Sunday, 9 February 2014

Loughborough pubs

Loughborough public library
Just a short piece this week!

On National Libraries Day, I visited Loughborough public library - because I need my public library and can't afford to lose it. In truth, I mostly need the local studies collection, some of which is held in a dedicated room, some of which is kept in a more open area, and some of which is on the lending shelves (and I think some is kept behind the scenes as well!).

Since I started this blog, I've been disappearing into the library as often as possible, and each time I go I either have interesting conversations with the other people there, who are either using the collection or looking after it, or I get side-tracked by the fantastic exhibitions just outside the room. Other times I get so engrossed in my research that someone has to throw me out at closing time!!

The local studies collection isn't open at the weekend, so on National Libraries Day I popped into the library, really, just to say I had!! I took the other half with me, so I thought I'd show him the latest exhibition and I was really pleased to see that Bill Wells was there, tucked away in the corner between the exhibition stands!!

Bill's latest book

The exhibition currently on show is pictures from Bill's wonderful book on the pubs of Loughborough. I'm sure I've probably told you this before, but it's so good, it's worth mentioning again. It's on until March, so still time for you to pop along if you haven't already done so. 

Bill's original publication

Bill's latest book is based loosely on his first publication, an A4, spiral bound volume called: "Ye olde alehouses, beerhouses, hotels, inns, public houses, taverns and alcoholic anecdotes of Loughborough through the ages"! This was published in 2002, and since then Bill has done a whole lot more research, been provided with loads more anecdotes, and discovered more pubs and lots of photographs, so much so, that in 2013 he was able to publish the new title.

While I was chatting away to Bill he showed me his new gadget, a portable A4 scanner. When I first saw him hunched over the book he was reading, I thought he was using a magnifier, but no, it was a lovely little scanner!! I want one!!!

One side of the matchbox cover
Other side of the matchbox cover
More interestingly though, he also showed me a fascinating piece of local history in the form of a metal matchbox cover. This had been given to him by a mutual acquaintance, and it was a truly valuable piece of history. On one side the matchbox cover had a picture of a man, with the name of the pub - the Windmill Inn - and of the landlord - T. Dakin - and a crest on the other. On the spine was a description of the establishment - "Noted House for Beers, Wines and Spirits, and Cigars". 

The pub's business!

After a bit of research, Bill was able to date this remarkable piece to between 1913 and 1921. Absolutely fantastic that is has survived all this time! Goes to show you should never, ever throw anything away!!!
Anyway, profits from the sale of Bill's book are going to the Patients' Comfort Lounge in the Osborne building at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, and sales are going well. Bill has now started work on further books on pubs, covering the villages surrounding Loughborough, the first of which - Kegworth - is virtually complete, so look out for those!

If you want to buy a copy of the book, they are available from Waterstones in Loughborough, or, if you'd prefer you can get one directly from Bill, at a slightly reduced cost. His email address is


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