A few years ago, a good few years ago I must admit, I sat down in one of my quieter moments and worked out how many pubs Huddersfield had within the Ring Road, I came up with 41, which was a fair amount for a town of its size. Strangely, I used to visit quite a lot of them too, but that was before the 'real ale revolution' took off and I was less selective in what I drank.
Seeing the Food & Drink Festival Real Ale Trail pub list set me thinking about how many we have lost in recent years, maybe some were not a great loss but others defined the town centre, and in a way, my drinking history. I know older readers will remind me of the ones that we have lost in the name of progress, with the building of the Ring Road, the Piazza, and the Civic Centre but those are only a distant memory to me. What about the ones I remember ?
What about those that went with the arrival of Kingsgate. 'The Ship' on Bradley St for example, or those on King St, 'The Globe', 'The Royal Unicorn' or 'The Burns Tavern' ? 'The Painted Wagon' on Market St that made way for Sainsburys, or the iconic 'Pack Horse', (the pub in which everyone seems to remember starting their drinking) that was scandalously demolished in the name of progress for 'The Pack Horse Centre'.
Others just did not last the march of progress and either closed their doors or changed their usage. Cross Church St had 'The Minstrel', 'The White Lion' and the 'Ramsden Arms'. Queen St had the brew pub 'The Courthouse' for a short time. 'The Crescent' on Northumberland St has gone too, along with the 'Dog & Gun' round the corner. 'The Shoehorn' on New St is a thing of the past as well.
I know that the town still has plenty of good pubs to offer, the 'ale trail' is testamony to that, but what would the town be like if the planners had not got hold of some of the pubs and razed them to the ground or if circumstances had not forced some out of business. We have lost a major part of the town's history, that can never be reclaimed, the only plus point is that plenty of other pubs have taken their places and Huddersfield is still one of the best drinking towns in the north.