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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Beer Mats

Another blogger (the multi-talented Yorkshire Pudding) posted about a beer mat he had designed for his daughter’s recent wedding. One commentator said her grandfather collected beer mats but she thought that “In England they don’t seem much of a feature.”

Well, Ursula, my group of friends collected them in our youth. I stuck mine on the wall of a room above the garage at my parents’ house. This is part of a black and white photograph taken in 1970:

Beer mats 1960s and 1970s
Most are English but a few came from exchange trips to Belgium (where you could drink alcohol in cafés at sixteen). I can make out the following:

Belgian mats: Maes Pils, Cristal Alken, Pela, Siréne, Barze, juni vakantie maand, Orval, Gereons Kölsch, Kess Kölsch, Diekirk, Falken, Sester. I can’t make out the mat with the bell which appears across the top and several times lower down, nor the one with the black horse – it isn’t “Black Horse”.  

English mats: HB (Hull Brewery), Brewmaster Export Pale Ale, Whitbread Tankard, Whitbread Forest Brown, Tetley, Flowers Keg Bitter, Bass Export Ale, Have a mild Van Dyck cigar with your Bass Blue Triangle, Brown Peter for Strength, Strongbow Cider, Woodpecker Cider, Barnsley Bitter, Alpine Lager, Whitbread Trophy Bitter, Whitbread Pale Ale, Calypso, Youngers Tartan, Duttons Pale.

And among my box of colour slides and black and white negatives were these slightly later beer mats. Commodore Pudding will surely be delighted to see the one from The Travellers Rest at Long Riston, just three miles from his childhood village. Can’t remember my visit to the establishment though.
  Beer Mat - the Travellers Rest, Long Riston, Hull Brewery 1970s

Hull brewery beer mat 1970s

Beer mat - Tetley Bitter 1970s

Beer mat - John Courage 1970s

Beer mat - Whitbread Trophy 1970s
Beer mat - Hull Brewery 1970s

13 comments:

  1. I always thought that beer mats were a good collectible because they're small and don't collectively take up a huge amount of space. And they are still around and available to collect, unlike (say) matchbook covers which also used to be very popular.

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    1. If it's collectible it's collected. My beer mat collection was probably more down to an immature self-image than a genuine interest. Most of them were stuck on the walls as in the picture and would have stayed there when my parents moved. It's hereditary - my daughter has covered her wardrobe inside and out with train tickets.

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  2. Are you sure the Kölsch ones aren't actually German? (Kölsch is, after all, a German type of beer.)
    My late husband - a Yorkshire lad originally from the Barnsley area - loved not the small beer mats, but the ones like towels that you find on the counters of pubs. He nicked more than a few during his student days (and after).

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    1. They probably are German - it must have been sold in Belgium. Pinching pub counter towels needed a bit of nerve.

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    2. Kidnapping a smart young German lass and marrying her took even more nerve!

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    3. They have a lot of nerve in Barnsley. You need it to drink Barnsley Bitter.

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  3. The beer mats made for an excellent wall paper, I see!

    I'm digging the mat the reminds folk not to drink and drive. Just looking at it makes me feel a bit woozy.

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    1. You'd have to go to a lot of pubs to wallpaper a whole room. The drink drive warning is on the back of the Whitbread Trophy Big Head mat. They are all paired front and back except the last one which is blank on the back.

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  4. That's quite the collection you had, and still have on film.Probably best for your gizzard it was mostly a schoolboy hobby.

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    1. Not that many really. It's just by chance they were in the background of a photograph of something else. I scanned and enlarged that part of the negative.

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  5. What a delightful post! Many is the time that I have rested pints on those Tetley "Join 'Em" beermats. I wonder why you could not remember your trip to the pub in Long Riston? Were you really pissed up...again?

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    1. Probably. We went for a good laugh at the local yokels.

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    2. I was a yokel. We liked to give lads from The West Riding a good kicking.

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