On the Trail of a Lost Angel.

Decisions, decisions! Thermal longs? Non-thermal longs? Three-quarters? Definitely not shorts though. Overshoes or no overshoes? And what gloves? I hate being too cold. I hate being too hot. Freezing on the shady descents, sweating buckets on the sunny climbs. Spring seems to have returned throwing up all those questions. And what bike? The roads are dry and pretty free from salt and grit. Time to get out the summer bike?


In the end I plumped for VooDoo, the trusty gravel bike. With large bag attached I could carry enough mix-and-match clothing to cope with my thermoregulatory needs and I could fit in a proper camera to boot and not have to rely on the phone. I was off to get some shots of Bakewell's former Angel Inn.


The precise location of this bygone boozer had had me puzzled for a while. I knew that it used to exist in Water Street but had no idea as to exactly where. No street numbers on census entries, no PH, BH or Inn labels on old Ordnance Survey maps, no clues at all. But then I came across the Bakewell Conservation Area Appraisal, in which paragraph 4.16 informs us that '...the building at the south-east corner of Water Street was formerly the Angel Inn.' Sorted!


And so it was that I found myself bowling along the A6 towards Bakewell and on arrival turning into Granby Street where I narrowly avoided running into Andy who was blindly crossing the road. I must be getting fitter for a month or so ago he'd have heard my gasping from several hundred yards away.


After a good fifteen minutes of saying how we were both looking forward to getting back to the Duke of York and discussing the likely outcomes of the coming afternoon's Six Nations rugby he felt that he'd better hunt down his spouse who, despite the fact that virtually all of the shops were shut, would probably still be spending too much money.


I leant VooDoo against the wall of the former police station...




VooDoo in the care of the boys in blue

and turned the corner into...




With the former constabulary building being on its south-west corner, across the road stood the elusive former Angel Inn.


The building at the south-east corner of Water Street, the former Angel Inn.

So that's the old Angel's location established, but what of its history? The earliest record that I can find is that the 1861 census records a Charles Gregory being a beerhouse keeper at the Angel Inn in Water Street. Charles was listed as living in the same street a decade earlier but there was nothing to indicate that he was running a boozer, or that there even was one in Water Street at the time. Earlier trade directories have no mention of the place either. Charles also happened to be the registrar of births, marriages and deaths so perhaps he would drum up celebratory trade whilst folk were giving him details of their significant life events.


The final reference to it as a pub I've come across was in 1901 when Henry Broomhead was shown to be Water Street's beer retailer. He seems to have emigrated to New Zealand at some point and perhaps that's when the Angel shut up shop.


The building which used to house the Angel now houses, amongst other things, a gin-selling cheese shop. There is a boutique hotel in the block, although a look at the old Ordnance Survey maps of the town suggests that this was not part of the Angel, being constructed between 1879 and 1898, but perhaps some of their rooms and suites are to be found in the upper floors of the old inn.



Mission accomplished, photos taken, it's time to pedal on. Out past the former Station Inn at Hassop, round to Ashford-in-the-Water passing its cricket ground – the scene of another short boundary, expensive over experience – on my way back to the A6 and a retrace of my outward journey.


All in all a good morning. A bit of unexpected social interaction, a bygone boozer snapped and three separate fifteen minute, near-race-effort intervals with no signs of any tachycardic events. It's just a shame about the rest of the day. Having a pair of great-great grandparents from Armagh did nothing to make the result in Dublin any easier to take and the honorary Welshman status that has been granted to me offered no cheer in Paris either. Just as well that Jenny had brought some of her Aldwark brews to my doorstep on Friday.



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