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CAMRA The Campaign for Real Ale  East London & City Branch


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Obituary, Martin Pope.

Tribute to Martin Pope (1951-2021) ELAC Branch members, and more importantly the national brewing industry, will be devastated to learn of the sudden death of Camra life member Martin ‘Animal’ Pope on 22 January 2021. A founder member of the East London Branch of Camra, I attended the first meeting with him as hanger-on. Incredibly for somebody who lived the axiom of Groucho Marx [I don’t want to belong to a club that will accept me as a member.] he was the Branch’s first Social Secretary, alongside the sadly departed Brian Marsh the first Chair, and Pete Roberts (1947-2004) of Roberts Rambles fame. Brian was his long-term cycling partner with whom he explored the real ale of the home counties for many years. There are probably few around now who can remember the brewery visits that Martin organised, but he did so at time when there were barely 100 brewers in the country and he assiduously identified some of the smallest and most hospitable, dragging people from London across the countryside to visit some gem. More members will recall his distinctive bearded and increasingly corpulent form at the Pigs Ear festivals, working there for many years, and in the pubs of East London, in darts leagues in the City and Stoke Newington. Although his active involvement with the branch dwindled, he helped with surveys for many years. I recall reviewing all the pubs of E10 with him for perhaps the last East London Guide. There were pubs with no draught beer at all, not even bottled Guinness, but plenty of drugs, pubs with no customers except those apparently offering sexual favours to the staff, and lots of undrinkable rubbish. No wonder the traditional pub was vanishing!!! He continued to take photos for the CAMRA website, and deliver his devastating verdicts on pubs and beers alike. Latterly his locals were around Walthamstow and Wanstead, the George, the Drum, the William and Rose and Crown, but these were generally staging posts on his way home from almost anywhere. Over the years they included the Prince Of Wales on Lea Bridge Road, the Anchor and Hope, the London Tavern (E5), the Wheatsheaf (Borough Market), the Windmill (Tabernacle St), the City Retreat (Darts), the Angel (St Giles Circus), the Leopard, and closer to home the Cricketers in Woodford. And of course there were in the 70s the handful of real ale havens - Beckys, the Sun, the Anglesea, the White Horse etc. etc. Further afield they included the Vaynol Arms in Nant Peris, and until lockdown most weeks he was to be seen at least once in the Great Western at Wolverhampton, a strong candidate for his favourite pub of all. Choose the day of the week and work from there! Martin was a purist, and over the years his view of what was ‘pure’ in the world of beer evolved dramatically, as did his views on pubs and their offerings. He probably became seriously interested in real ale through the offerings of Youngs, and the attractions of the Wandsworth 11, after years of drinking the tasteless keg offerings of the likes of Worthington E and Tartan. I met him in the years of the big six, when it was possible to consider drinking at all the real ale pubs in London and sampling all the real ales in the country, and with {fellow committee member Barry} he had a bloody good go at doing it. Then Watneys, followed by Ind Coope, decided to launch their own real ales in the late 70s and the task became pointless given the abysmal state of many of the pubs on offer. I remember doing a crawl with him from the Blind Beggar at Mile End Gate up to the White Swan at Clapton around 1974, and feeling more and more depressed by the rank quality of the beer and the lack of a friendly atmosphere in many of the pubs. The Blind Beggar had been given a makeover, no doubt to give it a post- Kray fillip, but you wondered why. He upped his game and became dismissive of Charringtons, then Youngs and Fullers as they seem to betray his standards. Greene King, whose Abbot beer he sported on many T-shirts in the 70s, was consigned to his rubbish bin. He hoovered up all the pubs of the smaller regional breweries just like he had collected train numbers in his childhood - Youngs (many times), Fullers, Ridleys, Rayments, his beloved Brakspears, Donningtons, Bathams, Simpkiss, Harveys, Timothy Taylors, etc etc, recording it all in his collections of beer guides and then his databases. With a persevering mentality of this type he continued until the Covid world struck us, polishing off all the Wetherspoons across the country (except, of course those in airports), and most of the micropubs as well, setting out from one of London’s terminals a couple of times a week. In the process he visited almost everywhere in the British Isles, although retaining his favourite haunts in North Wales and the West Midlands. If you wanted to know a good beer he was your man, although committed to drinking the strongest, he was well aware of what a decent well-balanced beer should taste like. If you want to gain his knowledge of British beer, be prepared to accumulate a lot of rail miles and spend a lot of cash, and don’t stop exercising! I doubt he had serious rival anywhere. So choose a beer from the Blue Monkey Range, or closer to home ELB, and raise a glass to Martin; if you don’t these breweries will not survive, and it won’t be just Martin we are mourning in 2022. Mike Chrimes, Chingford. Pictured above on a Roberts Ramble of 1982 are l-r Mick Parker, Kevin Dorrington, Giles Allen, Dennis Pavey, Unknown, Ken Stewart and wife Gill. Pete Roberts, Martin Pope. Seated are Barbara Ayton, Julian Farrow, and Brian Marsh. I seem to remember Martin and Brian cycling to the Beer Festival at Canterbury and the story was that one got a puncture and tried to blow up the tyre with his lungs. Given that bike tyres need to be pumped up to 70ibs pressure, three times that of some cars, that story seems unlikely. I came across Martin in the Tesco at Highams Park which is where I last saw him though not to talk to. Sometimes he and I also came across each other in the Kings Ford in Chingford. An excellent dart player. I shall miss him. Keith.


