Thursday, February 14, 2008

OBITUARY - Ring In Peace 14 Feb 2008

Although still intact, the Ring O' Bells on Church Road, Yardley is now officially an ex-pub. This is not the first Ring O' Bells in the area, there was one nearer to St Edburgha's Church (Yardley Old Church) many years ago. The Ring O' Bells name of course derived from the ringing of the church bells.
This Ring O' Bells (the signs now call it the Ring 'O' Bells) was built in 1939. Unlike the other ex-pubs which have made me a bit miffed by their closure, this closure saddens me. It was my first local pub. In my younger years (under-age years actually ;-) ) our group would meet on a Friday night at the old school next to the church where there was a youth club. Later in the evening we would sneak out and go to "The Ringers" for a couple of pints of bitter (1s/7d then). We would sit quietly in the corner and were tolerated by the staff and locals. The most outrageous things we did was to add cake colouring to our drinks on somebody's birthday or at Christmas.. a green or purple pint is quite eye-catching. It was also a meeting place after bell-ringing practice although I did not do bell-ringing for long... I was useless!
On Christmas eve, we would leave the pub with a pint pot in each hand and head down to the church for the carol service.. it would be so packed we would have to stand at the back singing with great enthusiasm. We popped the glasses outside the pub on the way home.
In those days (60s and 70s) the pub was very busy but in latter years it had become very quiet, probably prompting it's closure. It is to be demolished and a housing development is to replace it, better than a 1/2 empty office block I suppose.
I visited the pub on the 14th February and actually managed to get inside hoping to get some interior photographs. The landlord told me it was closed and politely but firmly ushered me out. A quick half for old times sake would have been nice!
I am sad but won't cry into my beer. I hope the trend of pubs closing will stop soon or we'll all end up on Broad Street if we want a pint and what a nightmare thought that is.
RIP "The Ringers".
Detail above the public bar entrance.
Detail above the saloon bar windows.
The pub-sign. The photograph also shows the excellent transport links.