Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There Are a Lot of Pubs in Plymouth

I thought I'd take the camera along to work with me over the last few days with the intention of taking some snaps of stuff that perhaps doesn't often get recorded photographically.

This is based on the idea that in the latter years of my dad's time as movable and animated carbon he took to looking through his large collection of photos and, you know what? The seriously interesting ones were the ones that showed stuff that didn't often get recorded photographically. Shots of street scenes, the exteriors of long closed down businesses, what were once new vehicles.

Sadly, I had to "lose" a lot of dad's slides which were of places that no one recognised or (more occasionally) people unknown to anyone but my dad; he never got around to cataloguing properly and eventually a picture of one hill looks pretty much like a picture of another unless you know the context. There are still a myriad slides from his prolific lens cluttering assorted cubby holes in Millbrooker Towers, but I do at least know what they're all of or have a fair chance of finding out from someone else.

I've actually been doing this sort of thing ever since I first got a digital camera - and I've catalogued my lot, so no clicking the delete button when I'm no longer animate, children.

Anyway here's a small selection of my recent "local history" shots which, one day, will probably be completely useless to anybody.

This is Archer Place and Archer Terrace, just off North Rd West in Plymouth.

Not far from Archer Place is the criminally neglected majolica tile work of The Melbourne Inn on Wyndham St East.

You might have noticed a theme beginning to build here - there are quite a lot of pubs on the commuting walk homeward. I haven't actually graced any of them with my presence in terms of drinking, but they are a part of local history nonetheless. Here's The Francis Arms on Francis Street:

Equally I have never graced any of these Union St establishments with my custom. That's L-R "The Gentleman's Club" knocking shop, Bill and Doc Price's tattoo parlour and Zaytoon (a 24 hour eatery of slightly lower than haute cuisine).

A little further along Union Street and a swift left turn to East St (off Stonehouse Street) and we have the now boarded up Mechanic's Arms (or "business opportunity as Dong might refer to it) and the still operational Lord High Admiral.

We also have The Phoenix, just off Union St, which has been looking a bit on the closed side in recent days, but this could just be that it's not worthwhile opening in daylight hours.

And last, but not least, one that I have purchased the odd pint from in my time, "The First Pub in Devon" on Admiral's Hard: The Vine.

As you will have noted, I walk through some of Plymouth's most delightful corners in my travels to and from work. The bit on the Cornish side from Cremyll to Millbrook is considerably more bucolic and pleasant but here's the question in which the interest lies: I wonder how many of these businesses will still look the same (or even be there at all) in five, ten, twenty years?

Needless to say I've loads of even less attractive scenes featuring the concrete neo-brutalism of Plymouth's post-war reconstruction; I can bore you with them if you like, but I imagine a few photos of town pubs and brothels might be mildly more entertaining. Admittedly only mildly, but there you go...

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