Can you imagine a coal mining village still going strong in England in 2068? Well apparently the NCB closed down the Arley Colliery in 1968 despite there still being a hundred years of coal available to mine beneath the surface.
Bearing in mind the production started in 1901 and the first coal was extracted in 1902 then there was plenty of history with coal mining in this town that once employed 1,734 men to mine.
This might come as a surprise but it was Lord Robens nominally of the Labour Party (and NCB), in 1968, who deemed this pit no longer financially viable despite the cited fact that one hundred years of coal remained beneath. This tells us two things. The House of Lords should have been abolished years ago and that all parties, whatever their political persuasion, generally put profit above all else.
However, six hundred new homes had been built, known as New Arley, whilst Old Arley remained pretty much as it was with the combined total of residents across both Old and New is around 2,900. The railway line splits the village in two with Nuneaton arguably the biggest nearby town and this history lesson wouldn’t have been necessary had a pub selling Bass been flexible!
I stopped off at the Cottage Inn in Fillongley at about 6.05 only to be greeted with the shock news that they stopped serving at 6!!! The Bass pump was looking particularly appealing but, so be it, I headed towards the M42 with a stop off in Old Arley.
To be precise I popped into 220 – Wagon Load Of Lime CV7 8FU which is one of the best names for a boozer I’ve heard in years and was immediately met with a missing dog alert.
In a community that has survived a pit closure – albeit fifty years ago – I always find they are still tight knit and a good boozer is of paramount importance.
The landlady here is Kim Mason and the pub is smart and welcoming with an absolutely banging jukebox at around 6.15 on a Sunday evening.
Whether or not the strains of loud rock music frightened off the puppy who knows, but it meant that whislt she was serving me a very good pint of Hobgoblin Gold (Wychwood) she was concerned for her missing pooch.
Nonetheless, the drama was short lived as before I’d even got halfway through my pint she was reunited with the lively four legged fiend and normal service was resumed.
It’s a pub that clearly respects the local community with a huge mounted display on the wall from the local British Legion and this is clearly a focal point for the village.
A jukebox, dart board and pool table along with beer garden, sky sports, live music and breakfast from 9am in the morning ensure this place is a round the clock operation and it is clearly doing more than surviving.
There was a reasonably sized crowd in on Sunday and when I sat down with my pint at the end of a table at the front of a boozer I was greeted by a bloke claiming I had fallen out with the girls sitting at the other and he described us a ‘married couple on our blowers, sitting apart and not speaking.!’
Once it was clarified we were strangers then he seemed at ease and it was a nice relaxed atmosphere with the gaffer insisting I take a picture of her dog when I was leaving (possibly in case he went missing again!)
(there he is)
With a bowling green at the back of the boozer as well then this is a well-kept pub, on a bus route, with a good base of local support (judging by all the pool and darts trophies) that will ensure it survives.
The description of Old Arley is possibly semi-rural but, judging by some of the pubs that Martin, Si and Duncan find on their GBG travels, then this is almost a sprawling metropolis.
A good, solid village boozer that has adapted to the modern world…a bit like Old Arley.