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A Global Issue.

Updated: Mar 1

Yet another Ma Outlaw's birthday, so it was down to Somerset once more. Now, much as I like the Outlaws it does me good to get out of the house for a bit every now and then. Just for a little fresh air, you understand. In the past that usually invoved a bike, but more recent trips down the M5 have been bikeless so I resorted to Shanks's pony to look into a global issue.

It was a sunny, albeit fresh, afternoon when I took a walk up Fisher's Hill in the Armoury area of Glastonbury. Situated on the corner of Abbey Park Walk is the Globe Inn. Whilst I have never had a drink in the place it was the regular watering hole of a good friend and his mates when they visited Glastonbury on tour with their rugby club. He distinctly remembers drinking in a pub with a skittle alley called the Globe, in a town where there was a thing atop a green hill, but he couldn't remember the name of the town. I've been on a tour like that!

The earliest specific reference to the Globe that I've managed to find is 1881 when one William Kilminster was the innkeeper. If it was in existence prior to that it doesn't feature in any trade directories that I have access to. Over the last decade it seems to have been closed more often than open.

The Globe Inn from the days when its door was open. © 2012 Bill Nicholls

In recent times its gable end has been used as a canvas by various graffiti artists.

May 2015 © Google 2020

September 2016 © Google 2020

Whilst these earlier efforts were probably unofficial and limited in height by the necessity of being able to leg it if anyone approached, the gable is now fully adorned with a mural by the Canadian artist Oksana Gaidasheva which forms part of the Glastonbury Mural Trail.

December 2019

Having been shut for a while The Globe sold in March 2017 for £275,000 and as I type, without reopening, it's once more on the market where it "offers an exciting opportunity either to develop the property for a pub/restaurant type use or may offer scope for a variety of alternative uses..." It's the last few words that seem to depress me.

The Glastonbury Globe isn't the only orb in the area that's lost. There's another gone globe.

When I was training regularly - it does seem a long time ago now - I frequently did a circuit that I referred to as the WWW loop, passing as it did through Westhay, Wedmore and Wells. I'd ridden it numerous times before I noticed that on the 1886 Ordnance Map was marked a Globe Inn. It was shown close to where Allermoor and North Chine Droves meet Blakeway, the B3151, a couple of miles south of Wedmore.

The census of 1881 gives John Stevens as an innkeeper in Blakeway and twenty years earlier he's shown there as a beer retailer. Moving on to 1911 and the Globe Inn is mentioned by name in the census with William Hardwick as the innkeeper. Three years later he's described as a beer retailer in the Kelly's Directory of the time. It's highly likely that he's still at the Globe but no establishment is named. In fact the 1911 census is the latest date I've found where the pub is referred to by name. Various Kelly's Directories of the 1930s list beer retailers at Blakeway, but were they at the Globe? It's not mentioned by name in the 1939 register either.

Edit March 2024.

I've acquired this image of the Globe in Blakeway at the time of William Hardwick. Presumably the photo shows him and his wife Louisa, along with their cat.

Quite when it disappeared I've no idea, but it had certainly gone by the 1950s when Archway Bungalow was built on the site.

Archway Bungalow in May 2015. ©2019 Google

That bungalow too has gone and in 2018 construction of a new house where the former Globe once stood had started...

Site of the former Globe Inn, Blakeway. July 2018.

...and by the end of 2019 was approaching completion.

Site of the former Globe Inn, Blakeway. Dec 2019.

Nice to see that some thought has gone into the design of a property being built in a flood risk area. Stilts are smart. Perhaps the major house builders would like to take note and do something similar with all the new properties that they are constructing on flood plains. With climate change and rising sea levels, increased frequency of flooding is a global issue of a different kind.

The picture of the Globe in 2012 is © Copyright Bill Nicholls and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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