It has now got to a stage where there are sixteen pubs a week closing in the UK. Aye, we all know the reasons why and let's hope the Government introduce, very soon, new legislation, that will go some way to saving our British boozer.
That said, one town that is a clear example of the problems that are faced in the pub industry, is Padiham, a small town in East Lancashire, where I lived for many years.
There were sixteen pubs and four clubs in this town, not that long ago and a pub crawl round the town was a great night out.
Alas, it's now a long lost memory, as pubs in the town are now replaced by a Motor store, conversions to new houses and of course, the metal shutters.
We had a set route in town. We would all meet in the White Horse in the centre of town. It was run by a grumpy old landlord, with a tiny black moustache and we called him 'Hitler'. I would never have thought it would close and become a supermarket.
We would then go to the 'Hand and Shuttle'. A fine traditional pub, owned by Thwaites. Thankfully, it has survived and Thwaites cask ales are still pulled.
It was then on to a pub called the Britannia Inn. It was known as 'The Brit'.Another popular pub that fell victim to the economic downturn and no longer exists.
The Kings Arms was next on the crawl.Always pretty packed and very popular on a Friday and Saturday night. However, the pub more recently has kept changing hands and has eventually become another addition to the pub closure statistics. Those bloody metal shutters are horrendous!
However, there is some good news and the next three that were on the crawl are happily still open, and serving cask ales.
The 'Free Gardeners Arms' had Moorhouse's and Phoenix brews on recently. The 'Alma Inn' had Tetley's on cask. And the 'Hare and Hounds' always has two good casks on. Wychwood Hobgoblin and Wells Bombardier, two recent tipples.
The last port of call was the Whalley Range, or the 'Top Drum' as it was better known . It was my local when I lived in the town and typified a popular,well run pub. Darts teams,dominoes league and a regular haunt for the towns football and cricket players and supporters.
The fact that pub is now closed, gives you some idea what tough times have been experienced over the last few years.Once a thriving boozer, now closed, and has now become two new converted houses.
Finally, I felt it necessary to finish on a more positive note. Despite around half the pubs in Padiham now closed, there still remains a few that serve good cask beer. Even though it is fair to say choice is limited, usually just two casks to choose from. However, there is one establishment bucking the trend in these testing times. Molly Rigby's club on Mill Street has four casks on. Always in superb nick. A club that has responded to the demand of their real ale customers, and having had to put more cask beers on!
Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel...Hope so.
There is a report on changing times at this popular club on a previous blog.