Jane Stuart – Writer

Writer on beer, football culture and Blackpool FC.

A Football Tourist’s Guide To Peterborough – Part Two

If you missed Part One, you can find it here.

On Friday evening, having lined our stomachs with a lush Chinese, Karen and I headed off on a seven-pub crawl. The last time I crawled Peterborough – back in 2010 – there had been a beer fest in EVERY pub (mind you, I think that was St George’s weekend). What would we discover on our travels tonight?

Yard Of Ale

I was intrigued by tonight’s band and was kicking myself that we were too early to see them tonight, it being around 1800 when we arrived.

Just how sweary would they be?

I was also encouraged by this sign.

I had planned tonight’s pub crawl around Good Beer Guide pubs; however we would find ourselves veering off into non-GBG pubs – not least to affirm that I am Not A GBG Ticker. There would also be GBG pubs that we would miss out on for geographical reasons, as we were on foot this evening and could only cover so much ground and so many pubs. Notable omissions on this occasion were Hand & Heart, Wonky Donkey, Woolpack, Frothblowers and Ploughman, which at least gives us plenty to go at on our next visit.

But let’s get to the bar, shall we?

Our friendly landlord talked us through the beers, using the word ‘hoppy’ to describe all bar the Ten Fifty, which is the one I went for, despite it being a risky 5% starter. We were advised that dark beers didn’t sell in this pub, although we were teased that there was a particularly alluring one coming on after the Ten Fifty had gone ‘but we’ll end up throwing some of it away.’ My Ten Fifty wasn’t that exciting (it could have been a Doom Bar as far as my palate was concerned) but I guess it’s horses for courses.

Not a Doom Bar and not a Yard of Ale…

The weather was still glorious and we were directed towards the beer garden, where there were vacant seats. There was also table football but Karen and I were still in catch up mode so we didn’t get round to that.

Palmerston Arms

This pub – which I remembered fondly from my 2010 visit – was just down the road from the Yard of Ale. I already knew this was going to be a good’un.

I wasn’t quite sure where to start with this selection – the pump clips stretched all the way across the bar. Our hostess pointed out that they were displayed in order of darkness, so I headed straight to the dark side of the bar and ordered a Bible Black. This was served in the first of many Peterborough Beer Festival glasses that we would see tonight.

There was a party of Seasiders in here when we arrived and, shortly after they had moved on to continue with their crawl, they were replaced by another party from Leyland & Chorley Seasiders, comprising friends I have known for many years. This was like a home from home.

‘Blimey – how many of you are there?’ enquired our hostess.

It is here that I conducted my first ‘loo review’ of the evening. In addition to the interesting signage en route, I can report that there was an intriguing basket next to the sink, which I was expecting to contain lady products, but instead just contained a roll-on deodorant.

We were reluctant to leave the Palmerston – where we could have happily stayed for a session – but we had a lot of ground to cover tonight, so leave we must.

It was a pleasant and scenic walk to the next pub. I pointed out to Karen that there were a lot of these striking trees down here and she headed to Google Lens and a tree app to try and identify it.

Can anyone identify this tree please?

We were heading through a park which was attractive in the daylight but I was glad we weren’t walking this way after dark.

Coalheavers Arms

Handy signpost on the corner.
I found a cat to review!

This was a diversion from the GBG list. A Twitter friend had informed me that there was a beer festival on here tonight and I wasn’t going to miss that!

On entry, we approached the bar and this is what we found.

Wot no dark beers AGAIN? And WAS there a beer festival on in here?

‘There’s more out the back.’

Aha! Yes there was! And dark beer too. Here’s what I had.

I liked it very much out here, with all its burny things. Some friendly natives invited us to join them but Karen didn’t like the smoke so we headed back inside.

There was plenty to look at inside the pub, too.

I spotted these meerkats on the way to Loo Review #2, which involved two choices of handcream and kingfisher wallpaper.

We took a seat and I soon spotted the shelf full of quirky beer-themed books. One in particular caught my eye.

On flicking through this book, I was interested to find a recipe section and photographed the recipe for ‘Krieky Pork Cutlets’ for future reference. I must have a whole cookbook’s worth of recipes on my phone and I really ought to collate them into a recipes section. Perhaps a job for the close season?

We soon got chatting to the friendly group at the next table. On learning that one was a Peterborough fan, I asked him the question I’d been dying to ask someone all day.

‘Why are Peterborough nicknamed Posh?’

Having visited the ground earlier today and seen the nickname written in capitals as POSH, I was now convinced the letters stood for something. But, no. I learned that, 100 years ago, a journalist wrote that the newly-formed Peterborough team (formerly Fletton) looked posh in their new kit – and the name stuck.

However Wikipedia tells a slightly different story:

Peterborough United are nicknamed “The Posh”, a moniker coined in 1921, after Pat Tirrell, manager of Fletton United, was reported to say he was “Looking for posh players for a posh new team”. When Fletton United looked to join the Southern League in 1923 they added Peterborough to their name to form Peterborough & Fletton United, in an attempt to gain the backing of businesses in Peterborough. Peterborough & Fletton United went bankrupt in October 1932 so the current club is the third to be known as The Posh. However, the term “posh” was used as a derogatory term for the club by the press.

I also learned of the disputed acronymic origin of the word ‘posh’, as standing for Port Out Starboard Home, indicating the preferred positions of the elite on the steamship voyages between England and India, such that they got the morning sun but could cool down in the evenings.

