Monday 10 August 2015

The closed pubs of Woking

As recent years have seen the closure of a lot of pubs I thought I'd look into how many local to me have closed and what I thought of them. I've managed to find a dozen, and I'd drunk in all of them save one.

First on my list is the Goldsworth Arms. I only went here once when a band were playing. I think a friend of a friend was in the band, and I can remember they played Gordon is a moron as we had to call up our mate of that name so we could shout it down the phone at him. The pub looked grotty and I can't say I'm surprised it closed. After years of closure scaffolding has recently appeared around it so they're doing something with it, thought I doubt that it's reopening it as a pub.

The Goldsworth Arms
Moving on there's a load of flats where The Cotteridge Hotel used to be. I drank here a few times, both when it was the Cotteridge and when it was later the Litten Tree. It seemed a perfectly fine place to drink in, though I did get barred once. Not my fault of course, it was all due to my girlfriend of the time being keen on a dried flower display but that's another story.

The Cotteridge
Moving on to Old Woking we have more flats where the Queen's Head used to be. I drank here a lot in my youth. It was owned by Courage then, though Moorlands later took it over. It was a two bar pub with a large garden. I hadn't been there in years when it closed but a mate nearby was annoyed as he would still drink in it, unlike another pub nearby.

The Queen's Head, Kingfield
Further down the road was the White Hart, I suspect it was a bit too far out to have got much passing trade. I only ever drank here once and it looked like an old style two bar boozer. I only had a pint but it was pleasant enough. Currently surrounded by scaffolding prior to be turned into housing.

The White Hart
The only pub on my list I didn't go to was The College Arms, another one that's been knocked down and replaced with flats. It's close to the mosque so a lot of muslims live nearby. This may not have helped its chances of survival, as the muslim sky wizard is famous for his antipathy to alcohol. Though as Woking has Britain's oldest mosque having a lot of muslims nearby is hardly a new development. 

The College Arms, Maybury
Back in the town centre was the Rat and Parrot. I had the misfortune of going to this shit hole twice. A large keg only establishment full of kiddies it was apparently shut down due to under age drinking. I once heard a colleague say she'd seen a couple shagging whilst they were sat at one of the tables. Classy, eh?

The Rat and Parrot
Opposite the station there's a nightclub called The Bed. I went to it a few times when it was called something else, though at the moment what the name was escapes me. I only ever went when pissed so maybe that's why the names gone. You certainly wouldn't want to have gone there sober though.

It was for a while an American style brew pub. I never went to it then as the beer was served from tanks under pressure and I had no time for such filth. If you think I'm a dogmatic follower of the CAMRA party line now you should have seen me in my youth!

The Bed
Back out to Westfield what was once The Cricketers is now a Chinese restaurant. I drank in this pub a lot when I was younger. It used to put on crappy local bands, though given the size of the egos some of the band members had you'd have thought they were playing Wembley stadium. It was a Courage pub so Directors was the drink of choice as I was never keen on Best.

The Cricketers
Going out to Bisley the Fox Inn is now more housing. I only drank here once and sat in the garden so can't recall anything else about the place, though it always looked a bit tatty when I drove past.

The Fox Inn, Bisley
Handily placed for Brookwood station was The Brookwood. I went here twice, the first time when I had long hair and it was a squaddies pub. The hostile comments started as soon as I got to the bar so some very rapid drinking was soon followed by a hasty exit. Many years later I ended up here whilst on a very boozy family walk with another ex. We must have been pretty far gone and the beer must have been crap as we all ended up having a Baileys. It looks like it's offices now.

The Brookwood, Brookwood
Back at the top of Wych Hill there's The Star. I only went here once to check it out after it had been refurbished. Sadly refurbished meant no carpets or anything else that might deaden the sound making it too damn noisy. I never returned and now it looks like I never will.

The Star

Lastly there's place that was much more bar than pub, another of those horrible keg only, bare floorboard buildings that are best avoided by discerning drinkers. It traded under a number of names, but was called Mojos when it finally lost it's mojo and closed for good.

It's not all been closures though, I can remember when the Wetherspoons was a Woolworths and two other pubs have opened in the town centre and are still running. Still a big net loss, and though some were awful others were perfectly decent pubs.


  1. I lived in Byfleet for four years in the early 80s and so remember some of these, although tbh I seldom visited Woking pubs as most of them were pretty dull.

    I certainly recall when the College Arms, which was then a Bass pub, was knocked through in about 1983, and doing an interview for the local CAMRA magazine with the licensee, who was obviously a full-on alcoholic who had a bad case of the shakes at lunchtime opening time.

    1. Mostly Woking pubs still are pretty dull, though thankfully The Crown in Horsell is good. I've hardly ever drunk in Byfleet, thought The Claremont in West Byfleet was my local for many years, and it was there I had the finest pint I've ever drunk.

    2. It was the late lamented Ind Coope Burton Ale. There was a night when it was absolutely magic, and I've never had anything to match it since.

    3. Two more to add to your list,The prince of Wales in St johns and the The Queens Head in Knaphill.Both proper pubs but sadly not of these times

    4. Thanks, I never went to either of those.

  2. I see the Claremont is still going but now called the Catherine of Aragon. It was the Byfleet Hotel when I lived there, and was a rare survivor of the lounge-saloon-public layout.

    The pubs in Byfleet weren't much cop either, although the Queen's Headf, which I lived almost opposite, was a decent enough local.

    I remember a very unspoilt old pub on the edge of Horsell that was a short way up an unmade track - does that ring any bells?

    1. That would be The Cricketers you're thinking of. Lovely looking pub but seems to mainly cater for familys having meals.

      Sadly the West Byfleet Hotel/Claremont got knocked through into a big open space and themed as a keg only Mr Q's Pool bar. Haven't been to the latest incarnation so don't know what it's like.

      The Queen's Head is highly rated as a real ale pub now. Or at least it was when I was last out that way, but come to think of it this is going back a few years...

  3. Great article, Ed. I don't suppose I could use it in the News & Ale, the local CAMRA rag around here? It's on the CAMRA Surrey web site where you will also find my official email address. Thanks, John