The Way We Were with John Taylor: Jolly Dogs and reality television

A wannabe celeb in the jungle
A wannabe celeb in the jungle

Jolly Dogs – what a great name for a pub, and one that was 
frequented in yesteryear by the locals of Stewkley.

As for other unusual names, there was once a March Of Intellect at Newport Pagnell, and a Case Is Altered at Stony Stratford.

Nowadays, perhaps the name of The Craufurd Arms at Wolverton is among the most curious, not least for the spelling. In fact the name 
recalls Lt Col Craufurd who, in conjunction with the 
Bishop of Chester, in 1896 formed The People’s Refreshment House Association.

With an undercurrent of temperance, this aimed to open premises where intoxicants would be served – but also food and non-alcoholic drinks.

As the 56th of their premises, the Craufurd Arms was built in Wolverton by Mr Hawktin of Northampton as designed by Mr CV Cable.

A large hall was added in 1936, and in 1953 the premises passed from The People’s Refreshment House Association to Messrs Wells and Winch, brewers of Biggleswade.

Later it came under Charrington’s, which from 1962 began buying up all the The People’s Refreshment House Association’s premises. The venue proved popular for 
local social functions, and as I recall from my sedentary days hosted their annual Christmas dinner in the Wolverton Works.

Once such an important part of the social tapestry, today pubs are becoming ever fewer, with it sometimes seeming as though five closing a week.

But in the spirit of The People’s Refreshment House Association perhaps a change is becoming apparent, with the survivors adapting to a family-friendly culture.

Indeed, instead of 
vegetating in front of the television, stupefied by the the stode of ‘reality’ programmes, or the jungle antics of a bunch of Z-list celebrities and the odd attention-seeking politician, how much better it would be to enjoy a convivial evening of socialising in an 
environment of both moderate drinking and temperance.

If this is the way forward, whether in The Craufurd Arms or any of our other pubs, I’ll drink to that!