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When I was young people always used to say that the best jobs to have were either working in pubs or being an undertaker, because both would always be around, and both flourished whenever there was a recession. Well that may have been true 20 years ago, but for various reasons, such as the government's attempts to de-regulate the brewing industry, high prices, never ending austerity cuts to bail out the thieving Bankers, the smoking ban, a younger generation that shares so much of their lives on those infernal smartphones and Facecrook, and don't seem to want to speak to each other face to face anymore, the supermarkets and cheap booze shops paying far lower duty levels and having lower overheads, and breweries not caring too much about them, these once central parts of our communities are now closing at an alarming rate, and like churches, are rapidly becoming very scarce in some areas. Because of that I thought it was important to record as many of them as possible (churches too), otherwise there will be no trace of them at all in a generation or two from now if the closures continue at the current rate. There is obviously still some demand for them though as in places where they close we then see the new 'beer shops' or 'bars' opening in shopping areas, but with their limited capacities it remains to be seen whether they will survive and be here for the long haul.

It may seem a bit hypocritical that I even care about such things, especially as I have been almost tee-total for the past 40 years, though I do visit them occasionally for meals and social events etc. (and probably would do even more often if more of them catered better for us folks that don't consume much alchohol) but I do feel that they are an important part of most communities, and just try to imagine Coronation Street without the Rovers Return, or Eastenders without the Queen Vic. I will continue to do my bit by documenting their changing fortunes, but I really do hope that I'm not recording their end after several hundred years in many cases, which would be a sad loss for our already fast changing, and not always for the best, society.

For a really good explanation about why perfectly good pubs are getting snapped up by dodgy property developers just out to make a fast buck, I would strongly recommend reading this article in the Gruaniad: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/13/the-death-and-life-of-a-great-british-pub

If you feel we should be doing more to save our pubs then you might like to this this online petition: https://www.longlivethelocal.pub/