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Forgotten Stourbridge - The Royal Turf bar, High Street, Stourbridge

So what's so special about this run down, locked up alleyway towards the top of the High Street, right next to Pizza Express? Well the older generations of Stourbridge will recall that years ago, what is now Pizza Express used to be a rather posh shop called Cranages, selling cakes and bread with a very nice cafe upstairs. At the back of Cranages was a bar called the Royal Turf, accessed via this alleyway.

The Turf was an extraordinary bar because it was beautifully panelled in wood and was in plan view a near perfect semicircle - even the doors were curved to match! It was always seen as a rather upmarket place, and in the sixties it was even possible to see the odd celebrity there, particularly from the music scene. Local boy Robert Plant was a regular, I saw Chris Wood of the band Traffic in there one night and apparently fellow member and major star Stevie Winwood was too shy to go in!

Other regulars included Martin Lickert, a long term pal of Robert Plant, who was Ringo Starr's chauffer for a while! It was common to see Ringo's Mercedes Pullman limousine in Stourbridge High Street, as he used to let Martin borrow it for the weekend to go back to Stourbridge! Martin also had a role in the Frank Zappa movie - 200 Motels. Sadly Martin died only recently.

Do you have any recollections of the Turf? Send us your stories!

Dear Forgotten Stourbridge,
In 1959-60,I was in my last year at Old Swinford Hospital School and, by seniority and because I was eminently trustworthy, I took over the onerous task of taking other boys' orders for the Saturday evening Sports newspapers and edition, collecting their money, trudging into town to a newsagents near the bus station and bringing the heavy papers back to School. This was so exhausting that I had to drop in at the Royal Turf for refreshment. The pub was very small and I would have got into trouble immediately if any Master or Master's friend had seen me. But no-one ever did because there were never any other customers in the pub when i was there. I had a pint and a pork pie almost every term-time Saturday that year. The pies had been made by the adjoining Cafe ( I can not remember that it was called Cranages, I always called it the Royal Turf Cafe) and were very delicious, just the thing for a growing boy. Two ladies were the barmaids. I never had a conversation with them. Perhaps my tie and blazer put them off. They were very respectable - looking and dressed in black, as far as I remember. I always went into the bar on the left and I never considered that there was any other bar. They could not have got a Three Piece Combo into that bar if they intended to have an audience as well. The decoration was old-fashioned, well-polished panelling with, I think, a couple of prints on the wall and the beer engines etc. were brass. And now it has gone? I am amazed that such a gem should have gone. I remember the very smart cafe above the cake shop. Stairs at either side of the counter (which was against the back wall) led up to what felt like a circular room. It was very genteel but smart and there was plenty of space between the tables ( which had table cloths on them) and the service was very good and did not make you feel poor. The Old Swinford boys used to meet girls there or we went with our parents if they were visiting. That was of course before the 'modern' coffee bar opened further up towards the Library. To say nothing of Mark & Moody's and the Talbot!
Yours Sincerely, Philip Johnson
Welcome | About Stourbridge | Glass | Town Tours | Can you Help? | Shopping | What's on
Stourbridge Lion | Music | Sport | Long Lost Friends | Clubs and Charities | Pubs | Schools and Colleges
Genealogy | Stourbridge Area | Business | Links | Lots more stuff | Contact | Homepage