As former mining villages go, I reckon Moira has probably reinvented itself as well as any. Not only is the whopping 120 acre site of Conkers on the site of the former Rawdon Colliery, but Moira Furnace is also an attraction in its own right along with the nearby Hicks Lodge.
Granted, it’s not quite as seismic as central London’s attractions but, add in the fact the National Forest continues to develop on the site of old mines, then it is good to see a lot of these north Leicestershire villages being revitalised.
Another bonus of these places (think Coalville) is that they still retain some proper boozers. Take the 318 – Rawdon Arms DE12 6AL for example. Whilst it isn’t in the LE67 postcode it can officially be classed as an honorary member such are its ‘proper pub’ credentials.
Bench seating, beermats, commemorative plates depicting former mines, pool table, dart board…
wise old boy with East Midlands accent and a tale to tell and sixties background music mean this boozer fits the bill perfectly.
The last mine in this area closed 28 years ago but it is still a rich part of the heritage yet the old boy at the bar, with a bottle of Newcy Brown and the obligatory half pint glass, confirmed it wasn’t for him.
He was a local and possessed as broad an East Midlands accent as I’ve heard; He was happy to talk about the mines and said that “I worked on the cranes, I’d never have gone down the mine, it was too small and dark for me.”
A good old boy who enjoyed the past but was happy to move with the times and reckoned that with the move to a coalless (not sure that’s word – can you check please Russ) society that the mines would have been redundant anyway in this era.
However, he was friendly and good company despite the fact that on a Thursday at around 1pm he made up 50% of the punters in this boozer.
The barmaid/landlady, who I reckon must have been Sheena…
…was chatty but confessed to knowing little about the history of the mines but she pulled a decent pint of Landlord (Timothy Taylor’s).
Not quite up the standard of The Cross Keys in Newbold, but decent enough.
However, three cask ales might have been optimistic although there is a real hardcore of ale drinkers in these parts.
The biggest thing that hits you in this boozer is the history attached to Moira and the mining heritage but it is a village that is moving forward and there have been plenty of houses mushrooming up on the outskirts over the past twenty years to make it a growing, vibrant population.
A cracking proper boozer that was quiet of an afternoon but generated a lot of warmth and there are enough chimney pots in close proximity to keep this place alive for many years to come.