And another one’s gone…

August 6, 2008 at 19:46 | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The King Alfred (deceased)

I was distressed this morning when, out on my run, I saw that the King Alfred pub on Walney was closed and boarded up.

Now, you will know by now that my view of the pubs in Barrow proper is pretty dim. There are some good pubs within the local government area of Barrow, but they are elsewhere: there isn’t anywhere within the old county borough that I could really fancy popping into on the reasonable expectation of good beer, good company and good conversation when at a loose end, which is what the English pub at its very best does brilliantly. How I miss my beloved Retreat in Reading (if you follow the link the photo at the top of the page is one of mine by the way – I must have a word with Jane and Bernie about credit for it!)

Anyway, I digress. The Alfie wasn’t a perfect pub by any means, but it was one of Barrow’s better houses so long as the big-screen sport wasn’t on, and the views over the Channel from the front window nearest the camera were impressive (I’m told the view from the hotel bedroom window above it is spectacular and I can believe it on a clear day.) The Alfie seems to have been there forever; I’m sure my Nanna and Granddad would have patronised it in their prime, and it’s a landmark.

But the saddest aspect of it all is that the Alfie was one of the last Barrow pubs to have a bowling green, and a very good green it is too. A property developer, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, can put a dozen houses on a bowling green, and sod the community.

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6 Comments »

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  1. Well, the times they are a changing.

  2. What do you think is killing all of these pubs?

  3. I’m coming down to Barrow on one of the coming weekends and this pub was on my target list for a pie and a pint – well, that’s the end of that. I thought this place was an institution but it seems nothing is sacred.

    What’s left on Walney in the way of pubs, this could bring tears to my eyes.

  4. Jeff, there’s the Ferry which seems to do a good trade and to be safe for the time being. The Crown at North Scale is still going, as is the Queens Arms at Biggar. The George on Central Drive is a bit bleak (this is my personal opinion, by the way. Oh all right, pretty crap!). The Periscope on Mill Lane is still there, except that for some inscrutable reason it became the “Island Tavern” a couple of years ago. I must write something on that. And there’s the Castle House at Biggar Bank but I know next to nothing about it.

  5. Thanks for that. Agreed on the George, although I could think of a few more choice defaming adjectives. Thank goodness my dad’s favourite watering hole, The Castle, is still going.

  6. One thing that does seem to be thriving here are local pubs. Only one in Ramsey has closed and looking for a new owner. Whatever happens it won’t be turned into a chain pub and for that I am grateful.


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