ROBERT HEAVEN looks back at the lost pubs of Cirencester

LIKE other notable Ciren pubs in recent years; the close of the Waggon and Horses on London Road, is a sad ending; least of all for the ending of the social centres they provided for local streets that surrounded them.

In my life time, we’ve lost many pubs including the Oddfellows; the Forrester’s; Queens Head and the Woodbine at Chesterton.

In the Gloucester Street area the Royal Oak and the White Lion pubs have vanished.

The Nelson, where I used to be a member of the Boxing club, is still open but under threat of conversion to six houses.

At one time there were 10 pubs in this area - soon there will be none.

Smoking laws, high rents and rates: Whatever it is; the loss is far more than they revenue they once generated.

Each one of the lost pubs supported a thriving social scene and a network of clubs and teams: darts, skittles, dominos to name a few.

I can remember when everyone I knew in Ciren was a member of one or more teams or clubs that were associated with a pub.

Pubs weren’t just for drinking beer; they raised a lot of money for charity with events such as pouring custard over the landlord of the Marlborough Arms (still open), and sponsoring floats in the Ciren Carnival each year to raise money for Cirencester Hospitals.

Where have all these activities, sports and teams devolved to?

The Forresters Arms in Queen Street (closed 2003), was one of many popular social hubs in Ciren.

It had a fine billiards room with six burning lights over each table and was the H.Q of the Watermoor branch of the Unionist Club.

For many years the R.A.O.B.(Buffs) had a Lodge every Monday night.

The Forrester was a popular venue for wedding receptions and many a bride was toasted as it said in the pub’s etched glass windows, with “Beer drawn from the Wood”.