The History of Pubs in the UK
Alcohol has been part of British culture for hundreds of years. Pubs (or public houses) began to appear along side the Roman road network as it spread across the country, although back then they were all known as Taverns.
When the Romans left Britain the Taverns remained, and by the fourteenth century they were resembling the Pubs and Inns we know today, with individual names and accommodation facilities. The emergence of Pubs in Britain was helped in large part by monasteries and abbeys who brewed their own beer to sell to travelling pilgrims.
Pubs predominantly sold beer and ale right up to the eighteenth century when the famous ‘Gin Craze’ overwhelmed the country. During this time it was common for poorer people to buy rags soaked in gin to suck on !
Pubs became gradually more controlled as licensing was introduced, and in 1914 the Defence of the Realm Act put a curfew of 11pm on the sale of alcohol. Local councils took control of Public House licensing in 2003.
Some interesting facts about Pubs in the UK
- There are approximately 50,000 pubs in the UK
- The British pub industry employs around 600,000 people
- Over 15 million people drink in Pubs every week
- UK Pubs serve over a billion meals per year
- The most popular pub names in the UK (depending on the source) are ‘The Red Lion’ and 'The Crown'