A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my intention to re-run the ‘research’ pub crawls that I did when writing The Story of Gloucester’s Pubs. In the blog I listed the pubs that I visited in 2009 compared with those available to visit today, showing that some had gone, some had re-opened and some new ones had appeared.
Overall the total number of pubs in the city centre has fallen over the period from 51 to 45. Not great, but in the current climate it could be worse.
If you look back a little further, however, it is amazing how many pubs we have lost.
During my research I trawled through numerous licensing records and directories. The oldest were the alehouse licence records, the earliest of which dated from 1680 and showed a total of 52 alehouses in the city. This number increased slightly to remain fairly steady between 60 and 70 up until the last records I had access to from 1835. For some reason there was a peak of 92 in 1736.
But this doesn’t tell the full story, because not all pubs had to have an alehouse licence. By the time you get to the nineteenth century there are directories available which give a fuller list of pubs, inns, taverns and hotels and the numbers are now up to around 120.
Even this pales to insignificance, however, compared to a list some friends recently acquired for me. This purports to show ‘Pubs and Hotels in Gloucester taken from a 1893 list’. I don’t know where this was taken from, but it lists an amazing 177 Hotels Inns & Taverns that were apparently operating in that year.
That’s a lot of pubs: I may be a little daunted by the prospect of getting around all of that lot!
Of these 177, just 25 currently remain open:
Ram, Southgate St (now New County)
New Inn Hotel, Northgate St
Wellington Hotel, George Street (now the Station, Bruton Way)
Imperial, Northgate St
New Inn, London Rd (now England’s Glory)
York House, London Road
Kingsholm Inn, Kingsholm
Queen’s Head, Kingsholm,
White Hart, Kingsholm (now aka Teague’s Bar)
Coach & Horses St Catherine St
Deans Walk, Deans Walk
Pelican, St Mary Street
British Flag, Southgate St (now Tall Ship)
Hauliers Arms, Southgate St (now Baker Street)
Nelson, Southgate St
Whitesmiths, Southgate St
Avenue, Bristol Rd
Cross Keys, Cross Keys Lane
Crown & Thistle, Barton St (now part of Butlers/ Zest, Eastgate St)
Victoria, Barton St (now One Eyed Jacks)
Plough, Upton St
Victory, High St
New Victory, High St
Fountain, Westgate St
Union, Westgate St