STATE HOUSE HOLE TRIP
Tuesday 7th June 1994
Not a very enticing title I must admit. Originally this was to be "The No-Longer State House Trip", so I expect by now you are getting the picture. State House, erstwhile sweatshop of many Departmental employees is no more. It has been demolished to make way for something more useful - a hole in the ground. More descriptively this is the Red Lion Street trip I suppose and should give people a chance to re-acquaint themselves with a number of former haunts. Nearest tubes are Holborn (Piccadilly & Central) and Chancery Lane. The first port of call is opposite the Southern (Holborn) end of Red Lion Street equidistant from the two tube stations. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Royal Connaught - 267 High Holborn WC1 [18.30]
Bass; Wadworth 6X; Hancocks HB.
This a large two bar hostelry with the main bar area at ground floor level describing an L-shape. Wood panelled, with a video juke-box screen in one corner. Fairly busy with seating confined to the perimeter. There is a cooked food bar at lunchtime, likely to be hidden behind the wooden shutter opposite the bar counter, but possibly sandwiches etc. still available at the bar itself. The upstairs bar area is reached via the short passage-way which forms the right hand entrance to the pub. Formerly a haunt of DSS (now BA) Organised Fraud Squad so beware. On leaving attempt to cross High Holborn at a suitable point (there are pedestrian crossings about 100 yards away in either direction) because diagonally to the right on the corner of Red Lion St is ...
2. The Old Red Lion - 72 High Holborn WC1 [19.15]
Greene King IPA and Abbot.
This could prove interesting because the pub was closed at the time of the trial, undergoing refurbishment. However I shall provide the description from the first (informal) trial and hope the place is open anyway. It is/was a narrow one bar hostelry with accommodation comprising bar stools along the counter and also in niches by the windows. There is also an upstairs room available for functions. It can appear fairly busy, mainly due to its size (or lack of it). Used to be referred to as The Red Lion, but evidence of revamped pub signs indicates a return to its true name. Affords a splendid view of the blue hoardings surrounding "The Hole". Emerge from here turning left up Red Lion Street, then right into Sandland St. where on the left is ...
3. The Three Cups - 22 Sandland Street WC1 [20.00]
Youngs Special, Ordinary (& on the trial, Winter Warmer).
Situated on the corner of Three Cups Yard, this was formerly a Charrington's establishment (witness the advertising panel inside), but has self-evidently changed hands! A popular one-bar pub with limited amount of seating. Apparently has old washing paraphanelia over the bar. Return to Red Lion St. and turn right. Continue over the cross-roads then on the left by Lambs Conduit Place is ...
4. The Dolphin - 44 Red Lion Street WC1 [20.45]
Flowers Original and IPA; Boddingtons Bitter; Brakspear Bitter; Marston's Pedigree.
One-bar corner pub rebuilt after being destroyed in 1915 by a bomb from a Zeppelin. Apparently the original clock still hangs in the bar, stopped at the time of the explosion. Convivial, hopefully not too busy, but a distinct paucity of seats. Cosily furnished with coppers hanging from the ceiling and window boxes outside. Precipitous route to the toilets. Fairly easy, this one. Directly across the road is ...
5. The Enterprise - 38 Red Lion Street [21.30]
Bass; Fullers London Pride; Highgate Dark; Morland Old Speckled Hen; Harveys Sussex Best; Greene King IPA plus two guest beers e.g. Everard Tiger. Also Belgian bottled beers.
Recently refurbished and now trading under the guise of the Highgate Brewery Company. This is named after the Charrington's Brewery based in Walsall branching out into the pub estate business. A large Victorian style establishment with a bare wooden-boarded Public bar area at the front and a plusher comfortable lounge bar to the rear part of which is non-smoking. The day's edition of the Sun newspaper is displayed on the wall of the Gents (how appropriate). Note the interesting half-pint (what's that? - Ed.) Guinness-style beer glasses. On leaving turn right up to the junction with Theobalds Road, cross over then walk East along the road and on the corner of Emerald Street you will find ...
6. The Queens Head - 64 Theobalds Road WC1 [22.15 or whenever]
Bass, Worthington Best.
A large lounge bar establishment with a very high ceiling. Somewhat Victorian in style, festooned with potted plants and royal portraits. Also brightly lit or was that due to the beer sampling? Fairly busy, but plenty of seats. We did consider including The White Hart (no. 24 on the map), but it appeared to be shut at 9pm, however if you wish to try it go ahead. Otherwise continue past until you arrive at Southampton Row (note the old Kingsway tram tunnel) then either walk down to Holborn tube or catch buses as appropriate.
Survey details: Trial run Wednesday 6th April 1994; combatants - John Wright & Edmund Featherstone.
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