On a sunny Thursday I took a trip to Toxteth to see how the pubs there have been getting on since my last visit, which was 2004 I think.
I began with a bus ride along Park Road, where I found the Royal Oak
is now closed and tinned up, the Globe
remains open, and then the Farmers
, the Toxteth
, the Royal George
and the Queens Head
are all closed, and in some cases gone without trace. A little further along, the Pineapple
is still open. I've drunk in all these pubs at some time in the last fourteen years, it's a shame so many of them aren't there any more.
I headed down towards the river, passing the still open Anglesea
, which is looking pretty tidy from the outside.
I paid a visit to the amazing Florence Institute, which was open as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme. This stunning building, constructed in 1889 as Britain's first purpose-built boys’ youth club, was derelict last time I visited the area, in 2004, when I recall it had trees sprouting from the gutters. It has been wonderfully restored and is once again in use as a community resource.
Just across the road from the "Florrie" is a very tatty looking building, housing the Wellington Vaults
, which rather to my surprise was open. I joined two locals in the small front bar and enjoyed a pint of Guinness. The inside was a lot tidier than the rather tatty exterior might suggest.
The Derby Arms
and the Great Eastern
were both near here, but are no longer extant. Again, I've drunk in both in the past.
Just a short walk riverwards took me to the wonderful Herculaneum Bridge
, also known as Pegleg's. Outside, a coat of white paint has replaced the somewhat garish blue and red colour scheme of my previous visit. The interior, although a little chaotic during decorating work, is very impressive, with lots of ceramics on the walls and a fine wood and leaded glass bar back. It retains the historic layout of rooms off a corridor served from a hatch at the back of the bar. The large back room also has a tiny bar counter in the corner.
I was the only customer on a Thursday afternoon, sharing the bar with two friendly staff and a decorator. They also do accommodation here, apparently it's very popular with visiting football fans.
I wandered on past the closed Mosely Arms
which has completely disappeared, and Dick Jennings
where the planned conversion to housing hasn't progressed.
My next destination was the Brewery Tap
, nestled in the corner of the Cains' Brewery, where I enjoyed a fine pint of Cains' FA. I noticed they limit their real ale offerings to their own brews now, I'm sure they used to have guest beers as well. Sales were pretty slow, initially I was the only customer but a few others arrived to sit outside in the bright sunshine.
Finally, I strolled past the long closed Angel
(pictured) and on to the Coburg
. Reports had reached me that this place now did real ale, and I was pleased to find Fuller's London Pride on sale in a comfortable, friendly pub.