Main Index

  » Search This Site

  » Submit Pub

  » Contact Us

  » Support This Site


Share |

Home > Hampshire > Southampton > Bay Tree

Bay Tree

Date of photo: 1984

Picture source: Barry Roberts


The Bay Tree was situated in New Road and must have closed in the late 90s or early 2000s and was a well-regarded real ale pub. It was later known as The Sorcerer and then The Graduate but has now been converted into flats.
Source: Gary Reggae
This was a rare Gale's outlet (one of only two) in the 1970s. This had ceased to be a traditional pub by the late 1970s.
Bob Steel (June 2011)
I moved from 'up north' to Sot'on back in 1968 at the time Whitbreads and Watleys were taking over and then closing many old breweries, I could not drink their Watleys Starlight or Whitbreads Tankard bland brews so I drank Lager for a few years, I then I discovered The Bay Tree, and Gales ales and did not look back, I recall there was a fair few times when the express trains from London were at peak travelling times in the late afternoons for some reason forced to make a unplanned for stop on the lines behind the pub, so the then landlord whipped up a publicity stunt by asking the railway bosses "if you could build in a planned 5 minute stopped by the pub so commutThis pub was just by the city centre parks and they had some terrific local and well known national bands appearing there, which packed the place out. On a warm summer evening they had to open the large windows at the front so you'd always get a few free shows from time to time. A young Terry Rolph of Avenue Artistes used to live at this family pub and this influenced his future years as a booker/agent along with Len Canham and Bob James".
Southern Hampshire CAMRA held its first meeting in 1974 at the Bay Tree. Not listed in Later CAMRA guides the 1978 one says "A plain city-centre pub near the College of Technology. 10 New Road. It was a Gales pub. (now sadly closed & converted to flats).
The 'Bay Tree' was the home of the Fo'c'sle Club, with John Paddy Browne acting as Master of Ceremonies. The first meeting was held in the Bay Tree Inn in New Road on Friday May 10, 1963. The artists appearing included Bob Davenport and The Balladeers. John Paddy Browne recalls: "John and I discussed having a proper opening ceremony, but before this could be decided, I had to go down to the railway station to collect Bob Davenport.
"Bob and I stopped off at a cafe for a meal before the show, but my watch stopped and we were late back to The Bay Tree. We arrived to find The Balladeers in full swing. If there had been an opening ceremony, we'd missed it."
From that night on, Friday Fo'c'sle nights alternated between informal sessions featuring local musicians and singers, and guest nights when top folk artists appeared. Among the early guests were Sydney Carter, Cyril Tawney and Alex Campbell. A high standard of music became synonymous with Bay Tree sessions. Strictly speaking, the club's crowd limit was around 50, but at least double that number usually crammed in.
The local police and Fire authorities all enjoyed their official visits so much that they turned a blind eye to the over-crowding and the possibility of the room collapsing into the public bar below. MacColl, in his autobiography, recalls the place being so packed that there wasn't enough oxygen for him to light a match. 
The Fo'c'sle had to look for another venue in 1965 when new licensees with no interest in folk music moved into The Bay Tree.
Another anecdote I've heard is that Rod Stewart!  known as 'Rod the Mod' in his early days, was very well known for his excesses whenever he travelled down from London and tore the audiences apart with his amazing voice, attitude and stage presence. It seems that Rod played at the Bay Tree Inn and got drunk before trying to run some guy over as he commandeered a car - the chap had apparently heckled him onstage!
I remember an afternoon when I worked for Southampton City Council and I was drinking in the 'Bay Tree' with Eddie Reed (God rest his soul), Mayor of Southampton , who 'infamously' was held responsible for closing the bird aviary in the parks. Anyway the wall at the top of the stairs was absolutely covered in autographs by many, many jazz music greats and not a few from Folk. It was painted over by the new, caring, Landlord who looked not unlike Mick Fleetwood (drummer Fleetwood Mac) who on this occasion told me that Jimi Hendrix had signed his name when he played in the pub. I'm sure that the number of venues that Hendrix is supposed to have played in is probably greater than the places Henry the 8th slept in.
In the 1990's The landlords name was Fred Gilante and he bred Chihuahuas. Fred weighed about 25 stones and was quite a character. 
ers could have a swift pint in the pub", it did not happen off course but it got the pub a fair few inches of newspaper write ups, great pub in its heyday.
Barry Taylor (July 2011)
The Bay Tree was my local when I was a student at Southampton University from 1979 to 1982. At that time it was still a very traditional pub serving Gales ales. The landlord was called Fred and there was a regular barman called Dennis who was a great guy. I don't know when it closed. It was still around for a year or two at least after I left, but its closure was a big loss. It was one of three Gales pubs in the city, along with the Masons on St. Mary's Road and a pub whose name I forget that was on (I think) Portswood Road.
S Rushall (January 2012)
I can remember that The Moody Blues used to play in there regularly in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
Jane Clarke (February 2013)
The Bay Tree in Southampton was a favourite hang out during my student days: 1973 - 1976. The beer (Gales)  was not only excellent and well kept (rare in those days) but also cheap.  I seem to recall paying as little as 11p for a pint of mild, with HSB (~13p?)  afforded only on special occasions and the Winter Brew much enjoyed when in season and with a distinctive flavour of bananas. At that time the pub itself was splendidly basic, hosting an eclectic mix of students, dockers, truckers and some friendly ladies from nearby Derby Road. I don't recall Rod Stewart playing there but I might do the next time I have a few pints of HSB.
Jerry Chessell (February 2014)
I moved from 'up north' to Sot'on back in 1968 at the time Whitbreads and Watleys were taking over and then closing many old breweries, I could not drink their Watleys Starlight or Whitbreads Tankard bland brews so I drank Lager for a few years, I then I discovered The Bay Tree, and Gales ales and did not look back, I recall there was a fair few times when the express trains from London were at peak travelling times in the late afternoons for some reason forced to make a unplanned for stop on the lines behind the pub, so the then landlord whipped up a publicity stunt by asking the railway bosses "if you could build in a planned 5 minute stopped by the pub so commuters could have a swift pint in the pub", it did not happen off course but it got the pub a fair few inches of newspaper write ups, great pub in its heyday.
Bob Berwick (April 2014)

Do you have any anecdotes, historical information or photographs of this pub? Become a contributor and submit them here.
Like this site? Recommend us via the social networking share button on the left hand side of the page, or follow us on or
Were you a customer, publican or member of staff at this pub? Add your email contact details here and let past regulars get in touch.
 
Other Photos

Picture source: Bob Bates

Picture source: Barry Taylor

Picture source: Brian Living

Picture source: Brian Living