Saturday, August 10

Lost Pubs from the WME Archives - Holden's

Britain Beermat posed me a question on Twitter the other day, wondering how many of the Holden's boozers listed on a vintage beermat were still operational...
With a little help from the brewery themselves - thankyou @holdensbrewery - we calculated that seven of the pubs were no longer part of the Holden's estate, giving me an idea for another delve into the WME archives. Unfortunately I don't have anything to represent the Royal in Tipton (it stood on Bloomfield Road but was gone before I started taking pictures), although the other six are all covered one way or another.

- Former Elephant & Castle -
First up is what was the Elephant & Castle which served the Bromley community between Pensnett and Brierley Hill. I never knew this place during its days as a watering hole so my photo shows the building in nursery mode circa 2010, meeting the needs of toddlers rather than drinkers. 

- Old Bush -
Not the greatest of angles I'll admit but here regardless is a June 2006 shot of the Old Bush on Skidmore Road. I'm not sure if it was still trading at the time and it had definitely closed a couple of years later, as indeed have a couple of other Holden's outlets in the Coseley and Daisy Bank vicinity...

- Painters Arms -
Which brings us neatly to the Painter's Arms on Avenue Road, just up from Coseley Conservative Club. I've actually been in this one and recall it as a fairly standard local pub, friendly enough although always outshone by the New Inn and the brewery tap. Demolition was the ultimate fate here and houses now occupy the site.

- Prince of Wales -
A more recent disposal from the Holden's estate has been the Prince of Wales in Darlaston, something I do feel sad about having enjoyed my visits with D9 and the Chip Foundation over the years. At its best this was a proper traditional Black Country boozer; the last I heard is that it was being auctioned off so I'm not sure what has/will become of the building.

- The Britannia -
Coseley could count as a natural stronghold for Holden's being barely a mile or so from the brewery's base in Woodsetton. Another of their tied houses in the area was the Britannia on Hall Green Street, close to the Great Western and Daisy Bank Community Centre. I never had the pleasure of frequenting this place so I had to make do with getting this November 2008 snap when working a shift at the local library.

- The Swan (Jaspers) -
Finally, good old Jaspers at Cradley Heath (more properly known as the Swan). During the Twitter exchanges, Holden's commented that they were in the process of selling this establishment so I wonder what the future has in store while acknowledging that technically this might not be a lost pub at all (yet). Nonetheless I have happy memories of visits with Rog, Nick and D9 so I didn't want to miss it out.

Any post lamenting lost boozers will by nature strike a mournful tone but it really isn't all doom and gloom in this case. Yes Holden's have divested themselves of a few pubs but they have also added several others and their estate currently amounts to 19 tied houses. Among these are some of my absolute favourites - the Great Western in Wolverhampton, the Waterfall near Blackheath and the Trumpet at Bilston - so there's still plenty of opportunity to sample the delights of Black Country Mild, Special and Golden Glow. The only one of the nineteen I've yet to visit is the Red Cow at Ackleton so I must put that right as a matter of priority!


  1. Anonymous11:35 pm

    Sad but an upbeat post as they still have plenty of boozers...I need to visit a couple....a few of my pals are doing a Brum to wolves tram stop offs drinks next week..we can take in trumpet at Bilston but any more suggestions gratefully accepted ��
    Britain Beermat

    1. Hi Beermat, yes it was interesting going back through my photos to see which of those former Holden's I'd captured on camera so thanks for the inspiration! A Metro crawl will certainly keep you occupied - if you want Holden's outlets then the Wheatsheaf at Carters Green is on the route (alight Dartmouth Street or at Guns Village), otherwise the Black Eagle, Hockley (Soho Benson Road) and the Toll End brewery tap (a ten minute walk from Wednesbury Parkway) are definitely worth a look. I think you've done the Vine at Kenrick Park before? Cheers, Paul