Thursday; Yeovil again, Friday. There were a few farmers genuinely wandering about buying a selling cattle & sheep… and the vast majority of people revelling in legal exemption from the standard draconian licensing restrictions of the time. Seem to remember fitting in three all-day/night weekday sessions on occasions. Don’t think we ever managed four in a single week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine Yeovil’s market being quite lively. Actually, in Malton a couple of years ago the new Guide pub was a real farmers boozers with the sound of cows coming through the window. A real throwback.


    2. I remember market day extensions – and Uttoxeter had a good one – being something quite special, and usually more exciting than going out on a Friday or Saturday evening.
      Ruined of course by ‘all day opening’ from 1988.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They were cracking days out, cuz everyone (so minded) piled into the same town and one met up with people from all over. All-day-opening not only ended that feeling of outside the norm exceptionalism; but also diffused the ‘professional pub drinkers’, who have always been a smaller proportion of the population as a whole than we tend to remember, across a much wider area.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. HH,
        Yes, you’ve summed it up very well.
        I also loved the 5am to 9am every-weekday market extensions. I only got to Covent Garden’s once but was able to use Smithfield’s about fifty times.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. “So, instead of a dull walk, I’m bringing you the highlights from the 3rd edition of the North Yorkshire Guide to real ale pubs. ”

    About bloody time!*

    * Your walks are all good and that, but… 😉

    “and some heroically un-woke photos of barmaids I’ll let Duncan show you when I pass the Guide on”

    Good choice. Si seems to have fallen into the evil clutches of the ‘Wokerati’. 😉

    “For the usual prize, which was the Liverpool-brewed cask beer in the Black Bull in Cowling ?”

    Seeing as how I’ll never collect… the Cavern Cask?

    “but the many market towns selling artisanal cheese,”

    At least that bit hasn’t changed. 😉

    “The top pic is from Selby’s gorgeous New Inn, where the photographer was reprimanded for taking interior shots of the bar.”

    (slow golf clap)

    “You won’t get that sort of behaviour from me, obviously.”

    Pull the other one!


    PS – And I’m back, sort of?

    Our youngest (and his g/f) were here for a week, left and came back in two hours (forgot stuff) and stayed another 2 days! They left and we realised we were exhausted ( but loved every minute of the visit). So, with the current weather here (snow, rain and freezing rain for the next few days), we have decided we need to chill. ;)\

    Will post when I can! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to have you back Russ, hope you’re all well.

      It’s good having your lads back, isn’t it ? We’re missing our youngest, stuck in Manchester waiting for barbering to resume.

      Cavern Cask a good guess; sadly it’s actually “Special”. You knew that really.


      1. We’re alive and well… as can be expected. 😉

        Being able to see our lads is awesome. Can commiserate with not seeing your youngest as we haven’t seen our eldest (and our grandson!) since early August.

        Weather is playing merry hell here. Had a snow day for our lunch truck on Tuesday, but at least I managed to get my teeth cleaned a month early as they had a cancellation due to the weather (it’s only a 10 minute walk for me).

        Right, time to find you shortest recent post and reply, then bed!
        (Foolishly didn’t restock my beer after our youngest left and I have nothing under 9%, so I’m starting to feel it).



  5. “It’s a 99p cracker, setting a stylistic tone that lasted for 20 years” prompted me to look at my TRADITIONAL BEER IN EASTERN YORKSHIRE guide published back in 1976 and the pages look identical, even down to the black triangles left of the pub name and address.
    The changes in York over four years include
    Bootham Tavern, Coach and Horses, Cygnet – lost their cask Tetley Mild.
    Brown Cow, Cattle Market, Crystal Palace – Sam Smiths OBB from electric to handpump
    Bumper Castle – gained Strongarm
    Cross Keys – lost Bass Extra Light.
    Real ale outlets dropped significantly in 1974 as John Smiths beers went bright but the pub numbering – e.g. the De Grey Rooms from 15 ( of 42 ) in 1976 to 16 in 1980 – suggest few ‘gains and losses’.
    They’re fascinating publications but I don’t think even Hatfield Road has built up and maintained a proper archive of them.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, “A comprehensive guide to all pubs selling Real Ale in 3,000 square miles of Yorkshire and North Humberside : includes York, Hull, the holiday coast, the Wolds and much of the Moors National Park. Around 600 pubs listed.”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When I was active in a branch in the last century, we were never asked to send copies. With hindsight, all they seemed interested in was money.


    1. This was a comment from a mate of Ian (Mr Bass);

      “I also have an undated East Yorkshire equivalent which included all the real ale pubs in what was then called North Humberside. Probably 1980/81 as it includes the Zoological which was my lunchtime retreat from work (and Monday night darts haunt). You may remember it as it stood on the corner of Beverley Road, was very narrow and lop sided and a miracle of science when it remained standing after everything around it was flattened. Sadly it went in about 1982. 114 pubs in Hull in the guide (out of a total of about 180) and every one has a pencil tick next to its name! What happened to Bass Brew Ten ?”.


  6. What a gem of a find that is Martin. The information on market towns opening times resolves a question I had on whether some towns were able to keep their pubs open all afternoon (they were) whilst other towns enforced a short closing period (ie a lock-in). Interesting Skipton only had two market days per week unlike the four that it now has. Love the reference to Mrs Grundy.

    In terms of your Cowling question I can only think of Cains brewery in Liverpool. No idea if that is correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea who Mrs Grundy was ! A latter day Mary Whitehouse ?

      The Scouse beer was Whitbread Special (no, never heard of it, either). Maybe some hipsters from Huyton will bring it back.


      1. I had to google it. Apparently a fictitious character; “a person with very conventional standards of propriety”. A term used throughout the English speaking world it goes on to say. Have to admit I have never heard it used.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re forgetting Stonegate, Cookie. Not only do they nearly match Spoons prices with the CAMRA voucher, but they also give you SIX sausages with your breakfast if you give them a 1980s Bass beermat. The Lost Dene should be first on your list when pubs re-open next year.


    2. Come on, Cookie.

      Surely you’d like to know if that “nearest pub” was one of those micros or craft joints – of allegedly conditional welcome – to which you referred earlier?


  7. I’ve got one of those Yorkshire Pub Guides somewhere at home, and agree with both the Mudgies that they set the benchmark, for how to produce a local guide. Kentish Paul.


    1. Although on reflection I think the Derbyshire ones were even better, with a higher standard of maps and more historical detail in the place descriptions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. T’other Mudgie,
        Yes, somehow the historical detail worked well in the Derbyshire guides. But I’ve yet to find a county map in the 1990 edition.


      2. Martin,
        Is that the twenty page one “”Published by the Derby branch of CAMRA as a limited edition for the 1989 Derby Beer Festival. and as a guide to the better real ale pubs inside the City Boundary”?
        Previously I had been referring to the 120 or more page editions of DERBYSHIRE ALE that i used a great deal with 132 nights spent in the county.


      3. They later produced a map as part of a supplement to the 1990 guide after so many people complained. Omitting one shows a failure to appreciate how people actually use pub guides.


      4. T’other Mudgie,
        Or an oversight, a failure to check before sending it to the printers that everything’s in it that should be.
        I neither knew of or had that supplement and always took both guides to Derbyshire, old for the map and new for all the other pages.

        Liked by 1 person

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