Tagged: Pubs

Athol Vaults

The Lambeth

Pub closures are nothing new. Hundreds shut in the 1950s and 60s as neighbourhoods were cleared in the massive slum clearance programmes. Now a whole range of problems has resulted in another wave that has led to many ‘locals’ putting up the towels for the last time. Faced with the smoking ban, cheap supermarket alcohol, changing social habits (more people staying in to enjoy home entertainment) and the migration of younger drinkers to the city centre – the pressures on pubs have never been greater (and that is not taking into account the effect of the recession).
Once familiar landmarks are being demolished or are standing empty with no expectation of reopening – and this inspired Kevin Casey to document their demise. Over 80 pubs are documented in his book Closing Time: The Lost Pubs of Liverpool and they represent just a fraction of locals that have closed in the last few years.
Should we care? That is a difficult question at a time when alcohol consumption is a national issue. But Closing Time puts forward the point that the neighbourhood pub had a controlling effect on those who drank there. Generally, people behaved themselves and drank sensibly because they were in their own community (and pub landlords were a tough breed). The pub was the centre of social and sporting activities and had a role to play in the community. Not all pubs are lost – but their survival (and fascinating architecture) is truly under threat. A book well worth buying (said the publisher).