Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ye Olde White Horse, Spalding. Summary

Well, It's been a while since our last post and I'll explain why later. But first, our final thoughts on Ye Olde White Horse.

 It was fantastic!! What a refreshing change to find a pub, and a busy pub at that, which isn't full of one-armed bandits, quiz machines, televisions and a jukebox, and no piped music. There are no gimmicks,.... just people,.... talking,.... without shouting,.... over crappy music.... or the telly,.... It's brilliant! Why aren't there more pubs like this? Proper traditional pubs? It's the first Sam Smiths house I've been in but it certainly won't be the last (I've found out that there's one about 6 or 7 miles away, I'm gonna try it out and see how it compares).

On top of that the people were great too. Everyone we met was nice and seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing. I wish it was my local. I wouldn't have to be trying to build my own in the garden.

Couldn't agree more, brilliant pub, brilliant atmosphere, and if it was our local, I'd defo want to go pub more often. Problem is, if I'm brutally honest, 3 of my locals are good drinking pubs (one has the now obligatory dining room, but it is separate from the bar) and I don't go that often. Thing is, the minute we entered the pub, it felt welcoming. It was a good place to be. a real highlight in our ongoing adventure. This, of course, is testament to the staff and patrons of Ye Olde White Horse. 

Here's hoping our next pub is just as good....

So, our thanks to Sam, Martin, Terri, Squeak and all the people we met. We had a great time and, with the visit to Stamford on the way there, it was one of the best trips we've made so far.

Now, I've recently found out that I have to go into hospital for a hip replacement (been struggling a bit and this little project has kinda took a back seat). Not sure when. I'm waiting for a date. We hope to pull another trip in before the surgery but then I'll be laid up for a couple of months so please bear with us. We did get one of the locals at Spalding, Ray, to pick our next pub to visit but whether we will get to that one next, we're not sure (because of it's location, we plan on camping, so we are at the mercy of the good old British summer). If we have to, we can go to one really local to us (about 30 miles) but we were saving that one for when we are skint!! As soon as we decide, we'll let you know.

Anyway, more from us soon, Cheers


I was on the verge, almost, of publishing this episode of our blog when I received an e-mail from a reader, Dale Ingram. Dale is an architectural historian who specialises in pubs and she discovered a book, entitled;


















Now, there's a mouthful. I wouldn't have thought this got checked out of the library very often, nobody could remember the bloody title!

Anyway, today  you can read this book (for free) on Googlebooks and on page 33 you will find the following passage:-

In the Abbey-yard formerly stood a large brewery, occupied by Mr. George Burrell, on ground where a large granary is erected, and where the Hearse and Mourning Coach stands; near to it stood a public house, called the Elephant and Castle, kept by Mr. Bennett; but both have been pulled down long since.

I know there still is a place called Abbey Yard but I'd be very surprised if it's the same place. This book was published in 1846 and if the Elephant and Castle was "pulled down long since" that would mean possibly late 1700s or early 1800s, which would tie in nicely with the transportation to the colonies of the unfortunate woman in the story. And, can anyone tell me what the "Hearse and Mourning Coach" was? Was it another (oddly named) pub? If not, what could it have been?

Hi, still me. I thought I'd better expand on our "excuses" for not posting for ages. 
Well, I've had my operation. Got a nice new shiny hip (still bloody painful yet). 
My date came through quicker than I expected so we didn't have time to arrange anything before my op. We then planned to go somewhere about a month ago but, as I couldn't drive for 6 weeks, we were depending on someone else to drive (as we were taking two cars to accommodate all the family) but they had to pull out at the last moment. So we had to cancel that. On top of that my son was made redundant from his job, so he faced some uncertainty, but he's sorted out now with an even better position, so as soon as we can make arrangements we will get moving again. 

Hope I'm not boring you but I didn't want you to think we were losing interest.

So, hopefully we'll have some news soon, Cheers!!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Ye Olde White Horse, Spalding, Part 2

So the evening wore on, the company was excellent and the refreshment likewise. Squeak (who's really named Peter) (I remembered to ask) ( I also asked why they called him Squeak and he told me but see below) knew loads about the pub. He told us about the bricks coming from the old prison (or the ruins of the abbey, or was that the bridge? Buggered if I can remember.) and who built it, and all the time the Organic Pure Brewed Lager was flowing. So much so that I have a confession to make. I can hardly remember anything he bloody told me!

