Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Good Fleetwood Pub Guide

For this article we thought we’d try something different. We’re not just going to write about the history of Fleetwood’s pubs. No, we’ve borrowed our neighbour’s laptop, which has one of those voice recognition programs, so that we can research in real-time, capturing the ambience as it happens, sort of thing.
Okay, the microphone’s clipped in place and we’re ready to rumble…

6.15 p.m. Wetherspoons – Otherwise known as the Thomas Drummond.

This isn’t a bad pub, really. There’s plenty of atmosphere and it’s reasonably busy, in a friendly Codhead sort of way. Oy…watch where you’re putting your elbow, mate! Y’ nearly had me drink over there.

I preferred pubs like this back in the olden days, of course, when they were wreathed with dragons of blue smoke and populated by salty, craggy-faced mariners with a fishy tale or two to tell, rather than some of the yuppies hanging round in here tonight wearing electronic earpieces and talking post-Thatcherite politics.

However, we’re waiting for our tea to arrive (which I’ve been told is well worth waiting for) so we’ve cracked open a couple of bottles and want to know “Why the Thomas Drummond? Why not the Cockle-Picker’s Retreat or the Drunken Trawler Man or the Haggard Olde Fishwife or something?”

What? Yeah, good idea! We’ve got our laptop. Let’s check out the Internet. Ah ha…apparently Thomas Atkinson Drummond was some bloke or other back in the 19th century who built a Congregationalist church on West Street, now known as Lord Street, along with a Sunday school, which is the building now occupied by the pub. Get us another bottle will y’? Right, me fish and chips are here. Will continue after consumption.

7.35 p.m. The Steamer

What d’ y’ mean, I’ve ’ad too much t’ drink? Stop naggin’ me! I’m absolutely fine. Yes, I know I nearly broke me neck on the step. There were no warning signs, okay? I’ll be ’avin’ a word with me lawyer about that later.

Right, the Steamer is a reet gradely pub! Very pleasant! Bit boisterous perhaps. And I don’t like the look that fat bloke’s giving me at the bar. I’m gonna go over an’ punch him in a moment.

But it’s a good pub nonetheless. Good selection o’ beer! Haven’t got a clue about its history, though.

What? Michelle’s just told me something interesting. Did you know…did yoooo know…that the first business ever to be opened in Fleetwood, was a pub? Yeah! Fact that! On Dock Street! A pub!? Imagine that! Fill this oop for us, will y’?

8.09 p.m. The Vish…the Vick…the Victoria

The Vistorea is allegedgely Fleetwood’s oldest pub. No, it iss!

I donno! I read it somewhere! I don’t know! Av jus tol’ y’! Are yoooo fick or someink? Y’ tryin’ t’ start a far…a fight? I don’t even know ooo yooo ar, mait! But if y’ wanna fight then outside now! C’mon! Outside!!! Right…an’ don’t come back!!!! Ruddy Codheads! Bloody idiots t’ lot of ’em! Inbred ruddy codhead cretinous codheads! Not you mate! Just the rest of ’em. You’re all right! You’re my best mate yooo ar. Av no idea oo yoooooooooo ar, but y’r all right pal.

Some time w’en it’sz dark. The stepz o’ th north oostern Otel
Don’t partronize me y’ stuck oop creton! Aye ham nhot drank!!!!!!!! An’ aye ham not wearin’ a tie becoz itzzzzzz not fashionbibble t’ were a tye too ’mportant functions these-a-days. Now let me in b’fore I call t’ poliss.
Ay put thizzzz dump on tha map y’know? Yooo were nothin’ before I did all that stuff bout roman columns in y’r portico! Ay made yoo famuz y’ ungrateful b*%^$&, an’ this iz how am treated? Well %$£^&**& you! Ah…ah…here’s the plees now! Told yooo I’d call ’em, dint I? Orrificier, arrest this stuck up t&*t for bannnnnning me from my conjugal rites. Whar y’ doin’? Gerrof my elbow y’ word not recognised *&*(^%$&! Plees brutality that’s what thiz iz! Arhll av yooo oop in the intnatshnal coorts f’r this!

