Saturday, October 1, 2016

Bank of Swans

This may be one of the saddest looking vacant pubs I've seen in a while. It's in Clapham, and apparently closed several years ago. A sign out front advertises "Live sport on Sky and ESPN," including "Euro 2012" -- so that gives us some sense of the timetable.

"One of Clapham's more downscale pubs," reads a 2008 review on Yelp. "A bit like a coal miners or working mens club. The Bank of Swans attracts punters from the Clapham Park Estate, so I'm not going to lie to you, it can get a bit rough in here."

Still, the reviewer goes on to say, they had decent beers and snacks, "so it's not all doom and gloom."

Apparently there's a plan to demolish the pub and adjacent shops, but it's been delayed. So for now, the Bank of Swans stands derelict.

One of our local newspapers has been running a campaign to save local pubs, many of which are under pressure from a variety of financial and social trends. Skyrocketing real estate values have led some landlords to sell off pubs for housing. And in 2015, Britain's beer drinkers, for the first time, bought more of their beer in a supermarket or shop than in a pub or restaurant.

It's sad. Pubs, to me, are an element of what makes Britain. I hate to see that culture erode, though honestly, drinking less probably isn't a bad thing for anybody.

Dave and I joined some coworkers in a pub just last night, actually, near work. We're now on October break and don't go back to school until next Wednesday. We're off to Oxford tomorrow.

As planned, I spent yesterday cleaning off our library bookshelves. We have about one-third as much Tom Clancy as we did before. (I kept the books that were really written by Clancy, but got rid of the ones he merely lent his name to -- "Tom Clancy's Op Center" and stuff like that. It's amazing how many of those we had, and they were rarely used.) I also pulled any book that we'd had for five years or more that had never been checked out. We'll either promote those or consider getting rid of them. It's amazing how quickly "shelf clutter" accumulates!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Bank of Swans"? Are you sure it was a pub and not a bank frequented by swans and other water fowl? Perhaps the bank tellers were all swans, hissing behind their glass counters. They'd certainly drive any would-be bank robbers away. Have a nice time in Oxford.

Ms. Moon said...

Those authors who have loaned their names out to become book factories bother me.
I wish you could come de-clutter my library. God, it needs it. Okay. Maybe I'll start doing that soon.
And wouldn't it be nice if Lloyd had a pub? We certainly have enough churches.
Have great fun in Oxford! Can't wait to see the pictures!

ellen abbott said...

we got rid of so many books when we moved to the country house some of which I now wish I had kept.

Red said...

When I saw the sigh BAnk Of Swans I thought well, that's a really crummy bank! So I was predicting a post on banks. I got fooled this time.

Catalyst said...

I love the pub names in the UK.

jenny_o said...

The school year seems to be quite different there; I think you started back in mid-August or is that wrong? And you have a break now. Here we start in early September and break in late December for about two weeks. Your way sounds much more humane :)

Steve Reed said...

YP: I'm glad, as an Englishman, you also think it's a peculiar name. It seemed peculiar to me!

Ms Moon: Yeah, those authors bother me too. I don't see why we need junk like that in the library. We have limited space and I'd rather devote it to meaningful books.

Ellen: I've found as I get older that I miss owning books less and less.

Red: Ha! It IS a strange name. Though I hope I don't ever have to resort to a post about banks.

Catalyst: Me too! They get really crazy sometimes.

Jenny-O: Well, I went back to school in mid-August, but I was there a week or two before we had any students. We get about two weeks around Christmas, too, as well as a few days for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what this October break is for, but it's nice to have!

Anonymous said...

My åarents used to go to this pub often at weekends. I had lived in this area of Clapham from 1978 till 1987 or so. This is the first that I have known of the pub's closure. I still have relatives that live quite close by, and yet to see it look so run down is a really sad sight indeed. What was once part of my childhood, shows that it is no more.

Unknown said...

My parents owned the chippy next door to the Bank of Swans, from '89 til Jan. 2017. I used to love playing in the Swan's mini playground.
I remember the pub closed down around summer 2012.

Another Time said...

It was an awful place. When I worked in the housing benefit office across the road at the end of the 1980s we used to go over there some lunchtimes to see the residents from the nearby Clapham Park Estate drinking their way through the housing benefit we'd paid them.