Although I lived practically opposite the pub, at 192 Maxey
Road since a baby in 1947 my drinking days only started after I joined the
army in 1964, and the pub was owned and run by John & Bridie Tully from
The best pub night was on a Saturday, when Vie the pianist
came in, and everyone would have a good old singsong. Sometimes we would
even have who we called ‘the music-man’ bring in his accordion whilst
different people sang. His favourite tune was called ‘I am the music man’.
Sometimes everyone would sing, but then you had the regular ‘solo’ slots.
Joe Ward would always sing ‘A shanty in old shantytown’ while banging the
bottom of the bar with his foot, and you could almost tell the time by
what was being sung, because it was nearly always the same every week. All
the old timers used to sing songs like ‘Daisy, Daisy’, ‘You are my
sunshine’, ‘If you were the only girl in the world’, etc., etc., and it
was all bloomin’ good fun. On one occasion, when the Duffy’s (an Irish
family who had the little shop next to the pub at the time), had family
visitors over from Ireland, they were all in the Percy drinking, and my
brother Charlie and me took a ukulele and a tin whistle in and had a bit
of a session playing Irish songs together, with them all singing along –
it was great fun. Charlie and I have lots of good memories of these times,
and Charlie was a long-time member of their darts team. I would have a
game when they were short of a player, but Charlie was really good at it,
and played at loads of local pubs in ‘away’ games.
My drink in The Percy started off as just Brown Ale,
because that’s what dad used to drink indoors, but soon went on to Red
Barrel bitter, and I have mostly stuck with bitter throughout, although
different breweries had different names for their own beers. If I drank in
the Lord Raglan, it used to be Double Diamond, but I’ve also had Courage
Tavern keg and lots of other bitters, lagers, scrumpy cider (mostly while
in the army), and the occasional whisky, rum or brandy! Sounds pretty
terrible but I wasn’t really that bad!
Previous landlords of the ‘Percy’ in my time were: George &
Midge Hawkins with a dog called Buddy, who used to eat stones, I swear we
could hear them rolling about in his belly! George was a typical old time
landlord; he used to wear a white jacket and always looked a real
professional. They were the furthest back I can remember, and then came a
man on his own, Joe Worcester, who had a northern accent (Lancashire?),
for whom I used to go to the shops at Barnfield Gardens to get his tin of
snuff when he wanted it. He had a dirty moustache, which was always caked
with snuff! Thankfully I was too young to be using the pub then, apart
from the ‘Off Sales’ bar where anyone could go to get cigarettes, crisps,
soft drinks, sweets, etc. In those days, crisps only came in one flavour –
‘crisps’, (made by Smith’s) and you would get a little twist of blue paper
inside with salt in if you wanted to use it, all you had to do was open
the twist inside your bag and then shake it. Now days they have re-created
them and called it ‘Salt’n’shake’. Next were an Irish couple called Pat &
Margaret McQuaid, with two (?) children. I was to meet Pat & Margaret
again around 1975 when I used their next pub ‘The Eagle’ in Red Lion Lane.
I believe the Percy was demolished sometime during the
early 1970’s, as my parents had moved to Eltham in 1969, and although I
came out of the army in 1971, I didn’t return to the area until around
1974 and had a big shock to find it gone!
Although my old house - and indeed the whole of the west
side of our part of old Maxey Road is still lived in, it was renamed
Congleton Villas after the rebuilding works, - all of the east side was
demolished and new flats built in place.