OUR recent feature on Spinks Bar in Bradford sparked some pub memories for CHRIS SMITH, who writes:

In the early1970s I drank mainly in the Jacobs Well, but frequented most city centre watering-holes. I worked behind the bar at The Queen pub opposite St George’s Hall. I was behind the bar the day we went decimal - February 15, 1971.

The Queen was a Bass Charrington house. Beer dispensed was Brew Ten and Extra Light Bitter. Neither were particularly palatable but sold well especially when there was a ‘gig’ on at St George’s. A couple of groups I remember there were Hawkwind and Steeleye Span.

Prior to decimal, Brew Ten was half a crown a pint and Extra Light two and fourpence. These prices equated to 12 and a half NP and 12 NP respectively. Guest beers were unheard of. Draught lager was in its infancy and the choice of spirits limited. How times have changed. The other day I was at my local and counted 28 different bottles of gin!

Although I worked in The Queen most of my drinking took place in Jacobs Well. The reason being the beer. Tetley’s mild and bitter, nothing else. No fancy lagers, possibly cider but certainly no spirits. Jacob’s Well was one of the last remaining beer houses. A full licence was required if wines and spirits were sold. I believe the reason given was that the toilets were outside, and no pub was granted a full licence if it entailed braving the elements in order to get to the loo.

Generally, the pub was very basic inside, but clean and tidy. Outside a different story, the outer walls in a state of disrepair with large wooden struts at the back holding the building up.

Harry Baldwin was the tenant and he, his wife and other family members were always behind the bar. The beer was dispensed by hand-pumps using the auto-vac system. This ensured a tight, creamy head but any spillage was re-cycled back into the barrel.

This reduced wastage but health issues led to its inevitable demise.

There was an eclectic mix of customers. Bus drivers, postmen, office workers, dustmen, train drivers and lots of Irish workmen who were helping to build the Library and the Interchange. There was a jukebox, a dartboard, and there always seemed to be a game of dominoes in progress.We had a team that took part in the Tetley Quiz League, I was in the team along with Ian Murch (NUT leader), Pat Sherry (singer with local folk group Scarlet Heights) Steve Illingworth (schoolteacher) and Paul Kettlewell, a close friend who was best man when I got wed.

Some of the teams we played against were The Crown (Horton Bank Top), The Shearbridge (Great Horton), The Dog & Gun (Apperley Bridge, The Pear Tree (Norwood Green) and The Throstles Nest (Cottingley)

It always seemed very busy in Jacobs Well, but there were only two smallish rooms and a corridor. Rumour had it that in a good week 11 barrels of bitter and four of mild were sold.

I now live near Settle and am a member of the social club. Last week the guest beer ran off so I gave Tetley’s a go. It was in good order, tasted okay but did it bring back memories of the70s? Sadly no.