Unfortunately the heavy rents and overly-expensive beer that had to be bought via Punch, drove the customers away to cheaper, free-of-tie pubs such as Wetherspoons and the Pen & Wig. Hardly surprising that trade diminished to a point that the Engineers became unviable.
The Engineers Arms was formerly run by Welsh Brewers and served Bass and Hancocks HB. It was mentioned in 1872 and seems to have been built when Baneswell was developed in the 19th Century as the pub overlooks and runs parallel to the main line railway cutting.
The Red Lion is another Punch Taverns pub and the present landlord seems intent on running his business into the ground. Punch seem to have little or no interest in seeing their pubs survive as they would rather get the money, even in a depressed housing market, that would result from the premises being sold off as accommodation. The only thing that will save this pub from certain closure would be a regime change, but unfortunately none seems likely.
insurance job fire to sweep through this run-down area of the City. Admiral Taverns are advertising for a tenant for the pub but with their high rents and beer tie, who would want to go into this business. Admiral Taverns have had an offer from a local brewery to buy the freehold of the Hornblower, but refuse to sell. In the crazy world of the Pubco, it makes more sense to hold onto a closed, derelict and soon to be collapsing building than to realise its capitol immediately. But at the end of the day the pub is still closed so it is the customer that looses.
Further down Commercial Street, the King William IV is also shut, though more securely boarded up, than other buildings. Perhaps the owners of this property are not waiting for the fire to rip through this place. This large building stands on the corner of 2 main roads, so Newport council may come out with a plan to demolish this pub to “assist with the traffic flow”.Heading down to Pill, the pub situation is even more dire. The saddest closure of them all is of the Church House, birthplace of Newport Tramp poet, WH Davies. Again, this pub is shut and boarded up, no sign on the outside of the building as to which Pubco owns it – it may be Punch as the Church House pub came from the former Hancocks/Welsh Brewers empire.
The Temperance Movements of the Nineteenth Century could only ever have dreamed of the pub carnage that has been caused by the Pubcos with their high rents and expensive beer ties. It has become clear that the tied-house system has failed with regard to the Pubcos – but will the Government ever realise this and bring in legislation that will open up the market to our smaller brewers? I seriously doubt it.