Devon Pubs: A Pictorial Retrospective

by Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott

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From moorland taverns to ancient coaching inns, and from harbourside hostelries to backstreet beerhouses – the history of Devon’s pubs is as rich, diverse and colourful as that of the county itself. Over 450 of Devon’s pubs – some long gone, some still thriving – feature here in archive photographs and tales from the past. To all who know and love the county this book is an indispensable companion to its pubs, both past and present, as well as much else – the history of cider making, Devon’s lost breweries, church house inns, the folk song revival and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. It is less an exercise in nostalgia, though, than a celebration of a tradition very much alive. Sadly, it is a tradition under threat as never before, with pubs closing at an unprecedented rate, and many communities left without a social hub for the first time in centuries. That there is, amid the doom and gloom, still much to celebrate, is thanks to those individuals who, in these most trying of times, maintain traditions of cheer and hospitality, lubricated by local ale and cider and fortified by fine food. Devon has some of the best pubs anywhere, and if these journeys into the past inspire you to explore – and defend – what remains of the county’s pub heritage, it will have achieved its object.