Sunday, 31 August 2008

Dr Syntax

Among the most uniquely-named pubs in Britain is a pub in Prudhoe, the Dr Syntax. The pub is one of S&N's chain pubs and, as such, is no friend to the real ale fraternity.
Attracted by the unusual name and being parched one sunny afternoon, I wandered in there recently to see what they had to offer. As far as John Smith's goes, I suppose it was a decent enough pint (any port in a storm, as we old sailors say) and the food was basic but very cheap. It seemed a good enough place for the non-discerning drinker, thought I, and I suppose there have to be such places for Saturday night revellers.

Oh yes, Dr Syntax, who was he?
Well, he was a comic character invented by the eighteenth century poet William Combe (1741-1823) who wrote a trilogy of poetical epics about his hero - "Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque", "In Search of Consolation" and "In Search of a Wife".
Combe, along with his hero, has disappeared into the realms of obscurity but copies of his books are still much sought-after because of the brilliant illustrations, which were the work of the famous cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson.
And, of course, he lives on in the name of Prudhoe's pub!


Tandleman said...

The pub name rang a bell, no pun intended. A quick google reveals one in Stockfield, Northumberland and one in Preston, not a million miles from here. Maybe that's where I remember the name?

papastonch said...

Stocksfield is not too far from Prudhoe, so perhaps Dr Syntax had a local connection with that part of Northumberland. Perhaps he also visited Preston "in search of a wife". Are the womenfolk anything special around there?

Jeff said...

It's a nice looking pub from the outside, to be fair. Was the John Smith's the cask version?

Before I became interested (preoccupied?) with beer I remember enjoying cask John Smith's Magnet in Staithes.

papastonch said...

No, I'm afraid it was just the common or garden John Smith's Smoothflow.
There's nothing at this pub for the dedicated and discerning drinker.

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