Monday, April 15, 2024

The Two Julians

We straddle the Waveney so you don't have to.

The Two Julians
Swainson Photo Archive

Swainson Photo Archive – Hulver Gate Pub in Hulver

A bit of Suffolk pub history for you. These pictures show the Hulver Gate pub, in Hulver next to the River Hundred at Hulver Arch. It is shown just after closure as a Watneys pub and has since been rebuilt into a private house in about 2005. It was a Watneys house so in my formative drinking days in the rural triangle between Lowestoft, Beccles and Southwold we tended to avoid it as there was a good selection of country pubs selling Adnams beers in tiptop condition. However my then drinking companion Mark Wiltshire and I did visit one night as we were doing a round of rural ales.

For some reason we had been discussing speed drinking, then a fairly common (and messy) pastime. It seemed wasteful of good beer to me, I have never thought it sensible to bolt down a pint of Adnams, except for those odd occasions when the alternative is having the landlady’s Alsatian set on you after closing time. So as the only beer here was keg Watneys bitter we decided to give it a go. Big mistake. It went down quick enough, about 12 seconds as I recall. But being keg piss full of CO2 it then started to expand within, and for the next half hour I felt like a lardy zeppelin until a couple of bottles of Broadside (then 8.6%) settled my tum in the convivial surroundings of the Shadingfield Fox, our default choice. It was a sad loss as a pub, though, as it was relatively unspoiled as a pleasant little rural Suffolk pub. Unlike many Watneys pubs it had not been messed around inside and out. The inside was pleasantly old fashioned and the exterior brickwork had not been ruined with paint as happened with most Watneys houses. Now a fierce perimeter wall blocks any view to the original building and it is impossible to read its history from the street. In those days I had a simple definition of a good country pub, I called them ‘black wall and gutter’ pubs. This referred to the minimal approach to toilet provision, where you had to go outside and find said wall, often with no roof and little other privacy. The challenge of finding and using these facilities on a dark and rainy night left you reinvigorated as you returned to the fireside for another fine ale. The originals of these pictures were slides taken I think in the 80s, now scanned to digital. Pics copyright Julian White.