Nottingham (Canning Circus), Nottinghamshire:
Friday 17th April 2015
This is another pub that has come back from the dead and the result is very pleasing indeed. The pub promotes itself as being founded in 1853. My limited personal research could find nothing earlier than 1855, yet what is two years difference? It is more than feasible that there was a pub on the site earlier than the present building as it at an important road junction, then and now.
It is notable inasmuch that it has retained the same name from the day it opened right up to the present. For the vast majority of the time it was a Shipstone’s pub. This brewery was founded by James Shipstone in 1852 and located at New Basford.
It absorbed a few local breweries (and their pubs) over the years. I well remember them as they were one of the three independent companies in Nottingham which during the 1970s and 1980s offered cask ale almost exclusively in their pubs, most of it served through electric pumps.
The other two in this trinity were Hardy Hansons (mostly in the suburbs) and Home Ales, which were all over the place like Shipstones. All three got taken over by bigger companies. In the case of Shipstones, the beginning of the end came in 1978 when they and their 280 pubs were acquired by Greenall Whitney of Warrington, Cheshire, who were then a big deal in the North West.
In retrospect it is surprising that the Star Brewery in New Basford lasted so long, as it finally succumbed in 1990. Luckily this beautiful building is still standing and is used for business units. If you have the time, catch the tram to the Shipstone Street stop and have a look. The star-shaped clock is particularly notable on the side of the 1900 built tower brewery. And when you’ve finished admiring the architecture you can go for a pint in the nearby Lion Inn, which sells the beer from the revived Shipstone brewery.
For a while after the 1990 closure Shipstone beer was brewed at another brewery but this didn’t last long. Greenall Whitney closed their own brewery in 1991.
As mentioned above, the beer is back as, in 2007 Richard Neale purchased the trademarks and recipes for the beers. These are currently being brewed at the Belvois Brewery although Richard is looking around for premises the re-establish the brewery on a permanent site.
So, with the infamous Beer Orders becoming law, the equally infamous Punch pub-owning company gained control of the Falcon. It continued trading with different licensees for some time with differing degrees of success. It seemed that the recession did for the pub and it eventually closed in 2012 and was boarded up. Unlike many, it was to come in from the cold as it re-opened in October 2013.
The instigation for the re-opening came from Anthony Hughes of the Lincoln Green Brewery in Hucknall along with Adrian and Tina Draper of the Fellow, Morton & Clayton pub near the railway station. It took a lot of very hard work to bring the pub up to 21st Century standards. That said, it is a traditional pub. However, this arrangement has now changed and the Lincoln Green brewery’s involvement is now with the Sir John Borlase Warren just across the road.
Once through the front door we noticed the bar counter on the left side of the main room. As said before this is a traditional pub and I looked closely at the wooden bar and bar-back and thought, if this is not the original, then it is a very good reproduction.
Between the bar and the window there is a nice cast iron fireplace. To the right of the main room there is a small snug and that is where we settled.
There was actually one beer from Lincoln Green (Hucknall, Nottinghamshire) Tuck (4.7%), a porter. Others offered were: Purity (Great Alne, Warwickshire) Pure Gold (3.8%), a golden ale; Dukeries (Worksop, Nottinghamshire) Best Bitter (3.8%); Keltec (Redruth, Cornwall) Lancer (4.0%), a golden ale; Newby Wyke (Grantham, Lincolnshire) Black Beard’s Extra (4.6%), a stout, along with their Comet (4.1%), a single hop bitter and finally, Nottingham Brewery (Nottingham) Extra Pale Ale (4.7%).
I think this was a great selection of beers with many from the East Midlands. There was one cider on the hand pumps and this was Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Strawberry Cider (4.0%).
Although this pub has a first floor restaurant, it is only used on Sundays for lunches as far as I could work out, although available for parties and functions. Their Kitchen is only open on Fridays and Sundays.
I understand crusty cheese cobs are available most of the time, as are Falcon’s Eggs. They say that these are approved by the RSPB, although I suspect they are large scotch eggs wherein the central bit was laid by a chicken.
The Falcon Inn, 1, Alfreton Road, Nottingham NG7 3JE. Tel: 0115 924 4635
Open: Monday-Thursday 17.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-23.30; Sunday 12.00-22.00
Canning Circus is around ten minutes walk from the city centre.
It is a junction for three separate major routes out of the city so therefore has many bus routes, 15 in all, most of which come from Lower Parliament Street.