Julian’s Coastal Journey…Via The Old Crown

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…is hopefully coming to all good book stores in the near future (as the oft heard phrase suggested).

A quick post celebrating one of my former work colleagues, now retired, and a man who possesses eternal optimism and a sense of adventure (pictured above).

Currently in Buenos Aries ‘exploring’ he is undertaking the mammoth task of walking clockwise around Britain’s coastline.

He started in September 2015 in Berwick on Tweed and walks in chunks but still finds time to join us fully paid up members of the rat race for a beer whilst also following Burton Albion.

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Apparently his next leg of this walk involves a place called Orford Ness (over to you Martin) which, according to Jules, was the country’s first line of defence in the Cold War and a strange place with weird legends!  Although some of the macabre/interesting tales he has told me about the East Coast of England have left me wondering what goes on in that part of the world!

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Anyway, if he ever manages to complete this journey, then expect a blog, possibly on word press, but, knowing Jules, he will probably have moved on to his next project.

What prompted this was realising I hadn’t posted from a visit to one of the Birmingham pubs I ventured into with Julian after witnessing Birmingham beat Burton Albion in the FA Cup. That’s right, Birmingham don’t always lose ( 0-5 to Brentford) and (1-6 to Hull) to name a couple of classics this season.

However, his optimism has convinced me that all is not yet lost and that feelgood factor appeared to be permeating 163 – The Old Crown – B12 0LD early on a Saturday evening.

In fact, we rolled up at around quarter to seven and the place was low key but relatively well stocked with punters, including plenty of post-match football fans.  However, in the space of half an hour it was absolutely rammed and clear as to why the’ oldest extant secular building in Birmingham’ has doormen.

It is definitely a hipster young crowd too, as the art scene in Digbeth is thriving with the majority of Beards and glam out in force in keeping with the street art in and around the Custard Factory and on various walls in this area of the city.

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I’ve got to say, it’s great to see, as this old boozer has clearly had a revamp and specialises in food during the day but, of an evening, it is definitely the place to be seen if you are a twentysomething in Digbeth.

The building itself, which is Grade II listed, really is a joy and claims it dates back to 1368 whilst exuding history with the first documented use of this building as a pub back in 1626.

It was also an important battleground in the English Civil War when Prince Rupert’s forces raided Brum

And subsequently the pub owes Joshua Tomlin Smith a debt of gratitude.

Just to prove that pubs have been under threat for centuries, not just the last few years, Smith saved The Old Crown from demolition in 1851 when the Corporation proposed demolishing the building in order to “improve the street”. Again in 1856 and 1862 the Corporation proposed to demolish the building; Smith saved the building each time.

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(Raising a glass to Joshua Tomlin-Smith) 

It’s a big boozer but bright and airy inside nowadays with a good selection of beers and I plumped for a Pale Ale (Shipyard).

A fitting pub for a bloke who enjoys his history, football and beer and nice to see one of Digbeth’s gems moving with the times and retaining its place at the heart of Birmingham’s Bohemian quarter.

10 thoughts on “Julian’s Coastal Journey…Via The Old Crown

    1. Are you a native of Burton Ian? Loving your walking/ drinking posts 👍 that boozer in longstone sounds tremendous and a proper Peaks pub 🍺 Us city boys are warming to the task and love our urban or countryside walks


  1. “he is undertaking the mammoth task of walking clockwise around Britain’s coastline.”

    Pfft. Wanker. Everyone knows the proper way to do it is counter-clockwise (i.e. Widdershins). 🙂

    “was the country’s first line of defence in the Cold War”

    As an ex-eavesdropper (i.e. signals intelligence) I could tell you stories! (but then I’d be arrested) 😉

    “Smith saved the building each time.”

    Us ‘Smiths’ are unappreciated for such things. (LOL)

    “It was also an important battleground in the English Civil War when Prince Rupert’s forces raided Brum”

    Well done “the sturdy sons of freedom”. 🙂

    And well done to The Old Crown. (doffs hat)


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I shall pass on your thoughts to Jules about his walk and maybe he might start again! Sounded like a scene from the Life of Brian and The People’s Front of Judea! It’s a cracking building and not sure my photos in fading light did it justice but well worth a visit and it stands out in that area of Brum…Cheers


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