On the walls in the bar of the Duke of York hang several framed collections of black-and-white photos of locals enjoying themselves in the past. Next to the dart board, to the left of the massive fireplace capped with its brace of ancient shotguns, the collage comes from the 1950s perhaps: flat caps and pipes for the seniors, the young with a hint of Brylcreem in the hair, most men in a tie, a handful of women on their own table; meanwhile well polished cups and trophies are handed out, possibly by the licensees of the time. Elsewhere, on another wall, there’s a fading sepia-tinted photo from 1911 that shows a column of men in suits, battered bowlers and starched white collars, some hands in pockets, others with their hands swinging purposefully as they take part in the Iddesleigh Club Walk (something that continues annually to this day) — three years later a line of men like this would be khaki clad and marching off to war (you can’t help but see the dreadful progression). Pubs are for people and these framed photos depict those that enjoyed the Duke of York in the past and in a fanciful moment you imagine that by some miraculous transformation their voices, laughter and songs are ingrained in the very fabric of this old assemblage of four cottages that was originally constructed for the masons who built the neighbouring church in the Middle Ages.
(Oh and the King’s Head in Laxfield gets my vote in tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph, but you can read it here)
|The men of Iddesleigh marching as if off to war|