Normally on these visits we find a prominent table and park ourselves. This way we can talk to most of the punters, write down what they tell us (in my own shorthand which, on this occasion, even I can't understand), keep an eye on the doors for interesting looking people coming in and be close to the bar for eavesdropping and refreshing our glasses (eavesdropping because it's surprising how many people, once they know why you're there, start reminiscing with their mates or telling stories to each other. We've picked up a couple of gems in this way).

But on this occasion we met Squeak.

Me and the legend that is Squeak

 And Squeak was glued to a bar stool. He was sat there when we arrived and was still sat there when we left, in fact, I don't even remember him getting up for a piss!! When we first started talking to him I was holding my little briefcase thingy with one hand and trying to write down what he said with the other and trying to grab a drink whenever I got chance. I must have looked a right muppet so after 10 minutes of this I thought "bugger this for a game of soldiers", abandoned the notes and just enjoyed listening to the old fella talk.

 All throughout the evening we were mingling with the locals and staff, this was a cracking pub. The barmaid, Terri, showed me an old, bookworm riddled leaflet called "Bayards Leap". It depicted the story of Bayard the horse, a local tale of a knight on his trusted steed, Bayard, who vanquished a local witch by rearing up and landing with such force, he sent the witch flying, and the remaining hoof prints have been cast in concrete in the town. Don't know when this Witch was around though, maybe the Friday night before we got there?

Bayard's worm-ridden leap!
After a few beers, (which I need to talk about in great length) I met quite a colorful gent who showed me his trick wallet, where you place a note in the wallet, close it and open it, and its miraculously tucked itself in with the rest of the notes (I believe he knew I was intoxicated, and obviously saw me as easy prey). You probably have to see it to know what I'm on about, but just Google "magic wallet". Due to my level of inebriation, this clearly put a befuddled look on my face, and it bought much merriment to the whole pub....


Now I need to talk about the brewery. I had never heard of Samuel Smith breweries. I have heard of John Smiths, largely due to me watching too many action films on telly and coming across an ad or two for John Smiths ale. So I was surprised to hear about Samuel Smith being related to John Smith. Squeak did tell me a marvelous tale of a bitter rivalry between feuding brothers, to which I imagined the left Twix and right Twix factories, but alas, the truth is nowhere near as glamorous. John Smith gifted his first brewery to his nephew, Samuel. End of. (Bloody internet, took the mystery out of that tale! Always a bit of a downer that, in the old days, someone in yer local, like Squeak, would tell you a great tale like that, and you would all lap it up... now, we check Wikipedia...) So this was my first "Sam Smith" pint. and it was lovely. I looked for Stella, but didn't find it. Couldn't see Carlsberg, or Carling, or John Smiths for that matter...

There was no branded beer at all. Nothing. Zip. I asked Terri about it, and she told me that you can have any drink that you can get at any other pub. You just get the Sam Smith version. The Organic Lager me and pops were supping.... Sam Stella. My missus would've ordered a Bacardi and Coke (double)......... well have a Sam Smith White Rum!...... with Sam Smith Cola... and it didn't stop there. Every Beer, Lager, Spirit, Soft drink, Cordial, even packet of crisps, was a Samuel Smith replacement (can I say copy?) It might have been the organic hops running through my system, but it blew my mind! enough to get some pics at least! 

Some Sammy Smith Spirits....
And Some Sammy Smith Snacks...

Yeah, it was a bit strange at first, this insistence that everything must have his own name on it, but then again, It's his pub chain, he can do whatever the hell he likes........and good luck to him!!

Throughout the night we chatted to lots of people, Ray, Julie, the guy with the magic wallet, a couple of young fellas outside while I was having a smoke, four retired couples sat round one table in the lounge and loads more. The trouble is, we were having such a good time I forgot to take pictures of most of them and didn't get their names either! (Damn that Samuel Smiths Organic Pure Brewed Lager!!).

Ray (one picture we did get)

But the main point is everyone we spoke to was friendly and seemed interested. No-one seemed put out when we barged into their evening and all were ready to chat

Later in the evening we were joined by a couple of friends of our own, Tom and Tracey who had traveled down from their home in Lincoln just to take part in our little project. This didn't help our sobriety much as they turned up around 9 o'clock and were ready to party and we'd been drinking since 5. And we just had to keep up with them didn't we? (Well, it would have been rude not to!)

Tracey, Tom, Terri, me and Clint

Eventually it got to the point where Clint and I (well, me really) had had enough to drink and were getting the munchies so we bade farewell to Sam, Terri, Squeak (who on several occasions tried to get me to part with the cigarette card with The White Horse on it) and everyone else and set off to look for a kebab house or other such establishment. 

