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The ‘snob screens’ in London pubs that used to cover posh drinkers from commoners – and the place you possibly can nonetheless discover them right now


Nowadays you will be laborious pressed to search out anybody who enjoys a drink that would not let you know they love the Great British pub. Central London is completely chock stuffed with all types of nice watering holes and everybody from any stroll of life can take pleasure in a chilly pint and possibly even a chew to eat at whichever they select.

But in centuries previous, this wasn’t all the time the case. In the Victorian period of morality and restraint consuming and public drunkenness was seen as a blight on society, with pubs the culprits perpetuating this blight. This made public homes, dominated by the working courses, one thing of a taboo for wealthier higher and center class people.

As a results of this, the actually rich higher courses drank privately at residence, or at their personal golf equipment however the answer for the center courses was a bit of totally different. They wished to have the ability to go to pubs with out feeling the disgrace or embarrassment of blending with what they noticed because the widespread rabble, so pubs started creating separate sections, a public bar the place the same old punters may stand and drink in a crowd, and a personal saloon bar reserved for the center courses the place they may sit and drink.

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The Prince Alfred in Maida Vale has some very nicely preserved snob screens

Even this bodily separation wasn’t fairly sufficient although, with posh drinkers not liking that they may nonetheless be seen by drinkers the opposite facet of the bar. This is the place an odd gadget referred to as the ‘snob display’ was launched in numerous pubs. It was primarily a row of frosted glass screens that in some circumstances might be opened and closed.

Placed on high of the bar at round eye degree, the thought behind it was pretty easy, they might block the identification of posh drinkers from being seen or addressed by these not within the personal saloon bar, and when one in every of these posh drinkers wished to order, they may open the window to ask the bartender, earlier than closing the display once more.

Some of one of the best examples you possibly can nonetheless discover of this right now are in The Lamb pub in Bloomsbury, The Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich, The Prince Alfred in Maida Vale, and The Princess Louise in Holborn, all of which retain their now comparatively uncommon snob screens in some type.

I believe it is truthful to say that it is for one of the best that this specific pub development died out.

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