Express & Star

Long-serving Halesowen real ale pub owner mourned

The former owner of a Halesowen real ale pub has died earlier this month at the age of 73.

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The late Bob Dummons at the Waggon and Horses

Bob Dummons bought the Waggon and Horses in Stourbridge Road in 1987.

It was bought by Black Country Ales in 2015 when Mr Dummons retired from running the pub.

He was a long-serving member of the Campaign for Real Ale and was for a time in charge of the beer at the campaign's Great British Beer Festival.

Steve Pratt,spokesman for the Stourbridge and Halesowen branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said members were mourning the passing of the former landlord.

"He was the person who made the pub what is was in terms of offering so many real ales – a wonder in 1987.

"Many people remember the happy times at this pub for almost 30 years," he added.

Mr Dummons, a father of three, moved to the Waggon and Horses in 1987 after the former telephone engineer decided to buy the pub after regularly travelling to the area on holiday, attracted by the number of real ale pubs in Halesowen.

When the pub reopened on November 17,1987, the licence was initially held by his brother Brian as, at that time Mr Dummons was still working for British Telecom

The pub gained a reputation for the variety of real ales served and became a popular venue for CAMRA members.

It was refurbished with 14 hand pulls after holding a beer festival in 1994, all dispensing different specialist beers from small breweries. The roof of the pub was also replaced. The back room behind the bar became known as the “Titanic Suite”, with chairs replacing the wooden benches, whilst the room at the far end of the bar was dubbed the “Barbara Cartland Suite”, and was regularly taken over by supporters of Halesowen Town.

In 2000, Mr Dummons re-introduced some of the pub’s collection of boxing memorabilia, including the gloves and historic photos of Halesowen boxer Joe Attwood.

During his tenure, the Waggon and Horses was a regular entrant in CAMRA’s national Good Beer Guide and was CAMRA’s West Midlands county pub of the year in 2006. It was also Stourbridge and Halesowen CAMRA branch’s pub of the year in 2006 and 2008.

On his 61st birthday, local Cradley micro-brewery Angel Ales brewed a celebration beer called “BOB61”, which was named beer of the festival at the Stourbridge Beer Festival in 2012.

When interviewed by Roberto Ross for the Ales & Tales CAMRA magazine in 2011, Mr Dummons said that he had his first taste of beer when he was seven-years-old on a trip with his parents and brother to France, Belgium and Holland. He later worked in various pubs in Southampton. His hobbies and interests included listening to good music, going to concerts and drinking beer and a drop of wine. His favourite food was Indian cuisine and, when not drinking beer, he enjoyed a cup of “proper” tea. Apart from the Waggon and Horses, his favourite pubs included the Beacon Hotel in Sedgley, the Coopers Tavern in Burton upon Trent and the Bartons Arms in Newtown, Birmingham.

He employed Don Dykes to run the pub from 1992. When he died in May 2008, aged 54, after pulling pints for 16 years, Mr Dummons took over the running of the pub.