About 7.30 in the morning. The Mount. Not the hotel…the Mount gardens.

It’s completely freezing and my head hurts. Where are me specs?
I’m going to be sick.

Addendum: Not everybody out there in the real world has been 'investigating' Fleetwood's history as exhaustively as me, it seems. In fact, Phil Barker (of Rossall Beach) has kindly sent me this slightly older (and a little bit clearer) photograph of the Victoria (see somewhere above) back in the days when even I would have been too young to get served. I'm adding it here so that there's at least one item of genuine antiquarian value in this article. (Cheers Phil.)


Jayne said...

Oh dear.
I can see your youth was *ahem* well spent.
Hope the wildlife in the gardens weren't too flustered?

Oddly enough,the first building in Melbourne...was a pub.

Brian Hughes said... makes sense. If you're going to build a town you've got to have somewhere to keep the labourers happy.

Andrew said...

Professional singers find it really hard to sing badly, as do professional musicians to play badly. Professional bloggers knop to suve until tomorow and save for editingecation. I is not convived that you writ dat under influnce.

srrwy, visti from janc daniel. rong, blakcie boy daniel. Nope dug dfniel.Still no tclear, blcack douglas.

Brian Hughes said...

Ah waz...ah waz...ah wazzen drink, drunk, Handy...ah swear ah waazen drink. Its t' buttons, keyz, things onna, onna, on ma keyboard, those key things...they keep stickin' coz sombodi spilt whizzkey on 'em. Ah swear t' god anna meat pie ah do.

RVB said...

This post summed up my Saturday perfectly.

Brian Hughes said...

So, it was you giving me the evil eye from that barstool then, Reuben?

John said...

Excellent use of first person point of view to explore the idea of investigating pubs. Very entertaining, although I suppose you could hav egiven us a bit more about the history of each, the architectural changes they have, haven't made since then, the quality of the fish n chips, and about those secret passages in the basements that lead out to hidden coves where the boats would bring in the 'good stuff' during prohibition times.

Yep... you need to get back out there and do some more investigating.

Better yet, wait till I come visit, and I'll help you compare the quality of the local brews as well. :0)

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...


Anonymous said...

I don't think a few (or more) watered down beers will make much difference to a hardened wisky drinker like you

Brian Hughes said...

Beer? Hah! I tweak the nose of beer...apart from Speckled Hen, of course...I rather like that one.

Anonymous said...

another whisky and ribena it is then

Brian Hughes said...

Make mine a double.

Jayne said...

What about opening hours/days?
Names of the glass measures for beer?
Much more research needed for follow up post!

Brian Hughes said...


"What about opening hours/days?"

The pubs in Fleetwood never shut.

"Names of the glass measures for beer?"

Half pint, Pint, Bucket.

"Much more research needed for follow up post!"

My research is continually ongoing.

swbirdy64 said...

Brian I beg to differ whilst the vic is cetainly fleetwoods oldest pub now once that honour belonged to the fleetwood arms but not in its present location one block north of todays pub.

Brian Hughes said...


No difference of opinion here. I knew there was an older pub on Dock Street somewhere that's now no longer a pub...I just wasn't sure where.

Jayne said...

Blog bling for you over on my blog.

Brian Hughes said...

Oh oh...not more junk designed to slow the loading time of my website down?

Jayne said...


WV = heejolly
They're getting twisted at Blogger!

Brian Hughes said...

Or extremely bored.

swbirdy64 said...

As an interesting aside wetherspoons tracked down i think it was the great grandson of Sir Thomas Drummond and asked him to open the pub but he declined on the grounds that Sir Thomas was a staunch methodist and would not have approved of a public house bearing hs name !!!!!!!!!!

Brian Hughes said...


He possibly found the idea of a pub in conflict with his own business of turning water into wine.