The Great British pub is a world renowned phenomena that has been curated and copied the world over. The pub may to the naked eye seem as just a place to drink beer, wine, cider or something a little stronger, however, the pub means so much more than that. It is a unique social centre that is often focused on community living and social life within villages, towns and cities throughout the country. Nevertheless, despite the pub being a distinctly unique and British experience, it’s origins do in fact seem to hail from Italian wine bars some 2,000 years ago. The Ancient Romans were known for their wine bars that spread across the country allowing locals and travellers to have a drink and some entertainment at the end of a long day. When the Roman army invaded England in 43 AD, they brought their concept of roads, towns and pubs, that were originally known as tabernae, with them. When the roads were built such tabernae were built alongside the Roman roads and towns to quench the thirst of the soldiers and troops who were responsible for the building.
However, the chosen tipple in England at that time was ale rather than wine, and to make a success of the tabernae the Romans were forced into providing the locals with what they preferred and changing the name from tabernae to taverns. Over time, not only did the taverns and alehouses survive but they continued to adapt to the ever changing landscape and such clientele, thanks to the invasions from empires such as the Saxons and Vikings. Taverns and alehouses provided food and drink for their punters while the inns were the establishments that offered accommodation for tired and weary travellers. Frequenters of the taverns ranged from merchants and soldiers to court officials and pilgrims travelling to and from religious shrines. Interesting fact, that in 970 AD the Anglo-Saxon king, Edgar, actually attempted to limit the amount of alcohol that could be sold and consumed within the alehouses due to their popularity. He was also the first person to introduce measures as a means of controlling alcohol consumption, known as a ‘peg’. This is where the saying ‘to take someone down a peg’ comes from.
It wasn’t until the reign of King Henry VII that taverns and alehouses became collectively known as public houses or pubs. It was then in 1552 a short while later that an Act was passed that required innkeepers to have a licence to sell alcohol and run pubs. By 1577 it has been estimated that there were 17,000 pubs around England and Wales. If you take the population of the country at that time into account it equates to around one pub for every 200 people. If we put that into context in today's society, the same ratio would equate to one pub for every 1,000 people.
The age of the stagecoach came next and brought another era for pubs of the time. Coaching inns were set up strategically along well travelled routes all across the country, selling food, drink and accommodation. This brought about the distinction between class groups, those who could afford to ride inside would be invited into the private parlour while the rest would go no further than the inn’s bar room. Although these inns were relatively short-lived, they did transfer the class system to pubs, where pubs split into several rooms and bars in order to cater for different types of customer from different classes.
This remained the way for many years, however as time progressed and so did society, the class system slowly disappeared, and what we have today is an open plan society where the walls have been removed and everyone and anyone is welcome in a Great British Pub. So welcome in fact that statistics now say that 1 in 4 Britons will meet their future wife in a pub.
1st Option pub photoshoot locations
1st Option are very proud to say that we represent three traditional English pubs that portray the historical and long established roots of English alehouses. Featuring classic original wooden bar details, original wooden flooring and booth-style seating, if you are looking for a pub style shoot we certainly have you covered.
Check out The Jubilee Tavern, The Old Queens Head and The Paradise here to have a look at the pubs we represent.