April Openings Here is a list of updated pub openings including those that have indicated they will open in May. You are advised to check with the venue before going as most have a booking system and may be offering a reduced service. Alternatively look at the pub on Whatpub.com under the updates section. Brewery History Society Website. Back in the day our branch produced a local newsletter named unsurprisingly enough, Pigs Ear. Here is the Nov/Dec 1981 edition. The latest London Drinker is available here. CAMRA London Pubs Guide. Branch Awards 2020 and Presentation dates. The Winners are- Pub of The Year Northcote Arms E11. Cider Pub Of The Year The Cock Tavern E8. Community Pub Of The Year The Pembury Tavern E8. Club Of The Year Leyton Orient Supporters Club E10. Thanks to everyone who voted for these and the other nominated pubs. London Beer & Pub Guide.

Beer Barrels and Brewhouses

Is a new publication on forgotten East End breweries. See here. Do you know of any clubs not on this list?


CAMRA has launched a campaign titled Pulling Together see below. Support your local during this crisis Pubs, breweries and taprooms are fighting for their very survival against the Coronavirus. Many are finding different and innovative ways to help their business weather the crisis. Whether this is by launching hot food deliveries, encouraging locals to buy ‘gift cards’ for the summer or crowdfunding, there are plenty of ways that you can help support your favourite local business. Below is a list of breweries and others who are delivering beer Pretty Decent Brewery visit their website Click Here ELB, For orders (Bag in Box 35 pints Bottles or cans either call the brewery on 02085390805 or email. Howling Hops (Cans) Queens Yard, Hackney Wick, London, E9 5EN Tel: 0203 583 8262 We can send you the prices that have been sent to us for ELB and Howling Hops, on request. To order from Husk Brewery click here. They're delivering beer (currently a choice of Derelict IPA and Ginger & Juniper Saison) within a three-mile radius of the brewery (E16 2AA). Deliveries to north of the river, Saturday between 2 - 8pm and south of the river, Sunday 2 - 6pm. All beer comes in 2 Pint containers. No in store pickup available. Signature Brewery Website Pillars Brewery Website. The Mechanic brewery deliver (there is a distance limit) or you can collect, Saturdays only, call 07410910810 5 Points Webshop Orders – Home Delivery. Free delivery for orders over £50. Shop Here. 5L Mini Casks now available visit their Website. Trumans (CAMRA members receive 10% discount) Shop Here. The Stag And Lantern E4 are now delivering beer and selling real ale via click and collect. Visit their website Click Here People living in Waltham Forest (E10, E11 and E17 postcodes) can get fresh beer delivered in reusable growlers from local, independent breweries each Friday evening. The beer is delivered in 3.3 pint growlers between 6-9 each Friday evening by a local zero emission courier service. Click here to shop This link, lists many of the breweries in London that will deliver. If anyone knows of other sources of beer, please let us know and we will include the details in future newsletters
Campaigning for real ale, pubs & drinkers' rights since 1971.


CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale is an independent, voluntary organisation of over 190,000 members campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights. CAMRA acts as the champion for beer drinkers and pub-goers on issues ranging from protecting pubs from closing down, keeping the lid on the price of a pint and ensuring there is fair competition in the beer and pubs market. CAMRA supports well-run pubs as the centres of community life and believe their continued existence play a critical social role in UK culture.
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