This was another pub where we could have happily stayed for a natter with the locals but we had a crawl to complete. As I paused at the door to photograph a seemingly excessive number of hand creams and sanitisers…

…we became engaged in conversation with the landlord, who was reluctant to see us leave. I felt I had to explain that I was photographing the hand care display for blogging purposes and then he and Karen both took pleasure in pointing out various signs throughout the pub that I’d failed to observe (being a short person, I often miss out on things positioned high up).

This notice trail led me so far back into the pub that I ended up seated next to the Peterborough fan, who pointed out this riddle.

Can you figure out what this stands for?

Finally – after solving the riddle with some help – we managed to escape the Coalheavers’ clutches.

There were two directions we could have headed in now – south towards the Wonky Donkey and the Woolpack – or north back into the city centre. As it was starting to get dark now, we opted for the safer option of the city centre.

Why is there a chair outside this shop?
Ooh there’s the ground. Nice floodlight.
Blue tree.
The Guildhall, erected in 1671.

Blind Tiger

This place wasn’t on the original list but no less than THREE people had recommended it this weekend, so we couldn’t possibly walk past it. Well, Karen could have, as it was a craft beer place, but I couldn’t resist. A friend had posted a glass of something GREEN he’d had to drink in here.

Any pub that serves green beer is one I need to visit.
And look! Fierce Beer too!

I simply could not resist the Burley Oak Raspberry Pineapple Lemon Coconut Ice Cream JREAM HYDRA Sour Smoothie. I have never had a beer anything like this before and it was my favourite beer of the night.

This is why I visit craft beer places.

Handcream was again available in the Ladies. The locals must have lovely hands.

I’m not so keen on the high chairs and tables in these new fangled crafty pubs. However there was a particularly exciting seating option in here, which happily became available shortly after we arrived.

At first I feared the swinging might make me feel a bit sick (we were on our fourth pub, remember) but I soon found a nice rhythm and it became soothing like a rocking chair but easier to control.

As we were plotting our next pubs, we were interrupted by the man two swings down.

‘Excuse me – is this you?’

He pointed to his phone and my tweet from this pub.

This was Penworthamer, the third person to recommend Blind Tiger to me. We chatted with him (a Blackpool fan) and Mrs Penworthamer for a short while before we again had to make haste to get to the next pub on the crawl.

En route we bumped into Phil and Harvey, one of whom was desperately hunting down a pub where he could go to the loo. We had a particular venue in mind so couldn’t be diverted by a desperate loo stop. By the time we’d spotted our pub, the boys were out of earshot.

The Bumble Inn

This was our first (and only) micropub of the crawl and you know I like a good micro. Indeed, I’d visited this place on my virtual crawl of Peterborough last season.

I was offered a taster of the bubble gum porter and, according to Untappd, I had the oatmeal stout, which is unsurprising as I don’t like bubble gum.

We took a seat at a table in the window and within minutes our conversation was again interrupted by someone at the next table.

‘Ooh if you like toilets, there’s a TikTok account you’d really like. It’s called loos_of_london.’

I knew instantly this was my kind of girl. She was a Peterborough United fan too and we chatted at length. Why were all these pubs (and their people) so hard to leave?

Ostrich Inn

This place was rocking! Immediately to the right of the door was a stage with a rock band playing. The bar was rammed and two or three deep. This was where it was happening in Peterborough tonight!

I miraculously managed to get a snap of all the pump clips when the crowd around the bar thinned out a little later.

Terrible pic but delicious strawberry and vanilla dessert stout.

And look at the exciting food offerings!

I’ve never had a bridie but I plan to on my next visit here.

Dear reader, it got better! The toilets were a right treat, with the best wall art I’ve seen in yonks.

I’d have happily stayed in here for the rest of the night quaffing the lush dessert stout and immersing myself in the music; however Karen’s not such a fan of rock music as I am – and there was really no escaping it in here, especially as it was now raining, ruling out much of the beer garden. Thus we moved on – albeit with no further pubs to tick off, as we’d completed the set now. But I’d spied one on our way up through the city, so we called in there on the way back…

The Stoneworks Bar

This is another craft beer place but it was more hipster and less quirky than Blind Tiger. Not only were there no swings (and no tigers) but check this out for a beer list.

How are you supposed to study that? Apart from with a cocked head…

I had little choice than to trust the staff’s judgement when it came to my beer selection but I’d have much preferred the opportunity to study a can or a pump clip for myself. I like to be lured in with great artwork and/or animals/dinosaurs. Being in this place made me realise just how much I appreciate the art of beer. It’s part of its personality and part of the enjoyment for me. Indeed if you recall my recent visit to Walsall, it was an animal on a pump clip that was the conversation starter with a new friend in the Black Country Arms. What was there to talk about in here?

Untappd informs me I had the Dig Brew Co Eddie Draws Judge Doom, an 11% (good nightcap strength) double pastry imperial stout. I’ve been pleased to see a lot of this Birmingham brewery’s beers on my travels, as I’m not sure I drank any when I was based down there.

Tonight had proved a great research mission and offered a wonderful variety of pubs – with something for everyone. Thank you, Peterborough, for hosting my best night out in ages. Again, what lovely people we met on our travels.

Town Hall.

And that, dear reader, is the end of Part Two.

Still to come:

  • Railworld
  • Nene Valley Railway
  • Peterborough United v Blackpool
  • Charters Bar

Stay tuned for Part Three…

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