The contractually obligated January review, which I thought had been a bit of a damp squib until I did the monthly travel map last night;

OK, a bit light on the South West and Scotland, wherever that is, but still some decent travel in a month when I spent more time with my parents in Waterbeach than in Sheffield, which looks to be the way of things going forward.

165 hours in pubs, but Google is obsessed with me shopping, isn’t it ?

At least in Waterbeach I’ll be able to keep up to date with the blog, and keep the Chung Hwa in business,

but there was some very sad news from home last month with the death of Andrew, landlord at The Sun. I’ll pay tribute to Andrew in a separate post.

The highlights of the month were low key, bar the quite stunning Bradford Industrial Museum,

but even then I’d been there before, and completely new discoveries were few and far between.

So thank goodness for Maesteg, said no-one ever, as the Federation Bar provided the Pub of the Month on the last day of the month, a cosy Valleys pub with a terrific morning trade of the type described by Old Mudgie here.

With a late burst of activity over in Bristol and Wales this week I racked up a meagre Dryanuarycompliant 60 pub visits including 31 GBG newbies, which will sound pathetic compared to BRAPA, Eddie and the other would-be completists, but then I’m not really ticking this year, am I ?*

I’ve been happy exploring the strength in depth of Sheffield’s pub scene, from old favourites like the Brothers Arms to yet more newbies in Kelham.

60 pub visits; only one (1) duff pint all month;

but of course that pint of Bass sludge in Tamworth is all anyone remembers.

Curry of the Month came not in Bradford but in Hillsborough, and you can’t believe how important it is to have a good Indian restaurant on your doorstep.

Of course, we already had good pubs on our doorstep, and the visit of BRAPA and Daddy BRAPA to the Blind Monkey provided not only the Beer of the Month from Ashover, but an emotional reunion between Baa Baa Toure, Alfie and Colin.

As so often, Matthew Lawrenson summed up the peril inherent in that meeting with the Tweet of the Month;

*Am I ?

22 thoughts on “JANUARY ’23 STOCKTAKE

      1. A common mistake Martin, but as you point out not quite as common as it once was, since the demise of cheques. I can’t remember the last time I wrote one, as even our window cleaner now accepts a bank transfer!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A half ?
        I’ve recently read “My grandfather, born around 1900 in Gorton (Manchester), recollected that half pints were the norm in that area and referred to as a ‘glass’ of beer” with Martyn Cornell replying “I believe (but I don’t have a copy to check) that in the famous study of pubs and drinking in Bolton in the 1930s conducted by Mass-Observation, half-pints were still the norm”. .

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Not that you’ll have counted :-), but how many unticked pubs do you estimate that there would there be in GBG 23, on the off chance that you did decide to go for it? Not that you will, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haven’t bought the GBG for some time but it sounds like the allocation criteria are the same as when adopted perhaps 45 years ago. They were by branch then and it would be interesting to know if the figures are re-done each year and by whom? The system was originally the brainchild of Roger Warhurst who was a town planner and had access to the detailed statistics, useful in pre-internet days. I think is still around. On tourists, there might not be so many people who go to Norwich for a week, but I suspect that many staying on the coast might go for the day, perhaps by the coachload – so do you count tourists in absolute numbers or weight the numbers by days spent?

    There wasn’t any weighting for general quality of the beer in any area and when active in CAMRA my local banch (say around 1990) sometimes didn’t use the full allocation because not enough pubs passed the bar. Against that, we must have missed some good ones because with an active membership of 30 – 40 and (80s) getting on for a thousand pubs the local knowledge trumpeted by the GBG never really existed. In places like Norwich in 1974, though, with only four real ale outlets most members probably knew every one.


      1. I can’t now find my list of branches by membership but remember Cambridge and Peterborough being at or neat the top though that might be as much covering nearly a county than a town rather than that they have a higher density of members.


      2. I’ve found my list now, from August 2018 but the percentages probably haven’t changed much since.
        1. Nottingham, 6371 members ( 5.74% are young, 30 and under )
        2. Cambridge, 5365 members ( 17.45% are young )
        3. Norwich and Norfolk, 4179 members ( 9.21% )
        4. Bristol and District, 3453 members ( 5.36% )
        5. Derby, 3401 members (5.23% )
        6. Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, 2803
        7. Peterborough, 2603
        8. Northamptonshire, 2499
        9. Leeds, 2269
        10. South Hertfordshire, 2221
        11. Rochdale, Oldham and Bury, 2190
        12. Tyneside and Northumberland, 2128
        13. Surrey / Hants borders 2096
        14. Leicester, 2001
        Sheffield is further down the list with 1768 members.
        England averaged 951 members per branch, Scotland 519, Northern Ireland 367 and Wales 279.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There’s a very specific reason why Cambridge has historically had a high proportion of younger members. The May Beer Festival is on Jesus Green, in the heart of university land, and students are happy to cough up £20 or whatever to beat the giant queue and get a free pint thrown in. And the science graduates are probably more likely CAMRA members too.


      4. You’ve got my brain whirring now, Paul. Why does Cambridge have so few GBG entries compared to Norwich ? Visitor numbers for those two must be equal at worst (a lot of Americans make Cambridge a stop on their tours). I think Cambridge has about a dozen, and you could certainly find good cask in far more, or you could do.


      5. I’ve now sorted out, again from nearly five years ago, the membership figures by Region which were
        1. East Anglia, 31,438
        2. East Midlands, 25,190
        3. West Midlands, 18,516
        which, coincidently or not, form a band right across central England, then
        4. Yorkshire, 15,740
        5. Greater London, 15,209
        6. South West England, 14,122
        7. Greater Manchester, 9,391
        8. West Pennines, 9,050
        9. Surrey and Sussex, 8,848
        10. Central Southern, 8,023
        11. Merseyside and Cheshire, 7,443
        12. Wessex, 7,246
        13. Kent, 6,235
        14. North East England, 4,053
        I’ve not checked if that’s roughly proportionate to the availability of Real Ale which it certainly is nationally ;
        England – one member per 315 people
        Wales – one member per 696 people
        Scotland – one member per 1055 people
        Northern Ireland – one member per 5190 people.
        That suggests something of a Good Beer Appreciation Society now, the reverse of “beer desserts” desperate for real ale again having the highest membership in the early years of the CAMPAIGN.


      6. Martin,

        I can’t answer “Why does Cambridge have so few GBG entries compared to Norwich ?
        I don’t even know if the original allocation was wholly or just partly revised to take into account factors such as population and tourism.
        I thought Cambridge branch might spread their allocation evenly across the county but, no, its area only reaches a dozen miles beyond the city centre and covers maybe just one fiftieth of Cambridgeshire.
        Norwich must spread their allocation, evenly or not, across the county as it’s the Norwich and Norfolk branch.

        Rochdale, Oldham and Bury branch has 23% of the Greater Manchester membership.
        Rochdale, Oldham and Bury boroughs have 23% of Greater Manchester’s population.
        There would surely be a disparity between those figures without Tandleman’s efforts.


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