The Alum House is the oldest licensed premises in South Shields. Some parts of the building date back to the seventeenth century and the quaint and higgledy-piggledy layout of the interior reflects its antiquity.
The alehouse stood on what was originally Alum Ham, the public landing place where scullermen once gathered to row passengers across the Tyne. The river was more of a thoroughfare in those days than a barrier, and intercourse between North and South Shields was much more frequent.
On the day I visited, there were no fewer than EIGHT real ales on tap and they all looked very well-kept. I sat up to the bar and drank three pints of Thwaites' Lancaster Bomber. I had only intended to have the one, but the beer was so well-kept and tasty that I couldn't help myself (know the feeling?).
There was a bloke called Steve there with whom I fell into conversation and I could tell by his shape and style that he was a frequent imbiber. He was knocking back Wychwood Brewery's Beewyched like it was going out of style and kept urging me to partake of it. I've had the stuff before and found it a bit sweet for my palate ("honeyed" is the right word), although I'm sure it's a fine pint for some people's taste.
Anyway, it was a fine afternoon and I promised myself that I'd return some evening for a session, taking you with me, and write more about the place.