This trip covers an area that may be familiar to a number of you. For those still working around here you may as well continue from where lunchtime finished, others (especially "retired") can regard it as a nostalgia trip. There was some debate on the trial run as to the order of visiting, but we settled on the same as the trial since access to public transport after the last pub is quite good. Anyway this access (Bakerloo or Northern Line tube, or buses e.g. 40 & 133) sill make it easy to locate the first port of call which should need no introductionl. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].

1. The Ship - 68 Borough Road SE1 [18:30]
Fullers ESB, London pride, Chiswick, Honeydew 4.3%.

Oft-frequented haunt of HASSRALE although a decline in beer availability and range was noted after the change of publicans a while ago. On the evening of the trial run however all beers were on and in good condition. This is a "woody" one-bar pub with a concrete patio garden area and the Captains Table room (no bar) upstairs. The dart board bears the scars of many a HASSRALE victory/defeat. Food counter operational until about 9pm by the way. On leaving, turn right and continue along Borough Rd until at the cross-road junction under the railway bridge is ...

2. The Goose and Firkin - 47 Borough Road [19:15]
Dogbolter, Goose Bitter, Best Bitter.

Originally a Bruce's pub of course (the first), but long ago taken over by Allied-Domecq. The basic layout has been retained although the arrangement of the seating has altered. Even the furniture appears as it was 20 years ago and only slightly more decrepit. Unfortunately with 150 pubs in the group the Firkin novelty has diminished somewhat, but this pub did start a trend followed by many other companies. The usual puns and garish signs abound. The ceiling has two chandelier-style light fittings and for those lying on the floor (face-up), a clock is horizontally mounted pointing towards the floor. Continue along Borough Rd to St George's Circus, cross Blackfriars Rd then just down Westminster Bridge Rd on the corner of Dodson St is ....

3. The Flowers of the Forest - 14 Westminster Bridge Road [20:00]
Old Speckled Hen; Fullers London Pride; Courage Best.

The original pub of this name was situated along Blackfriars Road, but when it closed the landlord moved to this establishment, formerly the Oxford Arms. Somewhat dingy inside, not scruffy just dimly lit. The main illumination came from two large projection TV screens which happened to be showing The Simpsons, however other sporting events may prevail. There were also two roaring real gas fires whose effect was required on the day, but hopefully not during this visit. Can be a popular venue for hungry students in which case, if busy, we can migrate to the seats outside.. We now need to cross Westminster Bridge Rd via the convoluted pedestrian lights opposite, then head left and round towards London Rd. Down on the right is ....

4. Zanzibar - 44 Lambeth Road [20:30]
Worthington Best.

Rather limited range of beer, but real ale pubs seem somewhat scarce in this vicinity. Many of you may remember this as the St George's Tavern with guest beers such as those from Southwark's Cathedral brewery, but sadly no more. In its previous guise this used to have loud music from tapes, juke-box and occasionally live jazz. Now this has been supplanted by quiet background music and subdued red lighting that barely enables people to see the table menus (yes, now a café bar). We shall not dally here too long, just sufficient to reminisce on former days. Now leave to go back across London Rd. A detour via the Albert was contemplated, but on the trial run there was no handpumped beer. So turn left down Thomas Doyle St then right into Keyworth St where down on the left is ...

5. The George - 23 Keyworth Street [21:15]
Fullers London Pride; Greene King IPA.

Very close to the former Polytechnic of the South Bank, now a University. This has a U-shaped bar area that presumably was two bars formerly. There is a separate function room at the back, but no bar contained within. The pub is comfortable with a number of tables (but no pool). Permanent juke-box music, but the beer was cheap (Pride was 1-55p per pint). Nearly finished, continue down Keyworth St then cross Newington Causeway. Don't bother going down Rockingham St since The Wellington is no more although the Hand in Hand may have some beer. Instead continue to the right where on the corner is ...

6. The Elephant & Castle - 1 Newington Causeway [22.00+]
Usher's Best (1-20p per pint).

The original building was a 16th Century playhouse which became a tavern. Rebuilt as a Victorian pub in 1898 it was demolished in 1959 to make way for this rather less illustrious square-shaped establishment. The bar is along half of one wall and all the rest is the drinking area. Pool table in constant use. The pub is right by the large roundabout system and plain glass unobstructed windows give a goldfish bowl effect. Once frequented by DHSS employees at AFH, this is one of the last pubs in the area to maintain continuity with the old days. That's the end of the trip. Both Underground lines are within easy reach as are the various bus stops. Happy travelling!

Trial details: Edmund & James Featherstone, John Wright on Tuesday 20th April 1999.


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