People Who Might Have Had A Pint At The Welly (Part One of a very tenuous series): Charles Dickens was born 7th February 1812 and today would have been his 206th birthday, had he not died in 1870. He visited Brighton many times between 1837 and 1868. We’ve been here since 1867 so in theory, Dickens could have enjoyed a pint at the Welly before catching the train back to London!
Well, this is pure conjecture and speculation but we do know that Dickens wasn’t averse to a back-street ale house. Here’s his description of a ‘public-house of the old school’ from Sketches by Boz (1836): ‘a little old bar, and a little old landlord, who, with a wife and daughter of the same pattern, was comfortably seated in the bar aforesaid – a snug little room with a cheerful fire, protected by a large screen … The little old landlord … bustled out of the small door of the small bar; and forthwith ushered us into the parlour itself. It was an ancient, dark-looking room, with oaken wainscoting, a sanded floor, and a high mantel-piece. The walls were ornamented with three or four old coloured prints in black frames, each print representing a naval engagement, with a couple of men-of-war banging away at each other most vigorously [stop giggling at the back there, he’s talking about SHIPS], while another vessel or two were blowing up in the distance, and the foreground presented a miscellaneous collection of broken masts and blue legs sticking up out of the water. Depending from the ceiling in the centre of the room, were a gas-light and bell-pull; on each side were three or four long narrow tables, behind which was a thickly-planted row of those slippery, shiny-looking wooden chairs, peculiar to hostelries of this description. The monotonous appearance of the sanded boards was relieved by an occasional spittoon; and a triangular pile of those useful articles adorned the two upper corners of the apartment.’