Social History
Drinking in Britain has always been part of our culture from earliest times. Some of our sayings evolve from drinking practices e.g. "to take someone down a peg or two". This originates from 975 when King Edgar decreed that drinking vessels in alehouses be of a standard size i.e. the "pottle" (which was four pints) and that each pottle should be sub-divided into eight parts by means of pegs set inside the tankard. No-one was to drink down further than one peg at a sitting. This naturally was seen as a challenge to try and drink more than one peg's worth - hence " to take each other down a peg or two".

Our social history of the Crick pubs covers only what we have learnt through interviews and how it has evolved over the last sixty years. One of the most surprising facts to surface is that it is only recently (within the last thirty years ) that the pubs have been able to support a family. Normally the wife would run the pub while the husband would have a job elsewhere.

For example,George Fox's father, who ran the Shoulder of Mutton , also shod horses , particularly the barge horses. While the boats were manually pushed through the Crick Tunnel; the horses were disconnected and walked up Boat Horse Lane to the forge. They were shod and then led up Watford Road to meet the boat at the other end of the tunnel.

The licence for the hostelries were in the husband's name. This was the legal requirement.

Another interesting fact is the decrease in the number of pubs from seven to four in the last seventy years. This may explain why each of the working pubs of today can now support a family (excluding the Crick Club which is run by a committee.)

The pubs played a very central role in the social life of the village not only through
pub games but also through music. Each pub had a piano and turns were taken to play while everyone sang songs,the most popular ones being those from World WarII. The Royal Oak was the place to be of a Sunday night and you would have to arrive early to get a seat.

The advent of World War II changed the attitude of women being allowed into the pubs. Up until then, the pubs had been a male domain. Residents of Crick, who we interviewed, recall that women did not go in to pubs unless they were the actual landlady or wished to get a reputation as a "loose " woman. During the war, women were allowed into the pubs where they drank sherry or port and lemon. When this became unavailable, due to war shortages, they then drank beer.

After the War ,when petrol rationing was eased, Crick was apparently the place to be. It was just far enough out of town for people to come out and use their petrol rationing. The children would play outside and young personable ladies were brought out by their parents. Up to then it was only local people using the pubs as people did not travel for a drink.

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