THE PLOUGH: No spit or sawdust here

Leafing through an old copy of the Gazette, I would like to take slight issue with your reporter’s claim that The Plough was a “spit and sawdust” establishment in times gone by.

As an irregular habitué there for many decades I recall it being furnished with many handsome Victorian features – a wealth of mahogany, etched glass windows, cast iron tables, etc.

Furthermore, almost every Friday and Saturday night throughout the 50s and 60s, the window table in the Gentleman’s Buffet was occupied by a group of eminently respectable gentlemen. Old-timers may remember some of them.

There was a central core of regulars, comprising Les Johnson, gents outfitter; Norman Taylor, musician and watchmaker (and the man who missed Titanic’s sailing); George Brewis, Co-op butcher; and Billy Meakin, Earl Grey’s clerk of works.

Also to be found there quite frequently were Bobby Turnbull, butcher; ‘Jock’ Jobson, saddler; Dixon Blackshaw, Teddy Trotter of The Market Cafe; Hugh Leach, the Duke’s head forester; Willie O’Brian, plumber with Lewis Wood; and Tommy McDonald, Earl Grey’s chauffeur.

None of these gentlemen were remotely “spit and sawdust”.

Also, in those days it didn’t echo like an empty aircraft hangar and one could hold a conversation.

I feel sure that Col Higginbottom, the owner at that time, would not be amused by the “spit and sawdust” description.

Arthur Meakin,

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