The-Bird-in-Hand at Kent Green

Followup to: uk.food+drink.real-ale
I wonder if anyone can satisfy my curiosity. I have just been reading a
book entitled, 'Back Door Britain' by Anthony Burton. It is about a
journey around the canals of England by narrow boat in 1975.
This was around the time when the Campaign for Real Ale was just making
its presence felt, and the author has a bit of a pop at the Campaign.
Despite that he likes his ale, and appreciates unspoiled pubs. At one
point he enthuses about a pub called The-Bird-in-Hand at Kent Green, on
the Macclesfield Canal. The trouble is, I can't find any place called
Kent Green, although there is a Key Green just off the canal east of
Congleton.
The Bird-in-Hand which he describes would be a shoo-in for CAMRA's
National Inventory. It gives the impression that you are in someone's
living room as there is no bar, and with an ancient landlady who takes
the glasses down to the cellar to fill them with ale from wooden
barrels.
It sounds a wonderful place, but I bet it doesn't exist any more, does
it?
Reply to
Roy Bailey
On Tue, 10 Apr 2007 14:01:11 +0100, Roy Bailey wrote:
It was indeed a wonderful place, though it certainly wouldn't have been to everyone's liking.
Scholar Green is the nearest place of any consequence on the map. Try 53 deg 6'49"N, 2 deg 14'34"W in Google Earth, I think that's it (many years since I was there, could be a bit out). It certainly closed in it's original form, can't remember whether it actually closed permanently.
HTH
Tim
Reply to
Tim Leech
I had the pleasure of visiting the Bird in Hand and having a few beers many years ago, probably the early 1980's. It was indeed run by an elderly lady who had to go down the cellar to bring a jug of beer. There were very few drinks other than beer available, a few odd bottles including Sweet Sherry, Martini Rosso and the like, for the ladies. It was like being in someone's very under-furnished living room as there was a collection of mixed chairs and a few tables. The beer was very good as I remember.
The building is still there but had been badly, partly, re-furbished as a private house the last time I saw it a couple of years ago. It's a double fronted cottage right beside where Bridge 88 used to be, on the towpath side of the cut.
Stewart
Reply to
Stewart
The Bird in the Hand was listed in the 1975 Good Beer Guide.
Only beer listed was Bass Worthington served by gravity.
It was also listed as a "Beer only" licence.
I cycled there a few times in the mid 70's but can't remember when it was closed.
Reply to
Brian Waine
On Tue, 10 Apr 2007 14:01:11 +0100, Roy Bailey wrote:
Sadly long gone. The Landlady died in the late 1980's and that was the end. The building deteriorated for a number of years but has fairly recently been done up as two cottages.
Yes it was like being in the living room because you were in the living room. A great place to drink whilst it lasted.
The location is at
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The pub was just above the letters PH in the area by the canal just above the centre of the map.
Cheers,
Reply to
David Kitching
I second/third all all the other responses/comments I've just read. We stopped there one lunchtime on a canal trip in 1979. The beer was Draught Bass. It was served from a large 4 pint jug which was filled in the cellar and brought up to the drinking area which was a pretty basic room about the size of a large lounge (maybe 10 by 10 yds). The old lady wan't there on our visit - we were served by an academic (I think he was a Prof) from Manchester University who said he helped out there occasionally as a sort of hobby. The Bass, by the way, was fantastic.
It was indeed a wonderful place - there's not many one remembers so vividly after 25 years or so - and it certainly would have walked into the National Inventory were it still going in it original form.
As a PS - it was very similar in layout and atmosphere to the Mounted Rifleman in Oare/Luddenham in Kent which had a similar sized drinking room and beer (Fremlins, I think) brought up from the cellar in a jug. That pub also is now, alas, a private house.
Malcolm
Reply to
Malcolm Lee
Are there any left any more? (I'm talking quaint old pubs still run by old families, not beautifully preserved/retained old features pubs). Can't be more than 5 in the country, with all the pub groups taking over now.
Reply to
Mike Jones
Well, there were at least two in Kent that I used until we left about 2 1/2 years ago. Both were old, unspoilt and run by people who'd been there for decades. I haven't heard either has changed, but you never know....
They are Queens Head, Cowden Pound and the Red Lion, Snargate.
Here in Suffolk, there's a few "timeless" pubs but none that I know of that has been in the same family for generations.
