Thursday, 21 January 2016

Painting Peckham ............. standing in a pub with no beer ....... the Carlton Tavern on Culmore Road

Now it’s just one of those things that “there's nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer.”*

The Carlton Tavern 2015 from a photograph, 2008
Which I guess might well be the closing words for the Carlton Tavern.

It did the business of pulling and serving pints on Culmore Road from 1867 till sometime around 2011.

But like so many pubs around the country that fateful mix of cheap supermarket beer, changing life styles and the onward march of the bar culture have done for so many traditional drinking places.

So as part of Peter’s ongoing project to paint the pubs of Peckham here is his painting of the Carlton Tavern taken from a 2008 photograph on London Pubology that excellent site for all things to do with London pubs and from where I discovered a little of his history.**

The Carlton tavern, 2015
And by sheer coincidence just a few days earlier Adam Burgess sent me another photograph of the place which he tells me “is now a block of flats but  has still got the advertising for the world cup on the blackboards” and if you look closely there also is the old  sign standing outside.

But for all that it is still a pub with no beer which brings me back to that song which I must have first heard sometime in the late 1950s.

It was adapted by Gordon Parsons from Dan Sheehan’s poem "A Pub with No Beer"  and was made popular by fellow Australian country singer Slim Dusty.

Since then it has been covered by a shedful of singers and has settled so deep into our culture that I assumed it was an old Victorian music hall song.

And along the way it has become the anthem for any one whose pub has temporarily run out of beer which is why it was such a hit in Ontario in 1958 when a strike at of Canadian brewery workers stopped the flow of beer for 48 days.

Slim Dusty
But that like the song is for another time leaving me only to reflect that having spent the last hour listening to the songs of Dusty Slim I have become a fan.***

Not that I suspect I will win many converts in our house for his brand of Australian country music which like all good country music mixes simplicity with a dash of truth and humour.

All of which is a long way from Culmore Road and that pub with no beer.

Location; Peckham, London

Painting; The Carlton Tavern, © 2015 Peter Topping from a photograph, 2008 in London Pubolgy 


Facebook: Paintings from Pictures

Picture; The Carlton Tavern, 2015, courtesy of Adam Burgess and Slim Dusty reproduced from ABC News, 2003

*Slim Dusty sings a Pub with No Beer,

** Carlton Tavern, 45 Culmore Road, Peckham SE15

***State funeral planned for Slim Dusty, ABC News

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