You might wonder why I’m announcing it so far in advance! It’s because of our Yorkshire Celebrities project, which as you know we launched to the membership last Tuesday. If you didn’t receive that email, or you thought you’d read it later, or if it went into your junk or spam folder – here’s the link again. That will tell you all you need to know about the project, and how to complete the survey – PLEASE DO SO IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY! It only takes about 5 minutes. Then share the link with all your friends and tell them not only what fun it is, but how they can win a prize if their choices agree with the majority!

It’s important that we get as many people as possible completing the survey – and not just so that we get as representative a result of people’s wishes as possible. If – or hopefully when – some or all of the winning celebrities agree to visit ‘their’ pubs next year, we might have to provide the costs of transport and/or accommodation for them. Potential sponsors love to know the size of their audience, so if we can get hundreds voting; tens of thousands hearing about it in the media; and then thousands more turning out to see the celebrities when they arrive, we’ll have a much better bargaining position! You might think at this point that we’re being over-ambitious hoping to get A-listers, but unless we try how will we ever know?



Leeds now has its first ever all-vegan eatery, at The Old Red Bus Station on Vicar Lane. It might have taken a year to appear after TORBS first opened, but it was always part of the plan. Check out The Leeds List article about the restaurant, and The Old Red Bus Station Facebook page for more information.



In the same way that Otley is a #famouspubtown, Great Britain used to be famous throughout the world for its pubs. There was nothing like them in any other country – either in their nature or their number. It seemed like every single street corner in every town had its own local. If you don’t believe me, just go to and search down the index for entries beginning “The Alphabet of Lost Pubs . . .”.  It’s a photographic record of hundreds of old pubs in east London alone. A very few of them have been saved, or are being fought over by developers and ACV proponents, but most are gone for good.



Just because they exist, and people should know about them!



The organisation responsible for maintaining the Charrington’s Pub Archive containing over 7,000 original pub records, from which ‘The Alphabet of Lost Pubs’ is taken is called Heritage Assets. They are the digital curators of some of the most extraordinary, unique and often rare photographic archives available. They specialise in working with original analogue photographic archives in glass plate, negative, slide and print formats. Many of their pictures have never been publicly seen or shared before and are true originals. You can find out more about them on their website at



I know we do go on about how pubs are the real social hubs of the community, and should be supported as such, but here’s another welcome story.  The Bell Inn at Brisley village in the heart of Norfolk has co

nverted one of its rooms into a community library. The books were all donated, and the shelving and seating was bought with a grant from Norfolk County Council. Otley is lucky to still have a flourishing library, but The Bell is hoping to run digital inclusion training – which has also just been launched in Otley. Pubs could – and should – be used nowadays for much more than just having a pie, a pint and a chat [although that still seems pretty good to me as well!]


A pub enthusiast from Rutland has spent over 30 years collecting beer trays and other old pub memorabilia, which you can read about here. Another good use for beer trays starts about 40 seconds into this Pogues video!



(Thanks again to Leeds-List for this story.)

When the latest approved plan for development in Leeds is implemented, the city will get a landmark attraction that combines green space, stunning views and an iconic attraction. The Thomas Grainger-designed Victorian viaduct that goes from Wellington Place over the River Aire to the Doncaster Monkbridge site opposite City Island is due to become a high level open air garden and walkway.

Inspired by the High Line in Manhattan and Promenade Plantée in Paris, it could become one of the city’s most prominent attractions, and it also serves the practical purpose of connecting the West End of the city to the South Bank. The South Bank site also has five new apartment buildings planned, ranging from 11 to 21 storeys. Once complete, they’ll create 567 flats, as well as a range of new retail and leisure units. The Leeds ‘High Line’ will also have a series of bars and restaurants in the arches below – much like Granary Wharf. It’s yet another reason for visiting Leeds, which is ranked fifth best place to visit in Europe in 2017 by the Lonely Planet travel guides. You can see more about that story here – and the other top 9 locations.



 Marston’s plc recently purchased the Charles Wells brewery in Bedford along with its brands. They already owned Thwaites; Ringwood; Wychwood; Brakspear’s; Mansfield, Jennings and Banks’s; and own 1,700 pubs in Britain. You might say – so what? Surely it’s a good thing to have a company which is committed to traditional cask ale production [apparently they are now the biggest producer of cask ale in the world] and traditional pubs [“The local pub is important to us . . . and always will be” says their website]

All I would suggest is that any profit-based company will always be looking for ways to cut costs. If they can do that by using their massive buying power to buy cheaper malt and hops in bulk, they’ll do just that – reducing the ability of the original breweries and their local brewers to experiment and/or produce local and distinctive products. In the end all the beers start to taste the same, so local breweries are closed down to centralise production and reduce costs even further. You finish up back in the 1970s, with CAMRA needed to get brewing back to its roots, or indeed the 2010s, with craft and local microbrewers providing the independent product that consumers crave. And don’t forget those 1,700 pubs. With all those different brands under their belt, do you think they’re going to allow their leaseholders to buy off-tie from whichever brewer they want?  

– – / / – –


Well, well, well! What has happened at The Bay Horse? That was supposed to be our meeting place this month, but it’s been closed for months and now looks as though it’s for sale. We haven’t had time to get a full story yet about why that is the case, but obviously we can’t meet there! So we’ll be meeting at what was going to be our second location – The Horse & Farrier on Bridge Street. We’ll be holding the committee meeting there from 19:15 as usual, and after about an hour, we’ll have a social drink there until about 21:15. We’ll then move on, to end the evening in The Red Lion on Kirkgate. Hope to see you on the night – especially if you’d like to buy a pub!!

Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

28 May 2017

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