Malcolm
Reply to
Malcolm Lee
There was a thread here a year or so ago(?), about the Unspoilt Pubs list that did the rounds (& was münchened in the excellent beery/pubby book - The Longest Crawl, by Ian Marchant) it would seem to fit the bill.
see hear -
formatting link
cheers MikeMcG (whose canal pub & beer fixated brother would prob know a lot more info about this whole subject - )
Reply to
MikeMcG
Hi Roy, I just found a few mentions of the place via googling e.g. from -
formatting link
-
"2pm Reached the hamlet of Kent Green, site of an oft recommended Inn, 'The Bird in Hand,' run by an elderly female character whose name was legendary in the many dockside bars of Strines and High Lane. Beer and Porter only, with the ale being carried up from the cellar in large enamel jugs. We were eager to meet her. Sadly, she had passed away a few weeks previously. We thought that most inconsiderate of her, but then perhaps she had heard that we were coming. Not to be defeated we explored the quiet lane beside the now empty Inn and located 'The Rising Sun', not 25 yards away, lurking in the undergrowth."
I went to see a travelling theatre group perform in a similarly unspoilt canalside pub a few years ago (beer hauled up by jug from the cellar by elderly landlady - dusty, dingy but characterful pub) - Anchor, High Offley, Staffs on Shrops Union Canal. cheers MikeMcG
Reply to
MikeMcG
Kent Green is near Scholar Green. I remember the Bird in Hand but, sadly, it doesn't exist any more.
Jason
In message , Roy Bailey writes
Reply to
Jason Hill
In article ,
The Sun at Leintwardine, Herefordshire, sounds pretty well identical to those already mentioned, and it was extant last year.
Reply to
Christine
Closed as a pub many years ago, and had been derelict for some years. There have been a number of apparently abortive attempts at conversion into a pair of houses over the years, which seem finally to have come to fruition.
When we went past on Sunday, the houses appeared finished but unoccupied.
Location - Immediately adjacent to the site of the former Swing Bridge number 88. The derelict remains of the bridge were removed within the last 5 years, but the stonework remains. There is a traditional Gypsy-style caravan on the opposite bank.
Reply to
Dave Mayall
Followup to: uk.food+drink.real-ale
In article , Dave Mayall writes
Thanks for this and all the other responses. There are several different ones on uk.rec.waterways, who maintained a separate thread.
Mention of the 1973 'Nicholson's Real Ale Guide to the Waterways' reminded me that I had a copy somewhere, and when I found it I also discovered a copy of 'Waterside Pubs' by Ronald Russell (David and Charles - 1974).
Not only does this contain a description of The Bird in Hand, but there is also a good black-and-white photo. The licensee then was described as, '... a man of decided views but always ready to listen to yours.'
MikeMcG also mentioned The Anchor, High Offley, Staffs, on the Shropshire Union Canal. I visited that about 3 years ago, and thought it was marvellous. I imagine the Bird in Hand must have been similar.
Roy.
Reply to
Roy Bailey
Roy (and everyone else interested in "proper" pubs),
If you haven't already got a copy (and can find one), I recommend
"The Quest For The Perfect Pub" by Nick & Charlie Hurt ISBN 0-283-99807-5 (first published 1989)
It's an amusing tale of what must have been an epic pub crawl. It covers about 300 pubs which are the "best" (in the sense of unspoilt etc) that they found. Certainly all the 70 or more that I've drank in over the past (too many) years are great pubs.
Unfortunately, the crawl was by car, so there's not too many canal side pubs in the book.
Malcolm
Reply to
Malcolm Lee
It needs updating; several have fallen from grace in the nearly 2 decades since that was researched. ISTM that nearly all pubs are now owned by big pubgroups with restricted ale policies, restaurants, keg-only and/or closed.
Reply to
Mike Jones
In article , Malcolm Lee writes
I had a copy of this on extended loan some years ago, and I thought it was one of the funniest books I have ever read. Unfortunately the authors ran into legal problem with one of the landlords they featured, and copies are hard to come by. There are two listed on bookfinder.com at about £42 each - a bit steep for me.
Roy.
Reply to
Roy Bailey
In article ,
There used to be a joint social on the first Sunday in December between Wolverhampton and Stafford branches at the Anchor: we used to sing carols and drink Merrie Monk. As I left Wolverhampton branch nearly 20 years ago I can't say if they still go there, nor can I say if the pub's still open. I know it was refurbished at some stage, so that there was beer available upstairs as well as in the cellar.
Reply to
Christine
I started boating in 1991, and I believe that the Bird in Hand had, by that time, closed. I do seem to recall that its swing bridge was still in operation, but I was disapointed a few years later to see that, not only had the timberwork been removed, but the iron mechanism had gone too.
The building itself, for some years, had what appeared to be an old BR carriage tacked on to it as an extension, but that's gone too now. For a couple of years or more the place was boarded up and badly vandalised, but now appears to be lived in - I suppose we should be thankful that the original building still stands.
BTW I also payed 1/- for my fist pint - did yours make you sick too? (I blame the pork pie)
Reply to
Llewellyn ap Iorwerth

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