Thursday, 15 May 2008

A Visit to No Place

No Place is a former mining community near to Beamish, Co. Durham, and I went there to visit the famous Beamish Mary pub, well-beloved of real ale drinkers in the North East.
In order to work up a thirst, I walked the mile or two from Chester-le-Street along the disused mineral railway track which once served the Consett Iron and Steel Works. Along this track there are some fascinating sculptures, made entirely from scrap metal, such as the Mechanical Cows, pictured here. Just before reaching the cows, there is a path on the right of the line, leading up to the road. Walk left to the roundabout and follow the sign “No Place”. The Beamish Mary is soon sighted at the first curve of the road.
The pub is over a century old and, until 1987, was called The Red Robin Inn, a name which many of the locals still insist on using. The photo shows the Inn as it was in about 1900, when it was in the charge of the Cranston family. Money was so tight in those days that the licensee had to go down the pit to supplement their income, where he was killed in an accident below ground.
Beamish Mary was actually the name of the nearby pit, which closed in 1963. Apparently the pit was itself named after the Victorian mine-owner’s daughter. Not surprisingly, there are many “pitmatic” momentos to be enjoyed and reminisced over inside the pub.
When I arrived, I was really looking forward to the real ales which the pub serves and for which they are justifiably famous. They always have at least FIVE on sale at any particular time, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about them.

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