Pubs in and around Darlington that sold real ale in 1982
Things were bad in Darlington in the 70's and 80's and traditional beer almost died out, and the area was one of the worst in England for a decent pint. Only around 50 out of 200 pubs in what is now the branch area served real ale.
In Darlington itself the situation was much worse as only 11 pubs sold 5 different real ales:
Albion (Camerons Strongarm); Britannia (Camerons Strongarm); Central Borough (Camerons Strongarm); Coachman Hotel (Whitbread Castle Eden Ale); Cricketers (Tetley Bitter); Collectors' Arms, Richardsons Yard, Houndgate (Younger's Scotch & No. 3 Ale); Falchion (Camerons Strongarm) - now called 'Avalon'; Highland Laddie (Camerons Strongarm); Imperial Bar (Whitbread Castle Eden Ale) - now part of 'Joe's Bar'; Shuttle & Loom (Whitbread Castle Eden Ale); Skerne Park (Camerons Strongarm).
Real ale was also available at the foyer bar in the Arts Centre (McEwan's 80/-) and two working mens clubs, the East End Club (Kelly's Golden Bitter) and Rise Carr Club & Institute (Tetley Bitter).
Pubs stocking real ale in the rural part of Darlington Borough were:
Fox & Hounds, Neasham (Vaux Samson); King’s Arms, Great Stainton (Whitbread Castle Eden Ale); Raby Hunt, Summerhouse (Camerons Strongarm and Theakston's Best Bitter); Spotted Dog, High Coniscliffe (Whitbread Castle Eden Ale) - but only "occasionally"; Talbot, Bishopton (Camerons Strongarm); Wheatsheaf, Piercebridge (Camerons Strongarm) - now the 'Carlbury Arms'.
At the time of being formed as a sub-branch, the branch area covered only Darlington Borough but real ale was available just over the boundary in County Durham at:
Blacksmith’s Arms, Preston-le-Skerne (McEwan's 80/-); North Briton, Aycliffe Village (Vaux Samson).
In North Yorkshire the following outlets stocked real ale:
Bridge Inn, Stapleton (Vaux Samson & Sunderland Draught Bitter); Grange Arms, Hornby (Younger's No. 3 Ale).
Real ale was a lot more prevalent in Teesdale with outlets in Barnard Castle stocking the following:
Coach & Horses (Camerons Strongarm & Best Bitter); Cricketers Arms (Camerons Strongarm & Best Bitter); Montalbo (Camerons Best Bitter & Theakston's Best Bitter); Three Horse Shoes (Draught Bass); Old Well (McEwan's 80/- & Theakston's Best Bitter); White Swan (McEwan's 80/-, Younger's XXPS & Drybrough's Pentland).
Other stockists in Teesdale were:
Black Swan, Staindrop (Camerons Strongarm & Best Bitter); Bridgewater Arms, Winston (Draught Bass). Morritt Arms, Greta Bridge (Theakston's Best Bitter); Rose & Crown, Mickleton (Vaux Sunderland Draught Bitter); Rose & Crown, Romaldkirk (Camerons Best Bitter & Theakston's Best Bitter); Strathmore Arms, Holwick (Theakston's Best Bitter).
Today the situation is much, much brighter. In our branch area there are approximately 130 places to find cask beer with many different beers on offer, and Darlington itself can boast around 30 outlets with around 60 different ales.
However, all is not perfect. Independent breweries, in particular well established and family firms are still folding. Community pubs are disappearing fast, while pub chains are strengthening their stranglehold.
But without Darlington CAMRA things would be much worse. So join us in toasting "30 Years of Campaigning for Real Ale in Darlington".