Passing through the Gornals by car is always a challenge. All those pubs. All that beer. Packed into those few miles of Upper Gornal, Lower Gornal and Gornal Wood. I’d shut my eyes if I could, so not to be tempted by this little bit of beer heaven, but that’s not advisable when in charge of four wheels.
I’ve frequented most, if not all, of these fine drinking establishments over the years. I grew up not far away. Just the other side of Sedgley, where the Beacon Hotel taught me the ropes in real ale appreciation. But, too often now, I’m driving back and forth past them on the way to visiting the family. It’s like some form of penance. Though I’m not sure what I did wrong. Maybe it was that time I was forced to have a half of Carling?
So this weekend, passing through beer heaven on my way to Merry Hell (Hill) and lucky enough to be a passenger, I decided I needed to absolve my sins and ask for forgiveness. And where better, than a pub with two important attributes: divine inspiration and bloody bostin beer!
The Chapel House is a well known pub in Lower Gornal which reopened, under new management, on Friday 26 August 2016. Locals have always known it as The Chapel House, although it’s name was officially changed to The Miner’s Arms in 1882! Thankfully it was changed back to The Chapel House a few years ago. About time eh?!
The name came from the fact that, from 1820, a group of local Methodists, known as the Gornal Ranters, were allowed to use the back room of the pub for their meetings. Lucky Methodists, I say. I wonder what the Gornalites were supping back then in 1820? It wor ower bostin Holden’s, as compared to The Chapel House they’m youngsters at only 101-years-old. Edwin Alfred Holden wor born until 1875.
When I see a sight like Golden Glow (Holden’s) I do come over a little bit religious. It’s a glorious sight ain’t it? Pure Black Country born and brewed. A bit like me really.
A beer like that is best enjoyed in a proper Black Country pub. When you know the quality of your beer (well it is Holden’s) you can only hope that the quality of the pub lives up to the ale.
Anyway there wor no ranting to be had in this pub, only a very friendly welcome from Katie and James – the bostin wench and chap now in charge of our absolution and forgiveness. Many of you fellow Black Country folk may recognise them from their other endeavours. All I can say is anyone involved in putting on a fine time such as Dudley Beer Festival is well placed to be in charge of pouring us an ale.
They even help them strange non Black Country folk understand what we’m saying like. Or meybe not!
The Chapel House is a bostin Black Country pub. On this visit I didn’t venture outside so I borrowed these three pictures from Holden’s (I hope they forgive me).
I’m looking forward to my next visit. I drained this Golden Glow far too quickly and I couldn’t stay any longer due to my impending visit to Hell.
If I survive the Merry flames of Hell I’ll be back for more and next time I’ll bring my Black Country Pub crew. We’re planning a Gornal crawl and I’m sure our souls will need saving at some point during the evening.
And finally, James, me ma says yow dow arf mek a bostin cup of tay!
I feel a song coming on….