The map above is elegant in its simplicity. It shows Great Britain and Ireland drawn from pubs. Each blue dot represents a single pub using data extracted from OpenStreetMap with the Matplotlib Basemap Toolkit.
Interestingly, if the same map had been drawn using the number of pubs from 1980 it would have looked quite different.
In total, the map has 29,195 pub locations across both the UK and Ireland. However, the UK alone has lost 21,000 pubs since 1980 according to the Institute of Economic Affairs, with half of these occurring since 2006.
Therefore, a map from 1980 might have had nearly twice as many dots as the one above and possibly not all in the same places. Going back even further, there were a reported 99,000 pubs in the UK in 1905.
The reason for the long term pub decline has been blamed on a variety of factors including:
- Decline in beer consumption
- The rise of cheap supermarket beer
- The smoking ban
- The poor economy
- The beer tie
However, as bleak as the situation may seem, the map above is a good reminder that there are plenty of great boozers left in the two countries.
To learn more about the Great British (and Irish) pub we recommend the following books:
- Man Walks Into A Pub: A Sociable History of Beer
- The Inn at the Top: Tales of Life at the Highest Pub in Britain
- The Good Pub Guide 2015
- A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change and the Fate of the Irish Pub
What do you think is causing decline of pubs in the UK and Ireland? Leave your comments below:
From the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article on Liquor Laws:
” In the year 1732 a complete and detailed survey of all the streets and houses in London was carried out by William Maitland, F.R.S. Out of a total of 95,968 houses he found the following: brew-houses 171, inns 207, taverns 447, ale-houses 5975, brandy-shops 8659; total number of licensed houses for the retail sale of liquor 15,288, of which considerably more than one-half were spirit bars. The population was about three-quarters of a million. About one house in every six was licensed at this time, and that in spite of attempts made to check the traffic by restrictive acts passed in 1728-1729. “
Nah! Not one pub in either Counties Monaghan or Tyrone? Too hard to believe.
Paul Wilkinson says
The decline as I see it ,
Is property prices for licensed premises , taxation on beer and other alcohol. Unfair or unequal taxation for supermarket chains or other companies not having to pay corporation tax.
Being treated as a crack house as aposed to being a part of every community and the fact that it now costs over 50% more to run the same business than it did 15 years ago.
All day trading stopped it being a family run business, no breaks, at the same time you had to put in place the option of no more than a 36 hour week, pension and of course minimum wage as long as you aren’t owners or manager’s….can’t understand why we’re a dying breed!!!
Still, at least we’ve been able to furlough people who worked with us and borrow money at a cheap rates…
Here’s to all the ex licencees next year,
Wishing you all the best,