Pocket Guide to Pubs and Their Histories – Book Review

Aficianados of British pubs and beer culture will undoubtedly enjoy this lively exploration of the history of pubs. 

Is there really a pub called the Toad Rock Retreat? Why did Queen Elizabeth I get annoyed with alehouses and pubs wishing to show their loyalty by putting her picture on their signs? How did pubs with names like the Lions, Crown and Horses, Tripple Plea, The Welcome Stranger get their names?

What was the effect of the notorious Watney Red Barrel on pub culture?  Where is the straightest pub crawl?  British pubs are very much a part of national and local culture; and even today are an essential ingredient in keeping local communities alive.  Thorburn has dug some fascinating nuggets of information – as well as highlighting the lamentable geography skills of many national newspapers.

The Guardian for example reviewed pubs in Diss saying that customers should wrap up warm against sea breezes – the only problem being that Diss is over 20 miles inland from the nearest sea! An entertaining, amusing account of pub life and culture. It is a book for dipping into rather than reading solidly, and is definitely memorable.