Is Brentford UK's Most Pubbed Up Town?

BBC ignores local claims to have most pubs per head

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A recent survey by BBC Radio 4's More or Less asked the question which town has the most pubs in Britain per head of population.

Several candidates were put forward. Otley in West Yorkshire is claiming to be the winner with its 21 pubs for 15,000 people which represents 714 people per pub. Beeston in Nottingham has 18 pubs for a population of 21,000 and Brighton and Hove, with 278 pubs for 250,000 residents.

One place that wasn't mentioned was Brentford. Even allowing for recent closures the area still has 19 pubs for a population of 10,745 or just over 500 people for each pub.

Otley landlord Tony Grey was quoted as saying, "Many other places claim it and they would, because it's a good way of attracting trade. But we know that we've got more than anybody else."

However, there is even a question mark as to whether Otley even qualifies as a town whereas there is no argument about Brentford which was once the County town of Middlesex.

There's a historical reason why old market towns are more likely to top the list. Old licensing laws permitted public houses to open all day on market days, usually two to four days a week, and this attracted more pubs to open. This law continued through to 1988.

Brentford looks to be the winner on any measure but unfortunately the Guinness Book of Records currently does not include this category.

September 11, 2008