A photo-inspired piece this time. Just some thoughts that struck me after rolling my eyes over a picture of a Falkirk pub.
The pub in question was an Aitken's house. I don't know if they actually owned it or not. As it was directly opposite the brewery, it's not impossible.
Here's the photo:
My guess would be that it dates from the 1920s or 1930s. That's based on two things: the way the draymen are dressed and the amount of bottled beer.
But what does this photo tell us? Several things. For a start that Aitken still had horse-drawn drays between the wars. Not particularly unusual for the period. Especially for local deliveries. As I said, this pub was directly opposite the brewery. Hang on. I'll show you.
1. marks the New Market Bar and 2. the new Aitken brewery. I'm not sure why they bothered with the dray. They could have just rolled the barrels over the street.
Lint Riggs, the street running down the pub's side looks like it was completely remodelled around 1900, with new buildings down both sides of its entire length. I assume the New Market Bar replaced the Market Inn which had stood at the other end of the street. You can see it on the map above.
Returning to my subject, what's odd about that dray? How few barrels there are on it. Most of the space is taken up with crates. It looks as if just a single barrel (and it is a 36-gallon barrel) is being delivered. That's the one next to the sack at the back of the dray. The other barrel looks like an empty, but I could be wrong. That implies that the pub didn't have a great range of draught beer. I can only see four barrels in total. At this time a London pub would have sold four or five different draught beers. My guess is the the New Market probably sold one or two.
That would make Falkirk more similar to Bolton than London in the beer range typically supplied. Many Bolton pubs sold either just Mild and Best Mild or Mild and Bitter. Which I suppose isn't surprising. Both were provincial industrial towns.
The building is still there (albeit with plants growing out of the masonry), but the Market Bar is no more. It's now called the Goose and looks rather like a Wetherspoons from the outside..
Loads more Aitken fun to come.