May Cook, the licensee, outside the Fox. May came from a family of publicans, her parents John and Rose Walker took over the Fox in 1912 and her grandparents Jim and Eliza Walker ran the Shoulder of Mutton in Hambridge Way. Her great grandparents John and Elizabeth ran the White Horse. May died in 1978 and the typical village pub never seemed the same again.
1950 May Cook tapping a pint. The drayman from the brewery (Greens and Flowers) delivered the barrels on Tuesdays and set them up on stands in the taproom. The 18 gallon barrels were called kilderkins and were arranged in order: mild at one end and bitter at the other. Lager was not sold in the Fox in the 1950s. A windpeg was hammered into the top of the barrel to let in the air and a tap knocked into the front to let the beer out.
May Cook at the bar of the Fox
1972 Mrs Cook and her regulars around the only table in the front bar. L-R: Bill Sykes, John Dawson, May Cook, George Trussell, Bill Brown, Dick Owens, Doug Walker, Jock Foster, Bill Saunders, Jack Soulsby. It was a very traditional pub; if a non-regular entered all conversation would stop.
1973 Pensioners enjoying their lunchtime pint in the front bar. L-R: Bob Males, Arthur Cooper, Frank Knight, Donald Hoy, Ernie Lake, Alf Agar. The other public bar was the large clubroom at the back which was used by village organisations before the Village Hall was built. May’s son Derek Cook recounts the tale of smoking contests which took place here. The winner was the smoker who could make a pipe full of tobacco last the longest.
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