Even pubs had a class divide

CLASS BAR ... the rear entrance of the Eagle Vaults in East Street.
CLASS BAR ... the rear entrance of the Eagle Vaults in East Street.

YOU tend to think of pubs as being fairly democratic places.

But it wasn’t always the case that the bar was a common denominator between classes.

This goes back to my note on pubs which have/had ‘Vaults’ as part of their name, the inference being, at one time, that these were a separate part of the establishment set aside for working men.

I mentioned that I was sure I’d come across this in respect of the old Eagle Vaults in King Street, the rear of whose premises, in East Street, you see here.

True enough, I’ve found an old note of mine that the pub once enjoyed an elevated wine cellar that was the preserve of professionals.

But it was also interesting to since hear from John Bage, who worked at the Old Ship in Shields as a part-time barman in 1967.

Says John: “I heard that the bar had once been two separate rooms, one for professional people and the other for the workers.

“At some point the wall had been removed to make one long bar but it was amusing to see that everyone retained their social standing along the bar just as if the wall was still there.”

It’s also been good to hear from ex-Shields Bill Newton, across in Australia, who adds to our litany of this genus of pub names, the old Douglas Vaults in Barrington Street.