Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Ring O' Bells, West Kirby, Wirral

The Ring O' Bells was a public house in Village Road, West Kirby. The pub was rebuilt in 1810 on the site of an older pub of the same name. The cellars are cut into sandstone and extend underneath Village Road. The rock has been shaped to hold the barrels of ale, with a drainage channel below. The pub once had a bowling green and tennis courts. The pub is now a restaurant.

Situated in the most healthy and picturesque part of West Kirby. Full-sized Bowling Green attached to the home which, from its position and surroundings, may be classed as second to none; and the Pavilion in the Grounds affords accommodation both to Bowlers and Picnic Parties. The shore is also within a few minutes easy walking distance, and a ramble on the celebrated Hills may be commenced from the very..With the Hotel will ever be associated the memory of J.L. Hatton, who wrote here the grand old rollicking song, 'Simon the Cellarer' (Advert Porter's Directory for West Kirby, Hoylake etc 1901) 

This hotel has proved a port of call and pleasant resting place for such national characters as the poets SHELLEY and KEATS, also the artist TURNER when painting his pictures of sunsets on the River Dee. It was the source for that famous song "SIMON THE CELLARER", which was composed here.

This famous Hostel still retains its pleasant and old time atmosphere of fragrance and charm.

We can assure all callers that in Mr W.B. FEATHERSTONE, the present proprietor, we have one well worthy- in our opinion-of carrying on the old tradition. (1936 Advert).

The pub was one of the nearest to where Lowry lived in Inglewood, Caldy. Lowry reminisced about drinking there in a letter to James Stern 13 June 1947; .…a pewter tankard of strong Falstaff & a hunk of Cheshire at the Ring O Bells… (Collected Letters Volume 2 Pg. 63-4 ). Lowry also refers to a Ring o' Bells pub being near to Upton in his short story 'Enter One In Sumptuous Armour'. However, no such pub has existed and he appears to have transposed the pub from West Kirby to Upton.

The claims that Shelley and Keats visited are spurious and are not founded on fact but myth. J.L. Hatton, did not write his song, 'Simon the Cellarer' in the pub but more than likely it was the former Ring O' Bells in Bidston.

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