I promise this is the last retrospective/regressive look at pubs of my youth (for now at least, until I age ten years or more beyond my last period of pub and beer writing, which started in about 2005...). And can I also apologise for the lack of photo's of any of the pubs listed below.
In 1995, for it was then, I was asked by a friend to produce a guide to my favourite pubs in Derbyshire. I insisted that this would be a mammoth task unless I concentrated on one area, and designated a random swathe of the county "South Derbyshire". Of course, this was entirely erroneous. Its more like mid to South West Derbyshire. Sort of ten miles either side of the River Dove. Ish....
Anyhoo, I listed nine pubs that I liked, probably half of which I got from the GBG, some of which may have been introduced to me by Wee Fatha. I confess that am unsure why I stopped at nine, unless I wanted the list to be printed on one side of A4 only?
A copy of the handwritten list, missing my rather obtuse descriptions, is reproduced below (not in preference order I admit) :
1. Winster : Old Bowling Green,
2. Kirk Ireton : Barley Mow
3. Parwich : Sycamore
4. Hartington : Joseph Cotton (I know, I know, its the Charles Cotton...)
5. Alstonefield : The George
6. Fenny Bentley : Bentley Brook Inn
7. Fenny Bentley : Coach and Horses
8. Earl Sterndale : The Quiet Woman
9. Chelmorton : Church Inn
What I find interesting about this snap shot is that I was 21 when I compiled it, and it features a lot of very traditional pubs (so seems my tastes haven't changed), and a few that are, quite frankly, still classic pubs. The Barley Mow and Quiet Woman are still firm favourites, remaining unaltered in nearly two decades, and I have been to all of them in the last couple of years, except for those in Fenny Bentley.
Also, as if anticpating the future of village pubs (the good future that is, where they remain open...) I notice that some of the featured pubs have received plaudits for taking a central role in their communities. The Sycamore at Parwich particularly, in having received TV coverage, has made the pub the hub with a shop inside the premises, and the Barley Mow at Kirk Ireton opened a shop in an adjacent building a few years ago. In 1995 I am certain there was at least one shop in each village (in my day, etc). See more info about the Sycamore here from the excellent Gettothepub.com.
Finally, I note that all but the Hartington, Alstonefield and Fenny Bentley pubs were still featured in the 2011 Good Beer Guide (I don't buy GBG's, I inherit them, so will have to wait til September 2012 for Wee Fatha to receive his new 2013 edition), many having been featured for many years now.
Which begs the question, given the ongoing success of most of the above pubs, who's assessment of the best pubs in the area in 1995 was most prescient - mine or the respective CAMRA branches?
Well, I had considerably less resources and pub going experience, so....