A major trend over the last forty years or so, has been the renaming of pubs from a centuries old name, to a modern trendy name. The pub history site tends to reflect on the original names. Another trend appears to be the purchase by a brewery of an 'old' building, with little pub interest; and then transforming the same building into a historical pub. I am never clear about the economics of such a transformation, but the costs of this can run into a million pounds for just one pub, and therefore it must make economical sense.
There is also a new breed of pubs, with a range of nice ales at affordable prices (I am quoting the likes of Wetherspoons). The modern pub is also getting bigger, and relies on food to make a decent living. This is also matched by a change in where pubs proliferate, and you will also see find that many newer pubs were previously banks, or other commercial buildings, which have been re-invented as the modern pub; whilst the older, and smaller pubs close.
Let us start in 2013 and a round up of the current pub trade. Many pubs are closing, and being replaced by restaurants and pizza houses. Other pubs are closing and being converted back into housing, generally flats. The current economic climate is forcing many of the tied public houses to close, whilst newer pubs are continuing to open ( at a lesser rate). The reference 'tied houses' refers to the fact that a pub has to purchase its beer and spirits from the chain which runs the establishment. This is a more expensive option than being able to purchase from the market place, and has forced many pubs to be uneconomical, thus closure. I am not clear as to how Wetherspoons pubs operate, but their prices tend to undercut many of the established lager pubs.
I am now going to move back to the 1970 - 1990 period. At this time, there were a number of new pubs replacing the older, and generally larger pub. The pub names were still relevant, e.g. the White Hart, Kings Head etc. This was a time when the Watneys and Truman pubs were being sucked into the empire of the Grand Metropolitan chain. Watneys (Red Barrel, which was appalling beer) and Trumans (slightly better beer) were purchased by the Grand Metropolitan chain. Apparently, Grand Metropolitan closed down the good breweries and sold even more appalling beer to the detriment of the brands.
The wiki states that Grand metropolitan bought the Truman, Hanbury & Buxton chain in 1972, and next Watney Manns; plus a host of other drinks related businesses including J & B Whiskey. The problem was in 1989, Lord Young decided to cut the brewers monopoly, by reducing their size to 2,000 but in essence to sell off half of all pubs over the number of 2,000 by the year of 1992. The wiki covers most of this detail, and I will not repeat it here, but this is a list of about 500 Grand Met pubs in 1991 just prior to selling off to Charringtons - these are in London and also the South East (Hertfordshire, Kent & Essex).
You can research a Pub, or any home, by researching using a surname in the BT telephone directories. These are available as part of the Ancestry basic search. If you need more detail, their other packages offer additional searches, e.g. the electoral rolls. I am not selling their services, but these are available, at a cost; or for free at a local library.
Stepping back in time again, we step back about 30 years to the 1940s and the World War, when great swathes of London and the South East were harangued by the war time bombing, and masses of London was demolished by the V1 and V2 rockets. About the same time, streets were being renamed to remove the repetition of road names. I list each and every pub and beer house in 1944, and this is a very useful guide in researching back further. This pub history site largely covers pubs and beer houses in 1944 and the two hundred years earlier - including their street name changes along the way.
One point I always make is NOT to exclude the beer retailers. many of these were, and continued to be off licences. Other beer retailers are now the well known pubs that we have known forever (apparently). The youngsters of today have no idea of the rich history which exists in our earlier pubs and beer houses, as they know little different. Their idea of the history of a pub is what is was last renamed a few years ago.
It is also important to not to discount hotels as pubs. Many areas, not quite so much in London, list a considerable number of Hotels. These are not listed in the publicans, or beer retailer sections, as they are Hotels. You often need to search a particular area in this case. As ever, a good example of this is Wincanton, in Somerset (one of many).
I have a massive interest in history of any old building, whether it be a
pub, a church, or any other landmark that is identifiable in history. I do love
London, and its history, and do want to understand where, and how, London
evolved through time, and what originally existed before the masses of modern
architecture was built. My recent site on London history continues to build as I
try and make sense of some of this.
My article on research of a pub will start to explain the differences between the different areas of London and the South East, and why some areas had lots of pubs, and some had none. I know that modern press is always going on about the numbers of pubs that have closed, as many are sold off for housing, and often in very desirable areas. The modern pub is getting bigger, e.g. the Wetherspoons, and relies on food to make a decent living. This is also matched by a change in where pubs proliferate, and you will also see find that many newer pubs were previously banks, or other commercial buildings, which have been re-invented as the modern pub; whilst the older, and smaller pubs close.