Cameron’s in the 80s; Part 2

Some more rambling recollections of Cameron’s, Hartlepool in the mid 80s.

By the time I arrived the great days of steel making, and hence prodigious vertical end-of-shift drinking, were gone. Although my last blog talked about a couple of very high volume businesses, many pubs (and particularly clubs) were already becoming a shadow of their former selves.

The Golden Flatts, below, used to stand at the entrance to the steelworks, but was already bleakly isolated. A retail park would eventually “flourish” , but sadly too late  for the pub.

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More positively, this photo shows the offices of Cameron Brewing, Greenbank, next to the brewery itself.

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Greenbank had been the private house of the original Colonel Cameron, who came to Hartlepool in 1865 to run William Waldon’s brewery. The colonel bought the brewery in the 1890s and built the house.

I believe it is now the offices of Hartlepool Housing.

The two pubs closest to the brewery were ( and I think still are ) the Causeway and the Blacksmiths.

The former was a classic Victorian collection of small rooms, rare for Hartlepool in that it sold the cask version of Strongarm ( the brewery’s flagship beer, a ruby bitter now at 4% ABV but then slightly stronger at 4.2%; thanks to Mudgie for reminding me). I remember well taking the short walk from Greenbank on freezing winter lunchtimes, hankering for a warm fire and equally warming pint.

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For functional food the Blacksmiths was the safe bet.

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The majority of the Hartlepool pubs would have only Strongarm and Hansa lager on draught, via metered pumps. Some had Cameron’s Bitter as an alternative, although in truth this was really a beer for the Yorkshire estate.

There was also a beer called Crown, keg only and predominantly sold in Hartlepool itself   rather than Teesside more broadly. This was a golden ale, nowhere near as malty as Strongarm but with a hint of bitterness to balance the slight sweetness ( from memory ). I cannot find any images of this product, either as Crown Ale or as Cameron’s Crown in its rebranded form, whereby we tried to give it a livelier  image to appeal to those younger drinkers who regarded Strongarm as “dad’s pint” but would not drink our lager, Hansa, swearing instead by Heineken which was the big local competitor.

In keg pubs Crown was my beer of choice;unfortunately it seems to have vanished forever.

A few more images;

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Back to pub food, and if a more formal meal was needed, or a visitor being entertained , a short drive to The Traveller’s Rest, Cameron Inns’ most food oriented local managed house, was in order.

The Travellers then & now;

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Finally for today, and nostalgically if not always fondly, a picture of the Staincliffe Hotel in the neighbouring seaside village of Seaton Carew, a large free trade account and venues for my (first) wedding reception. Brings back the memories of waking on the morning of April 8th to snow on the ground….

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Till next time……

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5 thoughts on “Cameron’s in the 80s; Part 2

  1. The 1985 Good Beer Guide lists Strongarm at 1042 OG, so I very much doubt if it was ever 5%. Remember that, back then, anything over 4% was considered “strong”. Brain’s SA was dubbed “Skull Attack”.

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  2. Very interesting!

    Despite being a Martsons pub these days, the Causeway at Stranton still serves a fine pint of Strongarm, banked from the fridge with a Hartlepool head.

    Here in Durham we still often get comments of beer over 4% being too strong…

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    1. In that case you may find my next post about the story of Crown Ale of some interest. The Hartlepool visitor Centre have been very helpful in supplying images.
      Many thanks for your comments.

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      1. I’ll certainly look forward to it!

        I’ve never been to the visitor’s centre actually. Might have to change that at some point soon.

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