I have been researching pub history for 10 to 15 years. The Pub history UK site is an extension of these efforts. It brings together many peoples efforts in research of the historical public house. This site splits some of the slightly more northerly pubs from London and the southern counties.
The pub history sites are regularly updated by Stephen and Kevan, plus an 'open' group of like-minded individuals on a daily basis; and anyone is welcome to contribute. If you visit the site, you will quickly understand that this is more than just a pub history site.
Do you have a victualler, publican or beer retailer in your family history? This site will, hopefully, answer your questions as to where their pub was.
There are many other areas & towns listed on this pub history site, including
places such as Birmingham,
Nottingham & Lincoln etc. The site is growing every
day to encompass new towns and its pub history. The site is slowly moving north
to add the whole of the UKs pub history. Take a look at the top level links to
see which areas are covered for pub history, it regularly changes.
Pubs, like churches move slowly over a period of time, I use this to my advantage;as I do other buildings like hospitals. The public houses are listed by church parish as they would have existed before 1900 - many of these are no longer in existence. In addition to this, I am adding modern pubs as they are opened, and also list the many thousands of pubs which are closing all of the time. The site is a little lacking in modern history, and does not always have post codes or a recognisable modern address.
See the pub history menu for all of the other areas which are covered, some are strong, others are awaiting more input. Please feel free to send me modern and historical images and detail. I work fulltime, but will add this as soon as I can.
One important thing which needs mentioning. Many modern pubs have changed names. Many pub chains have bought up older buildings and altered them into a pub. These modern pubs often used to include the name 'Old' in the name to indicate they were brand new pubs! Confused yet? The history of these pubs will often state they were here since Elizabethan times, but they omit to mention it was a pig farm at the time, or whatever.
Here are my research suggestions to get you started:
The pub / public house / boozer is where most of us spent our youth, and more. They are now expensive places to drink, and the local supermarket has replaced many (if not all) of the Off Licences. There is also a new breed of pubs, with a range of nice ales at affordable prices (I am quoting the likes of Wetherspoons); and this new brand replaces the old established and often run-down pubs of the past. I am not selling either as a preference, this is a pure article on pub history as I see it from the last ten years of research into the matter - my thesis, for what it is worth.
Let us start in 2013 and a round up of the current pub trade. Many pubs are closing, and being replaced by restaurants and pizza houses. Other pubs are closing and being converted back into housing, generally flats. The current economic climate is forcing many of the tied public houses to close, whilst newer pubs are continuing to open ( at a lesser rate). The reference 'tied houses' refers to the fact that a pub has to purchase its beer and spirits from the chain which runs the establishment. This is a more expensive option than being able to purchase from the market place, and has forced many pubs to be uneconomical, thus closure. I am not clear as to how Wetherspoons pubs operate, but their prices tend to undercut many of the established lager pubs, and is generally a better experience.
A major trend over the last twenty years or so, has been the renaming of pubs from a centuries old name, to a modern trendy name. The pub history site tends to reflect on the original names. Another trend appears to be the purchase by a brewery of an 'old' building, with little pub interest; and then transforming the same building into a historical pub. I am never clear about the economics of such a transformation, but the costs of this can run into a million pounds for just one pub, and therefore it must make economical sense.
You can research a Pub, or any home, by researching using a surname in the BT telephone directories. These are available as part of the Ancestry basic search. If you need more detail, their other packages offer additional searches, e.g. the electoral rolls. I am not selling their services, but these are available, at a cost.