A Word In Your Ear - August 3, 2017
It was interesting to see historic pictures of my '˜local', Blackpool's oldest pub the Saddle Inn at Great Marton, in the Gazette's new-look review and feature pages last week.
From its familiar doors, Whitegate Drive stretched into a distance deserted except for one huddled woman. Perhaps she had a ‘carry-out’ for hubby, soon due back from work!
How times change but, I’m pleased to report, a traditional atmosphere survives in that cosy bar and the coal-fired rooms of the old inn, once owned by a saddler and used to billet Roundhead troops during the Civil War.
The famous ‘Commons’ and also a ‘Lords’ room remain, where real-ale-fuelled debate echoes round the picture-lined walls. However, what was originally the Lords was swallowed up years ago by the extended bar area, while the previous Smoking Room has been renamed and ennobled.
Marton Council used to meet in the Lords, which was also one of the last men-only rooms. One regular interviewed by a Gazette female reporter at the time of change observed, “I used to be able to bring my dog in here, but not my wife; now it’s t’other way about.” Then the old chap surprised her by adding, “I much preferred it before!”
Well, now the ladies inspire the friendly atmosphere as much as anyone while the hostelry, on the corner of Preston Old Road, wins awards for its appearance and ales - thanks to devoted staff and patrons.
Somewhere behind its bar, there is a pub copy of my short history of the place and its colourful characters, entitled Saddle Up!, along with a copy of 50 Shades of Bass, a Victorian whodunnit and romance set in the neighbourhood and featuring regulars past and present.
The books were my tribute to our colourful local heritage and written, like the nostalgic article in last week’s Gazette, with pride, humour and affection.
• For books see royedmonds-blackpool.com, Amazon or FeedARead.com.