The Local Pub In The Global Village - Plymouth University, Architecture - History & Theory Module - Essay

3127 words - 13 pages

The Local Pub in the Global Village
I hear the phrase ‘Great British Pub’, instantly I am taken into a hive of safety, the floor, deeply stained timber, the great stone walls
embrace my company and me around a small mahogany table where a bitter ale sits quietly beside a tall yet overflowing candle. I
dip my finger into the melted wax and watch intently as it cracks. The walls and ceiling scarred with thick oak beams faintly glowing
as the 18th century wood burning stove cuddles the warmth, the flames whisper soft riddles, she holds the broken and bruised in
tight. The thick heat of the air shelters us from the howling winter winds outside and the frost bitten windows that slowly drip cool
water onto my knuckles as I draw circles with my finger tips in the mist. I catch glimpses of the city lights at the bottom of the
mountain settling far below this lamp lit town. The floor boards beneath me creek and moan as men through the archways stumble
into colloquies, debates, and tales, I overhear faint stories echoed from generations ago as I sink deeper into my favourite ripped
leather chair, all that’s left for these bones tonight is stop, listen, sip and stare. Hushed tones and muffled voices, the usual is
requested, no place for challenging choices. The smoke dances from one gaze to the next as the atmosphere begins to rise; it rests
for a while to place a dream on a table before leaving his eyes for the gentleman to cradle. Never have I truly experienced this
dreamy atmosphere in a public house first hand; how then, have I been fed this seemingly timeless fairy tale of the Great British pub
and our cultural identity that it so dependently rests upon. Cultural theorist Homi Bhabba suggests that all cultures are hybrids in
an on-going procesgs of transformation; I intend to challenge this proposal, studying the language of our dearly beloved British
public house culture.
We pride ourselves upon the depth and solidarity of our public house cultural history, it is challenging to prove which pub is
actually the oldest in Great Britain, however ‘The Old Ferryboat’ in Holywell has been serving alcohol since as early as the year 560.
Statistics point to this cultural identity standing the test of time. The United Kingdom is currently the home of 60,000 British Pubs,
employing well over 600,000 people; furthermore, five of London’s Underground stations were named after pubs that existed close
to their site. Angel, after the Angel Coaching Inn, which dates back to 1638. Elephant & Castle; Manor House, after the Manor
Tavern, which was later, renamed Manor House in 1931. Royal Oak and Swiss Cottage named after The Swiss Tavern, which was
built in 1803, and later renamed Swiss Cottage. These are just a few of the many indications pointing towards the fact that we
welcome this symbol of British heritage and we peruse it to uphold our cultural identity. With this in mind it is no wonder why so
many of us feel Pub culture is still a fundamental manifestation...

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