A HORSFORTH HOP

Just as I was getting to love the railways, they stopped running.

Despite all the gripes folk have, I’ve had a pretty good service from Sheffield, apart from all the pricing anomalies.

A lot of travel for one tick, like the hour to Granvilles in Horsforth, one of those towns that could sit under “H” in the Guide or “L” for Leeds. Richard used to explain how a distant own (like Wetherby) could be part of a city, but I never understood it (see also : Stony Stratford in Milton Keynes).

The Wiki entry for Horsforth, a town of nearly 20,000, is one of the most boring I’ve ever read, and it’s therefore entirely appropriate that the great James Milner was born here. I once stood in a lift with James Milner (in the Beetham Tower) and he didn’t ask me a single thing about pubs.

It’s a solid, stone built town,

over which fly planes at 30 second interval. Planespotting is the Number 1 activity here.

Possibly.

It’s the Marple or Boston Spa of the, er, north. Quite a smart main shopping street packed with bistros and beauticians and bridal shops,

but no Beer Guide entries for a while, till Granvilles.

It looks the sort of place where IT folk working from home come for gin,

but the beer board (it’s actually called “beer board”) is impressively long, and the cheery young man explains how to order by numbers or something.

Do you want to pay as you go along ?” he asks, oblivious to the fact a bloke as old as me will walk out without paying if he runs a tab. I’ve never run a tab for beer.

And then he puts the Brazil v Croatia game on the telly for me while I enjoy a cool, rich, chewy Rat Gateaux which is hard going but also superb.

No, it really is. And the pub is a classy affair, with the eclectic soundtrack playing at just the right volume.

And anywhere with a handpump for a door handle is OK with me.

Back in Sheffield I catch the extra time in Brazil v Croatia, and somehow resist the 12.8% and 13% craft kegs in the Crow.

James Milner would have picked the Steady Rolling Man.

16 thoughts on “A HORSFORTH HOP

  1. “…and somehow resist the 12.8% and 13% craft kegs in the Crow.”

    That’s a pity, because the Stigbergets Midnight Special hazelnut and chocolate imperial stout was pretty good.

    I was in Granvilles a few months back, and found the ordering system very awkward. If you face the bar there are beer taps with numbers on, and you have to turn around to find the beer you want on the board, make a note of the number and turn back to the bar. By this time, I found that I had a) forgotten the number and b) lost the attention of the bar person, who was pouring lager, prosecco and cocktails for Horsfordians instead. But it was very popular with the locals in the evening, because they all knew the number of their favourite lager tap and didn’t need to look at the board.

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    1. Yes, something like that. I was the only one there the 20 minutes I was in, so had no competition for attention at the bar.

      There used to be a GBG pub or two (a Market Town Tavern ?) in town. The Abbey in Newlay was good.

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      1. Yes, the Town Street. I wasn’t impressed with that one either. I got a friendly reception in Jim’s Bottleshop, which seems to have closed down. And the Horsforth Brewery Tap was dire and the Black Bull even worse. But really I was only in Horsforth to get my pub photos total past 10,000 on Pubs Galore, so I have fond memories of the day.

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    2. “you have to turn around to find the beer you want on the board, make a note of the number and turn back to the bar” – just as well you weren’t on a mobility scooter !

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  2. Martin, you are correct, there is a Market Town Tavern (MTT) in Horsforth called Town Street. I believe they were in the Good Beer Guide. Horsforth not one of my favoured beer drinking destinations, even though I grew up in nearby Calverley. Horsforth itself must have doubled in size since the demolition of the old Sandoz chemical works and the building all the new homes on the site.

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    1. Thanks Prof.

      We used to stay in the Calverley Arms in the 2000s when the Innkeepers Lodges were often a bargain when visiting West Yorkshire, so no idea why I didn’t explore Horsforth then. Lovely walks.

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      1. Sorry Martin, but my interest in football is probably at the same level as your interest in history (or brewery visits!) 😁

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  3. Hi Martin, of course I have heard of Geoff Hurst, and I can still recall my father and I watching the 1966, World Cup Final, on our old black and white TV. I remember dad shouting at the TV, as the 90 minutes approached, because he thought England were time-wasting, and then, surprise, surprise, West Germany squeezed in an equaliser.

    A nail biting finish, and then, “Some people are on the pitch, because they think it’s all over. It is now!”

    The only occasion that England have won this coveted trophy, as I’m sure every fan knows, but in the decades that have followed, it’s always been “near, but yet so far.” Once big money began spoiling the game, I began to lose interest, and the odds on me witnessing England lifting the trophy, for the second time, become shorter, with each passing year.

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    1. Geoff Hurst, I’ know of from him having the Royal Oak in Eccleshall several miles from me ( where the new Joules were fined for ripping the historic staircase from a listed building to make more room for their tat ) and the Sheet Anchor at Whitmore.

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  4. Hurst: The First and Only This documentary is well worth a look. A modest man with quite a poignant life after football. My estimation of him shot up after watching this video

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