And so our visit to Ye Olde White Horse, Spalding came to an end. More next time, Cheers.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ye Olde White Horse Spalding Diversion

Sunday 23rd March 2014

When we first posted that we were going to Spalding a guy messaged us on Facebook and suggested that, as we were in that neck of the woods, we should also visit Stamford where there is a medieval banqueting house that was converted into a brewery.

We had a look on tinterweb and found out it was called All Saints Brewery and is part of the Samuel Smiths group. Well, as we were going to a Sam Smiths pub we thought why not?

It said on the web page that there were guided tours that visitors could take so I rang them to see if there were any tours on the day we were going. I spoke to the landlord, a guy called Mark, and he told me that, unfortunately, there were no tours available that day but if we cared to book another day we would be welcome. I explained that this was the only day we would be in the area and explained about our trips. 

A few days later he messaged me on Facebook and said he'd read our blog, that he now understood and that if we called in he would try to spare us a little of his time. 

Now we had to go.

 Stamford itself is an absolutely beautiful town, with every building being built from stone, giving the whole town a uniqueness that makes it stand out. Every street, shop, pub, and church (and there’s a lot of churches) all come together to make a truly memorable visit. Upon our arrival we had a quick look around the town while walking to the pub. Loads of photo ops. 

 So, this is the detour I mentioned in our post about Ye Olde White Horse. We arrived in Stamford about half past two and struggled to find a parking space (the one drawback to this fine town) and were on the point of giving it a miss until we stumbled on a car park down a little side street. From here it was about a five or ten minute walk to All Saints and, as the whole town is built in old Lincolnshire limestone, it is very picturesque.

Then we arrived at our destination.

Me outside (as usual)

After dads pathetic attempt at finding somewhere to park we eventually arrived at the pub/brewery. Yes, there is a pub too. The front of the building , which used to be a dwelling has been converted into a very handsome drinking and eating establishment called the Melbourne Brothers pub. We had a bit of a look round outside and then went in.

The brewery is round the back of the pub, up a driveway which was access for horses back in the day. An old well was turned into a beer garden feature, all looked mint.  

Why do you always have to take pictures that make me look like a berk?

It's a natural talent of mine......and yours. Anyway, we found our way into the bar and Dad ordered a drink. He had half a pint of Samuel Smiths Pure Brewed Organic Lager which he said was great (his head didn't think it so great Sunday morning after he over-indulged later that night). (WE over-indulged!! You weren't too bright yourself the next day). Yeah, whatever. As I said, he had a lager but I decided to try one of the beers they brew on the premises. They make four beers, all fruit flavours. Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry and Apricot. I had a strawberry. It was okay as it goes but i wouldn't have another. Dad thought it was shite. (Not nasty, just think beer should taste of beer). 

I asked the guy behind the bar if the landlord was about and he pointed out the landlady. I introduced myself and she said she would see if her husband, Mark, had time to see us and off she went. We had a look round inside and it's very interesting, all different levels and stairs everywhere. 

I'd love one of these for my pub
After a few minutes Mark turned up. The pub seemed pretty busy and he'd obviously been working in the kitchen but it appeared he'd dropped everything just to come and talk to us! Brilliant!

Me and Mark

Mark knew everything! What a font of pub knowledge this guy was. And he was a nice bloke to boot! He told us all about the history of the pub, how it was originally built as a dwelling in the 15th century with the brewery being built in 1825 although it would seem that there has been some brewing on the site for several hundred years. He also told us about  a tunnel that led to the adjacent All Saints Church, just across the road. The tunnel was used as an escape route by the monks of the church in the event of any trouble. Once in the building, they would use a hidden door in the fireplace (now the access to the ladies toilets) to access a cellar, and there they would stay until safe. What’s really interesting is that the cellar has a window angled up to the spire of the church, so anyone in the church can signal the hidden monks in the cellar when the coast was clear. Genius.

 It was hard to get a decent picture so I had to do it like this.

Mark also told us about the brewery, how they still use the original steam engine and how most of the brewery is as it was originally installed. He told us about the recent acquisition of the pub by the latest brewery, Samuel Smiths. He told us about the dates of the original fireplace, and the dates of the extended fireplace. When I say he knew everything, he knew everything! And what really amazed me is that he’s only been landlord there for 2 years! As me dad said though, if you love what you do, it’s easy to remember. 

