May 2023.

I’d popped into Cambridge from Waterbeach for a quick walk, but as I finished my pint of XXXB at the Kingston the heavens opened, proving that the sun shines on the righteous except when the righteous are about to do something very daft like do all the GBG pubs in Mill Road in an hour.

I had to buy toothpaste at mini-Sainsburys too, having designated that product as the one to forget to pack that week, so I headed straight back to the station. See if you can spot Cambridge’s most famous attraction on this drone view*.

The Kingston had some great local breweriana (always looks like I’ve spelt that wrong);

yes, that Dale’s brewery.

Paul Mudge may remember it, I certainly don’t.

Despite getting distracted by Coronation hysteria in Gwydir Street,

I still found myself with 10 minutes spare before the train.

That’s enough for a half in the “CAMRA pub”, right ?

Yes, the one CAMRA actually run in the ’70s (see: Boak & Bailey’s 20th Century Pub) .

I remember the Salisbury still being popular with the CAMRA crowd into the late ’80s, but it’s very much a studenty Stonegate type place now and there’s nothing wrong with that.

That distressed look is intentional by the way; feet on chairs are just distressing.

I wanted to give the “new” Wells beers a fair try.

In fairness, they might not be selling a lot of cask on a Monday afternoon but the low ABV Origin was cool and fruity, surprisingly good.

Not convinced by the styling on the craft, mind.

The pub feels oddly unchanged in years, one of the original pizza pubs, and with “Me and Bobby McGee” playing in the background I liked it a lot.

Still no idea what those holes in the tables are for though.

And Harry Potter isn’t really in that cupboard.

Unless he was wearing his invisibility cloak.

*Correct answer is Scott Polar Museum but like me reader “Mike” will be more interested in those two huge building sites just north of the Mill Road bridge.

11 thoughts on “DIDN’T CAMRA USE TO RUN THIS PUB ?

    1. It is lovely isn’t it ?

      Yes I believe it’s original. It’s certainly been there 40 odd years as I remember it from when I studied in the college on Mill Road.

      Brewery office now a hipster coffee place obviously!


  1. CAMRA used to own the Old Fox in Bristol. Went there a few times in the early 80s when I was a student. The beer was great but the pub itself was a bit grim. Not there anymore of course, converted into flats.


  2. Technically CAMRA didn’t run this pub but it was owned by CAMRA (Real Ale) Investments which had a small chain around the country. That company’s original funding came from CAMRA members and bank loans. There is a good account in Brew Britannia by Boak & Bailey of how this firm developed and the stresses between it and the ‘actual’ CAMRA. It was taken over by Midsummer Inns eventually.


    1. Good chapter on it in “20th century pub” too, from memory. I presume they got folk sympathetic to the CAMRA cause to run it for them e.g. offering unnecessary tasters and accepting discount vouchers?


      1. The Eagle in Leeds is the one I knew best since I lived there for a couple of years atound 1979/80 and the pub was halfway between home and the centre. The ‘Sniffer’n’Sipper’ brigade hadn’t been invented then so no tasters, and vouchers were a dream of the future. I don’t think they even took Green Shield stamps. The pub sometimes had the whole Taylor range – a name not seen much in Leeds then. It was leased from Sam Smithsand I think that maybe three years after I left they managed to find a lease infringement and took the pub back, showing a complete misunderstanding of why it had become popular. They still own it but seem to push it as more of a boutique hotel.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Paul Mudge may remember it”. Not Dales’s brewery – before my time – but the Salisbury Arms as a Whitbread pub over fifty years ago and later as a CAMRA Investments pub.

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