Sunday, 6 March 2016

Another piece of Southport's pub heritage lost

The Blundell Arms photographed
on its last day of opening
Sad news that Southport is losing another of its old pubs: the Blundell Arms on Upper Aughton Road, which finally closes today. It was in its time a focal point for the community, and its function rooms hosted many local celebrations, such as weddings, birthdays, christenings and wakes. It was also the home for 38 years of Southport's Bothy Folk Club, nationally known on the folk scene. Sadly, some foolish decisions were made, such as knocking separate rooms into one, and in the early 2000s renaming it Mr Q's and converting it into a pool hall pub. At the same time the real ale was removed - even though it was selling well according to the licensee at the time - because it didn't fit the new image, and the shelves filled with bottles of lager and alcopops.

They forgot that the youth market understandably grows older and moves on, while the former regulars found other watering holes. After a while, the proper name was restored, and there were some attempts to convert it back in part to how it had been, but the damage was done. I'm not suggesting that pubs should never be altered; rather that such radical changes do need to considered carefully, including whether they will continue to work in the long term. That's my view anyway, but whatever the reasons, another local pub has been permanently lost.

This is part of a series of articles that I am writing for the CAMRA column in our local paper, the Southport Visiter. Previous reviews are here.

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