On seeing q.8 in Marys pub quiz my mind went all the way back to a Monday early in March 1948, I was on demob leave after my 2 years Nat. Service and needed to go to the National Insurance Office on Derby Rd. to become a civilian again. First surprise of the day came when my father said he would take the day off work to ‘show’ me where it was? So off we walked along Meadow lane. to catch the 43 trolley bus along Arkwright St., Carrington St. Lister Gate Albert St. Wheeler Gate then the ‘dog leg round’ Queen Victoria’s statue then on up Chapel Bar onto Derby Rd. and our stop at the RC Cathedral. Dodging the two way traffic we crossed the road where Dad said he would wait in the ‘Scotch Bar’ at the Albert Hotel. I was soon back as a civilian with ID & a ration book and joined him for my first pint! Dad remarked it was some time since he’d been in the “Hearty Goodfellow”, so back across the road for the second , George & Dragon for another where dad asked “had I ever been in ‘Dabel’s’ “(yard?). As I hadn’t we set off along Long Row, missing out Yates & the Bell, where I think this photographer anticipated the ending of our ‘together jaunt’. Approaching the “Black Boy Hotel” we turned up this yard and there was “the Locomotive Bell” or Dabels as it was better known (is my memory wrong?) We’d only been there a few minutes when 3 flower sellers came in, perished after their stint on the Market Square the barman knew them and was already pouring bottles of Guinness (Dad said ‘Fettled Porter’) into saucepans on two gas rings behind the bar adding one or two ‘additives’ he heated them up & served them in tankards to the waiting hawkers who soon drank them down! A repeat order soon had them rather vociferous so exit and across the road to another ‘new’ pub, the Guildhall, just the one and then through a narrow passage onto St. Peters Gate and a warning re the 8 Bells ( I already knew!). Walking on down Albert St. to the junction with Broad Marsh we stopped on the corner, I knew Dad had been born ‘down the Marsh’ but now standing there I had chapter & verse of his early years told ‘on site’, being born on Caynyun St. (his pronunciation, Canaan?) Attended St.Patricks school, warned twice for playing football in the street, fined 2 shillings the third time by one particular policeman! How most housewives on Saturday mornings would black-lead the fire grate-clean the windows & holystone the front door step etc. and how personal pride both in themselves & surroundings deteriorated the further into the Marsh one went Narrow Marsh becoming so bad that the Police patrolled in 2s & 3s but come Saturday night everyone would clean their selves up as best they could and be in one of the numerous ‘boozers’ singing their heads off and then come outside and settle any dispute with their fists! Poor wages and too many children meant a poor standard of life. He went on to say that the 11am mass at St.Patricks down the road was the fullest church but the poorest collection plate, the better off had already been & gone. Turning round he pointed across the to the Sawyers (Yees Q.8 in Mary’s Quiz) he said he remembered a Zeppelin air raid about 1915-6 dropping a bomb outside the pub causing a lot of damage to the frontage but no casualties but how bad the casualties could have been a couple of hundred yards away!
All this talking had made him thirsty so we had to check how the damage had been repaired, again just the one then on along Carrington St.. missing out the Lincoln ‘cos some of his mates might be in there, likewise the Bentinc, I think the Queens had our custom then on down Arkwright St. missing the Crocus (barred some years previous) Sir Richard Arkwright didn’t like the beer, but had to call in to say Hello to Fred Nason at the lovely green tiled New Bridge pub. his usual Saturday lunchtime call, I’m not sure about the Greyhound before we crossed London Rd. and definitely not the Navigation on Meadow Lane ‘cos it was now past 2.30 pm. closing time!
And so back home to a right ‘verbal rolling pin’ of a welcome “spoilt dinner- coming home in that condition and where have you been till now? etc.
Well it was Monday so dinner was probably ‘Bubble & Squeak, cold meat (from Sunday) home made beetroot & pickles so not spoilt at all! Dad was soon asleep in his arm chair so I said I would go and lay on my bed for an hour, I couldn’t have been that bad because I took my uniform off and put it on its coat hanger,(it was the last time I wore it!) I even took my tie off then crashed out on the bed till 11am next day. Although we enjoyed his company for some 40 years after I never quite repeated the ‘time together’ of that day but I do wish I could remember all of the Nottingham history lesson I had that day.