Since the Bell changed hands last year, to become Bath’s first community-owned pub, work has been going on to smarten it up a bit, and a magnificent new sign – in the shape of a bell – has been mounted on the wall. Much of this work, including the sign, has been done by Stephen Bushell, who late last year uncovered some old lettering under the paintwork. Although too fragmentary and far gone to be restored, he took a couple of photos which he kindly let me have – along with one of the sign – to post on the blog.
Which prompted me to dig around in our archive for some old pics of the Bell, which I’ve resurrected and posted below, along with some snippets from old newspapers – some courtesy of Paul De’Ath – which supplement the information on the Bell in Bath Pubs.
A sad day indeed for Bath drinkers, this, and for anyone who cares even a jot about Bath’s historic pubs. After months of being boarded up and with rumours flying thick and fast, a notice has been posted saying that someone called Miranda Matthews wants to turn Ye Old Farmhouse into a health clinic (shouldn’t that be health farm? – ed).
If permission to convert it from a pub is not granted, however, then there will have to be a rethink. The more people object to the proposal, the more likely the council will be take the loss of this community asset seriously. The B&NES planning website is at www.bathnes.gov.uk. The application reference is 14/00512/FUL. Comments have to be in by 20 March.
For those who weren’t lucky enough to visit the Farmhouse in its glory days, it was a seriously good pub not that long ago and could be so again. Long-time landlord John Bradshaw was a jazz fan and top-class jazz played on most nights of the week, with some first-rate performers turning up. What follows are some cuttings from newspaper articles and adverts relating to the Old Farmhouse, followed by a gallery of random shots taken in the pub over the years. Let us hope that, even at the eleventh hour, it is not only memories of Ye Old Farmhouse that are left.
If I’m honest, I have to admit it’s been ready for nearly a fortnight, but I don’t like to comment on a beer on its first tasting. I’d been waiting with great anticipation for the beer to be ready, so when I tweeted the Bath Brewhouse and they said it was on, i replied; ‘I’m on my way!’ I enjoyed it, though, knowing how much chocolate went in it, I’m surprised it wasn’t more chocolatey. Some people were trying it, and when i asked one chap for his opinion, he said at first, that he ‘thought’ he liked it. SInce he went on to have two more pints, it seems he was completely won over.
I’ve tried it twice since – it’s very drinkable and not too malty. Nor is it as heavy as some stouts. However, I think it’s a beer that improves the longer it sits in the barrel. It seems to be getting more flavour as time goes on. Sadly, Bath Brewhouse doesn’t have the room to store casks for long. This is a shame, as I think keeping one cask for a year might result in a very interesting beer.
The brew was a one-off, so I advise people to get down there and try it before it goes.