THE FIRST PUBS
The Romans were the first to introduce pubs to this
country. At small shops where wine and food were served to
customers seated on stools round a communal table. But no trace
of this tradition has been found during the Dark Ages.
Evidence of the existence of inns in the Middle Ages exists,
when inns were run by monks who offered travellers
shelter and food, as well as drink.
Monastic inns were kept separate from the monasteries they
served, the buildings identified by signs invariably of a
earliest reference found to an inn, in Derby refers
to 'William the Innkeeper'. The location of the inn is not
stated, but further mention is made about a financial
transaction with Abbot and Canons of Darley. It may well be that
he kept the Abbey's inn.
The Abbey Inn at Darley Abbey
Old Silk Mill
THE PUBLIC HOUSE
centuries the pub has been the place where friends, families,
colleagues and people wanting companionship meet. A pub is a place where
people gather to celebrate, do business, play games or just
to seek quiet relaxation.
Changes in the law have now made the pub a place for families.
The pub is re-establishing itself as the place to eat, a tradition
that all but disappeared after the last war.
of the pubs in Derby City Centre provide meals and nearly all
serve hot drinks.
industrial revolution gave added momentum to the growth of
coaching and its inns. The movement of goods and people was
essential to trade and commerce.
to rest, feed and water the horses, as well as refresh the
coachmen and passengers were essential. The coaching inn met this need.
If the inn was well placed on a busy route or at a terminus, it
would have enough trade to prosper, others were not so
the late eighteenth century, business was also boosted at
inns, where the regulated mail service called. Derby had a
number of coaching inns.
The George was one of the most famous and
busiest coaching inns in Derby, during that era. The London to
Nottingham stage coach ran from the George from 1735, and in
1766 the post office coach also ran from the inn.
arrival of the railways dealt a death blow to the coaching
were often uncomfortable and despite improvements to roads and carriage
suspension, the whole experience was not a pleasant one.
Breakdowns and crashes were not uncommon and there was the risk
of being robbed by highwaymen. Passengers who rode on top of the
coach were sometimes thrown off and even freezing to death was
modern hotel gradually took the place of the coaching inns, as
the public gradually started to travel by train, where comfort
was much greater and journey times quicker.
30 May 1839, the first railway train steamed into Derby. The excited
crowds watching the train’s arrival, little realised how this event
would change the face of Derby.
Initially, three railway companies
operated from Derby, until 1844, when they amalgamated to form the
Midland Railway. This hectic activity attracted swarms of workers from
all over the country and in 1851 records showed that 43% of the adults
in the town had been born outside the county.
Most had jobs in the
railway works, but others were employed by companies that sprang up
because of the railway’s arrival and the Midland’s expansion from a
provincial company into the third largest in Britain, before the
amalgamation into the LMS in 1923.
over a thousand trade signs, a
great many of which belonged to inns.
The Dolphin was a well known
Christian symbol in medieval days, which gives
credibility to the presumed date of the founding
of the pub of that name in Derby.
The Old Dolphin Inn
The Red Lion is the most common pub sign in England, and was an
interpretation of the lion on John of Gaunt's shield.
Pub signs often have historical connections. In
Royal Standard, is named
after the Sovereign's personal flag, which is always flown when
the King or Queen is personally present.