Hassrale Trips: Maundy Thursday 2003

Date: Thursday April 17th 2003

Conscious of the paucity of HASSRALE trips anyway, the trial committee set to and have done the reconnaissance for the traditional Maundy Thursday trip. This will bring the total for the year so far to the dizzy heights of two! Oh well, quality over quantity perhaps. In what may be regarded by some as a heinous break with tradition, the usual starting venue of the Duke of Sussex has been dropped in favour of the HITW. Frankly the variable beer range/quality, high prices and the lack of association with "local" DoH/DWP staff precludes its inclusion, but feel free to visit it anyway of course. However the rest of the trip should be familiar to most of you. The usual caveat of not relying too strictly on timings pertains, fortunately the ubiquity of mobile 'phones should ensure that latecomers or stragglers can locate the "main" group (i.e the 3 or 4 of us). Please propagate this to anyone whom you think might be interested. If you can't find the first pub by now you must be the only person in London who has failed to! Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ], (see above).

1. The Hole in the Wall - 5 Mepham Street [14:00]
Beers: Morlands Old Speckled Hen; Youngs Special and Ordinary; Everards Tiger; Adnams Broadside & Bitter; Fuller's London Pride, Brakspears Bitter and Bass.

Usually this is the last venue on our Christmas trip, so it may be a new experience to see it in daylight (or when sober?). This is a large two-bar pub right under the railway viaduct and overlooking Waterloo Station's Victory Arch. Beer generally in good condition, the rear bar has a juke-box, projection screen TV and several gaming machines, while the front bar is less noisy (no juke-box) and plusher. We're still not sure about the  re-decoration though. Beware the staff tend to lurk in the rear bar avoiding thirsty customers in the front one.

2. The Kings Arms - Roupell Street [14:30]
Beers: Adnams Bitter; Brakspears; Marston's Pedigree; Tetley Bitter.

Once again this is the preferred second pub since neither the Wellington nor the White Hart merit inclusion. For those that do not recall it is a two bar pub with the saloon to the left and a narrow "public" to the right. The rear covered courtyard has large tables reminiscent of a school dining hall and is usually just as hectic. Should you wish to partake, the menu favours Thai food.

3. The Mulberry Bush - 89 Upperground [15:30]
Beers: Youngs Special and Ordinary.

Not visited on the trial, but unlikely to have altered. Very busy modern pub with the front open in summer (it could be today) and populated mainly by Channel 4 employees. Slightly quieter back area, apparently non-smoking although sometimes this rule is transgressed (not by HASSRALE surely?). Stylish interior, again food is prominent.

4. The Rose and Crown - 47 Colombo Street [16:30]
Beers: Shepherd Neame Best Bitter, Masterbrew, Spitfire.

On Mr Carter's suggestion this has been promoted to an earlier time slot so that those of us who wish to sit outside can avail ourselves of the weather, so bring your umbrellas. Yes there are tables outside in the garden by the precinct of the church, however the internal accommodation is limited (and may involve standing). There is also an upstairs bar, but generally open only for diners.

5. The Stamford Arms - Stamford Street [17:00]
Beers: Courage Best; Wadworth's 6X; Youngs Ordinary.

We did visit this on the trial and last year's description is still appropriate (even to the football!). Fairly large corner pub, wooden floorboards, background music. Football on the TV, not always on one presumes (don't bet on it, see above). Bar and dining area upstairs, food apparently served till 8pm. Can get busy in the afternoons, but there are tables outside for those who enjoy watching the world (and traffic) go by.

6. The Mad Hatter - Stamford Street/Blackfriars Road [17:45]
Beers: Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick and Honey Dew.

Large Fullers pub and hotel in former Midland bank premises. It can get very busy, but the seating area extends right through to the back. N.B. This year we did trial it and actually found seats despite there being televised football (but there was no TV set nearby).

7. The Prince William Henry - 217 Blackfriars Road [18:30]
Beers: Youngs Special and Ordinary.

On the 2002 trip we found out on the day that the Ring was closed, hence this hostelry couldn't be skipped (unlike on some previous years). Despite its reputation for being busy it was surprisingly empty last year and this opinion was endorsed on the trial run.

8. The Ring - 72 Blackfriars Road [19:15 or whenever]
Beers: Marstons Pedigree.

Included on many a HASSRALE trip, but had to be omitted last year as mentioned above due to its then recent closure. The premises remained in the hands of the builders for many months and has been refurbished, but retains the same layout. The original staff have gone, replaced by a (much) younger line-up. The wealth of boxing photos remain, but one suspects that the training ring upstairs has gone as have the regulars from the local flats. Oh and by the way, forget any likelihood of Burton (even when a pub still stocks it it's only a shadow of its former self).

At this point we are at the corner of The Cut opposite Southwark tube station (Jubilee Line). However those who are heading back towards Waterloo Station may wish to call in at Bar Citrus (the replacement for the Anchor and Hope) or perhaps the Windmill. Hopefully see you all at some stage and have a pleasant Easter.

Survey details: Edmund & James Featherstone and John Wright (yes, we're still around - any ideas for further trips considered) who trialled the route on Weds 2nd April 2003.

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