Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pottering about Stoke

On the way to Burton on Trent the other day, I had an hour or so between trains in Stoke.

I lived in Stoke for three years in the early 90's when I was a student at the poly there and drank in two pubs regularly, The Glebe and The Victoria. They've experienced contrasting fates in the last twenty years.

The Glebe when I drank there was owned by Banks's but it has since been taken over by Joules Brewery who have done a good job sympathetically refitting this nineteenth century pub. Joules first brewed in the late eighteenth century but was bought and shut down by Bass Charrington in the mid-70's before being revived in 2010. The Pale Ale, based on a recipe from the original brewery, reminded me a bit of Batham's Bitter with a clean malt taste and low hopping rate.

The Victoria was apparently the biggest pub in Britain when Marston's opened it in 1900. When I drank in it, the pub stood opposite the football ground of the same name which was demolished when Stoke City moved into a new all-seater stadium in 1997, probably one of the reasons that The Victoria is now boarded up. Having spent many a happy hour drinking Pedigree there as a student, it is now a very sad sight to see.


  1. Blimey. Had somehow missed the resurrection of this brand, despite having been researching the big CAMRA protest march against the brewery closure in 1973. Wish someone would resurrect Starkey Knight & Ford next.

  2. The Victoria used to have a magnificent open staircase in the main bar reminiscent of a Wild West saloon.

    Another distinctive Marston's pub near there, now closed, is Uncle Tom's Cabin.

  3. I've been very impressed by the Joule's pubs I've visited, but given the money they've spent on refurbishments and the fact that many were somewhat struggling previously it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the operation is being funded by someone with deep pockets and doesn't entirely stack up on a strictly commercial basis.