The story of a man who walked into a pub, and then kept going for another 33 year and more than 20,000 pubs has been immortalised in a new documentary film, available to view for free online (and below).
Peter Hill and friends in the “Black Country Ale Tairsters” turned a pub-visiting hobby into a record breaking obsession and mission to visit as many of the UK’s pubs as possible.
Starting in 1984 with the group deciding to attempt to visit all 300 pubs featured in a Banks’s brewery guide, Pete moved on to ticking off every pub in Wales and hasn’t stopped since – making sure he has at least a pint in every pub he visits.
His impressive feat is also bitter-sweet, with more than a quarter of the 20,000 pubs he has visited closed since – and the documentary touches on the loss of vital community locals and the loss of the history and belonging they embody.
Pete said his ‘hobby’ has taken him to new parts of the UK. “Until this hobby started, I’d never moved out of West Bromwich.”
The film includes interviews with group members, joins them on their minibus outings, and features clips from Pete’s extensive archive showing how pubs have changed. He has kept meticulous records of every single pub visited over the past three decades.
“He likes to think of himself as a diarist, an historian” explains Pete’s partner, Dawn.
Pete explains in the film: “I’m the Samuel Pepys of my day, everything’s documented,” including every one of the 47,000 plus pints he has drunk since the journey began.
“I’m amazed how pubs survived depressions of the twenties and thirties, two world wars, then you come into a supposedly prosperous time and they’re all shutting down.”
However, another ‘BATs’ member Malcolm Maynard points out that despite many traditional pubs having closed, there has been a boom in new micropubs. “They’re opening so fast, it’s unbelievable. We can’t keep up with it. But we’ll attempt to keep going!”
The Word’d Longest Pub Crawl is having its first public screening at the Hen and Chickens theatre bar in north London on Tuesday 21 November, and will then tour film festivals. You can find it from today on YouTube and Vimeo.
Ross Harrison director of the short film, said: ‘The World’s Longest Pub Crawl’ is part of a series of films I am making, which I’m posting online at www.10shorts.com. This film came about when I read about a group of men from West Brom who had travelled nearly 300,000 miles visiting pubs across the country. I decided to contact Pete and see if he would let me film his story. When I first visited and saw his reams of records documenting decades of trips he has been on, as well as seeing what an energetic and friendly person he is to be around, I knew there was an interesting film to be made.”
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