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Home > Warwickshire > Birmingham > B11 > The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope was situated on Stratford Road. This grade-II listed pub opened in 1924 and is now used as an Asian restaurant.
Source: Philip Charlton
I had just turned 20 when I stepped off the train from London. Confident in my youth but I was feeling like a stranger in the world that was Birmingham August 1974.
I took a room in a boarding house run by a Mrs Brennan. It was in a side street off Stratford Road and 3 minutes walk to The Antelope.
After settling in at Mrs Brennan’s and being shown the domestic facilities we were paying for I was ready for a beer. I had seen the Antelope when I alighted from the bus on Stratford Road at a stop nearby. It was to The Antelope I headed to get a pint of local beer. ‘Mitchell’s and Butlers’ if I recall. Perhaps Mild was the brew. Not heard of it before. Never heard of ‘Mitchell’s and Butlers’ either.
You see my beer tastes were developed far from the Antelope. Far from Birmingham. In fact far away from the UK. I live on the other side of the world from the Antelope. The beers in New Zealand were a great introduction to awful beer in my teens. It was not until I travelled the Lucky Country and drank Australia’s finest did I learn to appreciate just how satisfying an ice cold Ozzie lager can be. And how powerful its alcohol content. And how hot the midday sun is and I could go on.
In January 1974 I emigrated from green New Zealand to sunny Australia to a dark, cold and foreboding Midlands winter. Looking for work, looking for friends, looking for something to keep out the cold I often drank at the Antelope in Stratford Road.
It was usually full of rough talking Irish. Mostly labourers spending the ‘casual’ wages on Guinness and a laugh with mates. I remember there were a few slick dressed fellows who appeared to be ‘Guv’ They always seemed to have a mob around them.
Ordering a beer was fun. I did not know the brands nor the different types on tap. My accent must have been novel to those I spoke. Best New Zealand English made harsh from 9 months working and touring Australia. But the ‘Brummy’ accent was to me a delight and I caught on to it quickly. Of course in the Antelope the accent was nearly all Irish. North and South. Again there were times the comms got patchy.
More on the Antelope. The patrons there quickly turned me away from the M&B stuff on to GUINNESS. I had not seen Guinness in New Zealand. Nor in Australia. But here it was in the Antelope. I soon developed a taste for it and more of my pay went over the bar. Fun times. Good times. They always are when you look back on life at that age.
My last drink in the Antelope was the day before the bombs went of in the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town if I remember rightly. Those bombs were a shock to the people of Birmingham. The Irish ditch digger I worked for was too scared to go out to work. Things were tense. The Antelope did not open the next day. Sadly these events caused me to leave Birmingham and the Antelope behind. That time now existing only in the memory of an old man.
Duncan McKee (September 2021)

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