It was a great place and was well worth a visit, if you’re ever near Spalding; make the time to visit Stamford. Unfortunately we had to cut short our time there and head for Spalding, but we could’ve stayed for the rest of the day…

Yes, as Clint said we could have stayed all day and had a session but it was time to move on. However we highly recommend going to Stamford and if you fancy a tour of the brewery you can find details here http://www.stamford- We shall definitely try to get back there and make a day of it. Cheers for now.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ye Olde White Horse, Spalding, Part 1

21st March 2014

We're back in business! After 8 months we are visiting pubs again. And this one looked promising.

I'd rang the pub and spoke to the landlady, Sam and she seemed very helpful and quite interested. I'd also contacted the local paper, The Spalding Guardian, hoping they could put me in touch with a local history society or historian but had had no reply. Still, we were travelling with loads of expectation especially as we were making a bit of a detour on the way there (more on that later).

We got to our hotel in Spalding about 4ish and, after checking in with the 70s throwback manager (three piece suit, kipper tie and "pancho" moustache), decided to have a pint seeing as they sold Stella. I'm glad Clint paid 'cos it was like gnats piss. We then went to our rooms and got ready for the big night (we hoped).


When we eventually arrived we checked in at our hotel which had the creepiest manager ever, laughing at the most trivial things we said, which made me uncomfortable. Maybe he felt the need to be over-friendly due to his position, but i think we all just want people to be genuine.

After a quick splash o' Brut we headed off for Ye Olde White Horse which, according to Google, was across the canal and down a bit. About a 10 or 15 minute walk which gave us a chance to see a bit of Spalding on the water......... and it's very nice though there are some exceedingly small front doors on the buildings. Anyone know why? Anyway, I got some nice pictures and enjoyed the walk.

Even Dad'd have to duck and he's only 5' 5"


Sure enough, down a bit and across a bridge and there it was, Ye Olde White Horse.

We'd arrived!

It's a very pretty building. I mean, who doesn't like a thatched roof?

Fire insurance companies?

All right, smart arse! We took a couple of pictures and crossed the threshold.

Usual pic of me outside the pub
There were quite a few people in, which is good to see at 5 o'clock, and I made my way further in as the bar area was pretty well occupied. You go up a couple of steps and there is more bar and here there was room to get in and as we approached the bar a woman behind said " Hi, we saw you were on your way. We saw the picture you posted on Facebook!"

This was brilliant!! They'd been interested enough to watch our Facebook page and were expecting us. The lady I was talking to was Sam, the landlady and we were quickly joined by Terri, her barmaid. Terri wanted to see the cigarette cards straight away so after I'd ordered a beer I handed them over and then Sam took me on a quick tour of the pub and Clint went off with Terri into the main bar area.

Clint, Terri, Sam and yours truly

Sam showed me where the original pub ended and the new bit began and showed me all the old photos on the wall and the history behind them as we walked through the lounge and back to the bar where we came in. There we found Clint talking to Terri and an older guy who was sat on a bar stool in the corner. Clint introduced him to me as "Squeak"!

We were off to a flyer! Not only did this seem like a good watering hole, but also, when Dad had contacted them, they were genuinely interested! To the point they had read the blog and recognised us! Well… dad anyway... The landlady was called Sam, and although she had a pub full of paying customers, she immediately took dad on a tour around the pub, and left me at the bar… but after a couple of minutes, the barmaid, Terri, came over for a chat. Sam had told her about our tour, and she wanted to see the cards. She showed them around the pub and before long I was stood next to an old boy discussing the pub. They called him Squeak, I forgot to ask why, and I forgot to ask his real name. But if I’m honest, whatever his real name was, I will forever call him Squeak. 


So I took root next to Squeak, and Dad came back and we stood talking for the rest of the night. Squeak had lots of old knowledge about Spalding, as he had lived there all his life. He told us a tale about a young woman who was listed as “stolen” from a pub in Spalding and shipped to Australia in the 1800’s, and the pub in question was called The Elephant and Castle. The twist in the tale is that no one can remember, or find any reference to, the Elephant and Castle ever being in Spalding. We had a little Google search on me Google phone (which I am beginning to fall out with!) but came up empty handed. I've had another quick look online since, but with no joy. Any info from anyone out there would be much appreciated, as I’m sure we could get it back to Squeak…

So, as we chatted to Squeak, we had another beer, and another beer,,,,,,,,,,,,,and another beer,,,,,,,,,,,,,ad infinitum. Because it was bloody lovely! It was Samuel Smiths Pure Brewed Organic Lager and I would recommend it to anyone (although I perhaps wouldn't recommend drinking as much as we did).

Well, that's enough for now. Part 2 coming soon, Cheers!!