Author and journalist, Keith Johnson, spoke to members of the Society on the History of Pembrokeshire Pubs……. An event which was particularly well attended.
Mr Johnson traced the history of the public house from the time hospitality was offered to weary travellers and pilgrims to the modern period when the “local” was the centre of social life of the community. Sadly, many feel, times and people’s habits change and many of these characterful hostelries have disappeared. In Dew Street, Haverfordwest, for example four public houses which were an integral part of the fabric of social life of the vicinity have all closed. They were the Plasterers Arms; the Lamb, the White Lion and the Kings Arms.
Mr Johnson explained that many pubs developed close by major places of work such as coal mines; steel works and agricultural marts. Hence names like The Colliers and the Farmers Arms.
In Hook’s case the original village pub was opened on the quayside where ships from all over the world berthed to take on anthracite which was due to be exported having been mined in the village colliery. The name of the pub…………………….the Anchor Inn. When rail transport replaced shipping the pub transferred from the riverside to the village and became the New Anchor Inn. Sadly that too closed in the early 2000’s.
Mr Johnson spent some time telling the story behind pub names for example : Three Crowns ( after the three wise men); the Bush ( from ancient times when a bush or vine was displayed outside the premises to indicate refreshment was available) while retired seafarers who opened pubs often opted for names like Hope and Anchor and Sailors Safety.
An exception to the rule was the Railway Inn, Jeffreyston ………………a village without any rail facility. The hostelry has now been renamed more appropriately.