Gone to the Dogs.

Thursday thunder. No thanks. Friday fog. No thanks. Saturday showers. Err, no thanks. Sunday whatever, I'm going out.


Sunday morning. Get up, pull the curtains. Fog. Forecast says it'll clear. I'm going out. Sure enough, a couple of hours later and things have thinned somewhat, so with flashing lights fore and aft it's off we go.


Climbing up onto Manystones Lane and the lungs feel fine. Seems to be quite a bit less of the coughing and throat-clearing. Perhaps that newly-prescribed antimuscarinic is having an effect after all. A windhover does what its name suggests and the same moving air is turning the turbines on Carsington Pasture. It's not noticeable at the moment but at some point there's bound to be a headwind.


At the junction with the B5035 it's right, and into Godfrey Hole. A cluster of buildings, I'm not sure that it warrants the title of hamlet, Godfrey Hole takes its name from the eponymous small cavern in which a local highwayman known as Sir Godfrey reputedly used to take refuge. One of these buildings used to be a beerhouse known as the Greyhound.


The former Greyhound. Now Godfrey Hole House.

I've found no reference to it by name other than on the Wirksworth One-Place-Study website but a Thomas and then a Maria Brocklehust are given as keeping a beerhouse in Godfrey Hole in various directories. The Wirksworth site also has a description of the gable end being adorned with the names of the brews on sale . That would be before the attached garages were erected. The Greyhound has obviously gone, I've not a clue as to when, and is now in private residential use.


Dropping down into Wirksworth and I stop outside what once was the Green Man to get a shot of my next target – the former Greyhound. Yes, another one.


The left-hand red brick building used to house the Greyhound Inn.

The Greyhound, as it looked from a similar viewpoint, a century ago.

The Greyhound Inn appears in Glover's Directory of 1829 with one Thomas Stear as the innkeeper and goes on to feature in directories and censuses, with a multitude of landlords up, until the publication of the 1912 edition of Kelly. This lists Annie Endsor as the occupant and she is likely to have been its last. The Greyhound shut its doors as an inn shortly after and the building now earns its keep by being home to two retail outlets – a butcher and a picture framer.


The former Greyhound Inn. Now half butcher, half picture framer.

This bygone boozer appeared in a postcard of Wirksworth's Market Place from around 1910. There has been a bit of realignment of the roads since then but the view today is still recognisable.


The Greyhound's sign is just discernible on the left in this postcard from c1910.

The view in 2020. The bike just sneaks into shot in the corner.

On we go, through Wirksworth and fork right where the Kingsfield pub used to stand. Heading for Kirk Ireton and BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! My maximum heart rate warning is triggered. 176 beats per minute. But there'll be no need to mention this at the next cardiology outpatients clinic. It's not an unexpected tachycardic event, just the result of the effort required to get up the hill in time to snap Mrs. Bygone Boozer's approach to the village.


Mrs. Bygone Boozer on her way up to Kirk Ireton.

Into Kirk Ireton and out again. I'll be returning sometime to pinpoint the locations of a couple more bygone boozers at a later date. Could I possibly be leaving the task until after the Barley Mow has reopened its doors? I couldn't possibly comment. On along tree-lined lanes to Biggin and its ford. It's not dry, but I've seen it deeper and running much faster. Mrs. BB goes through first, advising me that it's slippery, before stopping and turning around to witness any potential comedic outcome. Needless to say I negotiate the watery obstacle without issue. It's probably just as well that the Barley Mow wasn't open.


Mrs. Bygone Boozer hoping for a comedic incident at the ford in Biggin.

Pushing on and we're soon spinning along below the dam at Carsington Water. The place is heaving. Dinghies abound on the water. Half the populations of Sheffield and Derby seem to be strolling on the dam top. A dark blue Beamer passes, almost brushing my arm. What is it with BMWs? Things certainly seem to be returning to normal.


Things aren't quite back to normal at former Greyhound number three though. In case you're wondering why there seems to be so many Greyhounds around the area it could well be that the former local landowners at Hopton Hall, the Gells, have a greyhound on the family coat of arms. Whatever the reason for the name's popularity, Greyhound number three was a puzzle for quite a while. The Lost Pub's Project's Derbyshire page suggested a lost Greyhound in Carsington. One is listed in virtually every Derbyshire directory that I have access to, but I couldn't find it. Could the Miner's Arms have changed names? Didn't seem likely, as it too appeared in the same publications. But the mystery was solved whilst digging into Wirkworth's Greyhound. Before I knew when it closed I was looking for evidence of its existence in old telephone directories. I didn't find any, but in 1973 there was a Greyhound listed with the phone number of Carsington 209. In the following year's edition the Greyhound wasn't there. Carsington 209 was there though. The number for the Knockerdown.


The Knockerdown was one of the first pubs that I drank in after arriving in Derbyshire. I was taken there for refreshment after an evening of rock climbing. A cracking little pub it was too. A map of the planned Carsington Water hung on the wall by the piano. The only font on the bar was for Woodpecker cider, the only lager was in a bottle and the Pedigree came straight from a barrel in the back room.


The former Greyhound, now the Knockerdown.

It's grown and changed a lot since then, but this former Greyhound is still with us. Many of the millions milling around the reservoir would normally be using it, along with those staying at the adjoining camping and caravan site. I'm pretty sure it will be a survivor when pubs eventually reopen. I certainly hope so.


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