Just like anywhere else in the World, prime pieces of real estate in England have considerable value. Hence, approximately twenty percent of the Pubs in the British Isles have been turned into something else–or are on the verge to close. Pubs, at least to me, are akin to the neighborhood bars in many of the older U. S. cities: stop off for a pint before you go home; go there to hear the latest gossip that’s going around town, a place for tourists to meet the locals or a great place to watch a ball game with friends.
The difference in England, however, is the considerable amount of history that those watering holes have witnessed. Some years ago, the “Boss” (A/K/A Wife) and I had travelled to Brighton, a seaside town and had some refreshments in a Pub that sits on the location of the original one, which was established in 1495–three years after Christopher Columbus sailed. The Old White Bear, noted in the linked article, closed recently after refreshing townsfolk for three centuries.
Traditionally, the Brewing Companies controlled most of the British Pubs. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, however, put an end to that near-monopoly, during 1980s. That vacuum was filled by large companies that bought-up a significant number of the Pubs. These “pubcos” are: taking-on considerable debt; destroying history through modification and selling them. The value of prime real estate is considerable–especially in fashionable neighborhoods–so why not cash-in, just like any real estate investor would.
To many of us in the English-Speaking World, the one word that characterizes Great Britain is History. Surely, Rome, Athens, Alexandria and Damascus are much older; but, more Tourists, at least in the U. S., visit London, Paris or other cities in Western Europe. London, by the way, was settled roughly 2,000 years ago–by the Romans.
Tourists tend to take an interest in the many interesting Pub names such, the Old White Bear (see article), the Blind Beggar Pub and my favorite, the Frog & Nightgown. The linked article is surely worth a read, http://bing/2014/02/17/business/international/saving-an-endangered-british-species-the-pub.html.