Three Horseshoes, Southall, London   5 comments

Three Horseshoes Southall sign

Southall has everything that could raise the hackles of, for instance, the BNP or UKIP: on my run from Hounslow (already a very brown town in this very white country), I saw vanishingly few pale faces and, of those, fewer and fewer that held any other belief than Islam.  There’ll be some namby-pamby, touchy-feely liberals out there that will ask how I could possibly know just glancing as I ran by; but, Buddhist men don’t stride around in those comfy looking galibiyyas and Hindu women generally don’t dress like ninjas.  I like the neighbourhood and feel like, should we move to nearby Ruislip (which I was running to) this would be where I would come for meat (Halal butchers are my favourites) and veg (muslim run markets are better stocked and with a wider variety of products); but, I won’t ever feel at home here — religious fervour already drove me out of the Deep South and, to an extent, the United States as a whole.

There are a few pubs still open in the neighbourhood and I was looking for one in particular — actually the Conservative and Unionist Club, a club and not really a pub — that I saw in the Good Beer Guide but it wasn’t where I reckoned it should be.  Not in a great hurry, I walked around for a minute or two then, like a mute Muezzin, the imposing edifice of the Three Horseshoes called me in to prayer.

Three Horseshoes Southall bar

The Horseshoes has seen better days. The CAMRA link and similar tell us that it is one of the finest examples of the architect Nowell Parr’s work, but knowing nothing about this genius doesn’t detract from the faded beauty of this grand house.  I entered near the corner and found the place abandoned not just by customers but by staff, as well.  Busting for a pee, I continued through to the saloon bar and found the loo, did my business, then headed back to my station by the taps.  Another minute passed then music started playing over the sound system but not a whole song, just some late 70’s pop started mid-stream then, after about 30 seconds it stopped again.  I stepped back into the entrance way and pushed on the door to the “Private Bar” and startled and old gent and an even older woman having some fried chicken for lunch.  “Are we open?”

He dashed around and I asked for a Fosters, not spotting the Lilley’s Apple and Pear cider on the tap until too late (this fantastic West-country brew from Frome an odd choice here on the edge of London).  The Fosters tap was sweating from refrigeration and the humid day but all the lager he had on tap was Stella and Carlsberg (which I settled on).  Paid up, he disappeared back to dine for a while and another half song I didn’t recognise started and just as abruptly ended.

The old woman (as a child, she probably used to play on the site of this building when it was still a farm) wandered in with a half eaten chicken leg in one hand and a glass in the other, then she dug around for some ice to put in the glass she held without putting the bone down.  This might horrify the dainty but it made me feel like I had gone to visit granny for a day.  She wandered back into the Private Bar with a glass of ice but nothing else in it, then another song, “Fallen Angels,” kicked in.  While this ear worm played nearly to completion, the old dude came in yelling over his shoulder to the woman that she had forgotten her drink and he filled it with something fizzy then returned to the meal.

Another guy suddenly appeared beside me at the bar while the David Essex song continued on.  I nodded toward the other bar and he ran off into the loo.  “Fallen angels riding, they say they’ll shoot us on sight…”, then it struck me that here was another connection to that funky movie we were watching the other night: its lead character was played by a very young David Essex.  The landlord reappeared and asked if someone had just come in.  I nodded the other way toward the head and muttered, “gone for a slash.”

I was finished, anyway, and got up to return to my running route.  Planning permission to convert the place into housing and retail came through a couple of years ago, so I would recommend going by for a visit soon.  Like the neighbourhood it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but they are really both worth a visit.  The neighbourhood isn’t going anywhere but this place won’t last forever.

[Update 2017-02-28, shuttered when I came past a month or so ago.  Here’s a map link, regardless.]

Three Horseshoes Southall

Posted September 9, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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