The Barley Mow
“Barley Mow” is one of the recurring pub names in England, reflecting a strong local connection with agriculture and, of course, with brewing! This particular Barley Mow first applied for a licence in 1742, but was turned down. That may have had something to do with the close proximity of St Edmund’s Church (now Salisbury Arts Centre) or it may have been simply a wish to check the proliferation of drinking establishments in the city – an old saying is that “Salisbury is a City of pigs, pubs and parsons!”
By the 1780’s the problem had been solved and the Barley Mow became very much the Greencroft pub for the next 220 years. Apart from the fact that Greencroft Street and its neighbours could fairly be described as “teeming” with thirsty humanity, there were regular “fun and games” events on the Greencroft itself – Bonfire nights, New Year’s Eve, Coronation celebrations etc etc. All of these involved crowds, bonfires, fireworks, fancy dressing, sometimes bands – and the pub played its full part.
As Ken Edwards (born on Greencroft Street in 1944) remembers “The Barley Mow used to be a sort of hub of the street…On New Years Eve everybody at 12 o’clock, would pour out of the Barley Mow and out of their houses and all the way down the street and everybody sang “Auld Lang Syne” in the street and wished everybody a happy new year in the street, as we did on other occasions”.
The pub, like many of its type, also provided a more routine daily service which was of great benefit to the less mobile in local society: “…They had a thing in the Barley Mow pub, which I recall. There was an alley way down the side of the pub and it was called the “Jug and Bottle”. One day I went with my Uncle Len…and I remember there was a little hallway and it was quite dark and the man in the pub looked over the top of this shelf and said something to my Uncle Len and my Uncle Len said he wanted some stout…and he put the jug on top…and it came back…..and there was this jug …..full up with something and there was froth on the top and he said “Now I want you to hold this very tight and….take that back to Gran”. Well I felt like the cat’s whiskers!” (Michael Winterman, a child on Greencroft Street in the 1940s).
Sad to relate, the “Barley” has now fallen victim to the wave of destruction which is sweeping through our “locals” and has been converted into a block of flats. Its exterior, however, remains intact – apart of course from the sign!
Transcript: Sound clip of Ken Edwards talking about the Barley Mow
The Barley Mow used to be a, a sort of hub of the street, at the top of the street because between the Barley Mow and the Methodist Church as it is now was the timber company which was quite a big, a big place, you didn’t have any houses there you just had the timber company and like on New Year’s Eve everybody at 12 o’clock would pour out of the Barley Mow and out of their houses and all the way down the street and everybody sing Lang Syne in the street and wish everybody a happy new year in the street as we did on other occasions.