Friday, 17 April 2009

Unexpected Alphabet No 10

In a way, this has been a lost alphabet, although very unexpected when it was first photographed in the late 80s. Beards themselves stopped brewing in 1958 at their Fisher Street brewery in Lewes, and, although they still retained their pubs, neighbouring brewer Harveys (sigh) continued to brew the beers. There appears to be no trace of Beards now, except of course on signs like these. The writing was on the wall when the pubs were sold to Greene King (aka Allied Breweries) in 1998. I came across the superbly painted letters after a summer afternoon rattling up and down the nearby Bluebell Line, but very irresponsibly failed to make a note of where it was. So up until last night it was in the drawer marked 'Unknown', a picture without a map pin. And then I thought of Mr.Dudley, who knows his way around this neck of Sussex. After much searching with dogs and lamps a whistle was finally heard and the quarry cornered. The letters are on the tile-hung wall of The Sloop in Scaynes Hill near Haywards Heath. You can see it here, and wonder, as I do, if our sign is still lurking underneath that smart green board. My thanks to Mr.Dudley, who will receive pints of Harveys once I've renewed my passport.

11 comments:

Jon Dudley said...

I think Harveys still employ a full time signwriter and their tiny business office contains several examples of old pub signs from their estate. Shame this one couldn't have been preserved...a nice stop, The Sloop, on a summer's evening with the sound of the steam locos drifting across the meadows.

Peter Ashley said...

Lost sounds Jon, like fog horns on lighthouses, now replaced by plastic electronic shriekers that look like badly-spaced stacks of white bread sandwiches. Oh. Sorry, where did all that come from?

Diplomat said...

That door to the public bar has a welcoming look about it - I do hope we can be greeted by a worn linoleum floor, melted infront of the fire and pock-marked beneath the darts board. I once came across a sign above the fireplace in a Sussex pub asking us not to stand in front of it, denying the other customers its warmth - the place was empty and I felt obliged to point out to the miserable cow behind the bar that her sign might have something to do with the lack punters. Needless to say I left without buying a beer.

Peter Ashley said...

I've been thinking about that door too Diplo. I think it would have been much as you describe. That hot Saturday afternoon feeling, shut up after lunchtime, too early for early doors. The light filtering through the rippled glass. A cough upstairs, a Morris Marina changing gear in the distance.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Oh not a Morris Marina, please. Can't we have a Triumph Stag revving up (before its timing chain falls off and the owner retreats, cursing, to the bank)?

Peter Ashley said...

Of course it can be a Stag Philip. Driven by a girl with her hair tied back and a Du Maurier on.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Stop it, stop it, stop it, I implore you.... This is doing me no good at all.IT was C*ll**n,Gawd bless `er, but I have to say the bodywork went long before the timing chains. Now I`m lumbered with a Saab which is only half the trouble....but not so much fun. Aah well....!
Plus ca change and all that
...but then it`s only Rock `n Roll !

Peter Ashley said...

I had a Saab 900 once. It all went horribly wrong when I entered January flood water and the ridiculously-positioned air intake scoop sucked up half the River Nene into the engine. But at least it was beside the fifteenth century church in Fotheringhay.

Bucks Retronaut said...

An example of `Deus ex Machina` perhaps?

Martin said...

Nothing wrong with Saabs - I have a lovely 1968 95 estate in my custodianship, complete with column gearlever, fins, aerofoil in the roof and freewheel. used to belong to an archaeologist. Bonkers, but lovely (the car, not the man).

Sam Roberts said...

Some more beer and brewer signs in this little video.