Cleveleys and Bispham pubs may call time on mobile phones

The simple act of reaching for your smart phone or using a laptop could be a step too far if a popular pub chain decides to bring in a new rule.

By Richard Hunt
Saturday, 30th March 2019, 5:00 am
Top, Glenn Shaw, John Didlock and Alan Millington in The Bispham Hotel. Bottom, left, The Bispham and, bottom, right, the Victoria
Top, Glenn Shaw, John Didlock and Alan Millington in The Bispham Hotel. Bottom, left, The Bispham and, bottom, right, the Victoria

And it could impact two popular pubs here on the Fylde coast.

Samuel Smiths, the Yorkshire chain of alehouses which prides itself on its traditional values, could be about to ban such devices.

Reports are now circulating that the chain has already brought the stipulation into effect in some of its pubs, under the direction of chain owner Humphrey Smith, who wants staff to be strict about imposing it.

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Top, Glenn Shaw, John Didlock and Alan Millington in The Bispham Hotel. Bottom, left, The Bispham and, bottom, right, the Victoria

He is said to have horrified that some punters are just sitting there, glued to their smart phones, instead of chatting with their pals.

Samuel Smiths runs two pubs on the Fylde coast – The Victoria on Victoria Road West in Cleveleys, and The Bispham Hotel on Red Bank Road, Bispham.

A report in one national newspaper even claimed Humphrey had visited The Victoria incognito and was not happy that customers were using their phones in the main lounge.

At The Bispham, regulars said they would not mind if the ruling came in - but they doubted it could be made to work.

Car sales boss John Didlock, 66, of Queens Prom, Cleveleys, said: “I’d love to see it, it would stop people cheating in pub quizzes!

“Samuel Smiths pubs are some of the few, true drinking pubs left.

“There is no telly booming out, no loud music, no dogs, no children, so having no mobiles is a similar idea.”

Alan Millington, 81, of Cornwall Avenue, Bispham,a former college lecturer, said: “I think it’s a good idea but it won’t work.

“Some people won’t be able to adhere to it, they’re too reliant on their phones.

“They’ve not said anything about it coming here yet, but if it’s a company-wide thing, they’ll probably give it a try.”

Glenn Shaw, 67, of Ingthorpe Avenue, had his first drink in the Bispham when he was 18 and he has been a regular there ever since, for almost 50 years.

He said: “I’d be quite happy with no mobile phones here. You see some people sitting there, fiddling with their phones and not making conversation, it’s not like things used to be in pubs.

“There are no TVs here either and I like that too.”

Frank and Patricia Wilkinson, of Rossall, Fleetwood, say the rule would be suited to the clientele of The Bispham, as most of the regular punters tended to be a bit older.

Frank, 73, said: “Most of the people here are a bit older and I don’t think they would mind it.

“But the younger people wouldn’t put up with it.”

Patricia said: “I think you need your mobiles with you in case there’s an emergency or someone needs to contact you. But we wouldn’t be sat there on our phones in the pub, we like to talk.

“This is a great pub and we come here because the drinks are so reasonable.”

And Gill Nelson,62, of Preston, who comes over every year for a bowling event, said: “I was reading about this the other day.

“It wouldn’t bother me at all if they barred mobile phones.

“This is a proper pub where you can come for a drink and a chat, we can do without all these noisy distractions. We come here every year and love the way it is.”

The management did not wish to comment.

And Sam Smiths would not confirm whether the ban on mobiles, laptops and tablets would extend to all their network of pubs throughout the UK.

However, the news caught the imagination of readers posting on the Gazette’s Facebook page.

Julie Lesley Ellis said: “Are they going to have phone police in case you get it out of your pocket?

“I’ve never heard anything so daft.”

Anthony McGeever added: “It’s a pocket computer.

“Most people today can’t survive five minutes without it. It comes down to the freedom of choice. The bar sales will have the final say.”

Kaylay Watson said: “I don’t understand how it’s anyone’s problem, why does it matter if they’re on their phones? They’re paying customers, whether they are talking face to face or using their phones, they’re still paying for drinks.”

And Karl Jackson said: “You go out to physically socialise, which is good for the mind.

“We rely on tech way to much but physically talking to someone face-to-face is so much more rewarding.”