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Monday, 2 February 2015

#158 The Great Stone, Northfield, Birmingham : 1953 to 2014

The Great Stone Inn has stood on this site for centuries and it is named for a huge boulder that used to stand on the corner. This boulder is a glacial erratic, and was dropped by the ice as it retreated in the last ice age! The stone is now housed in the 17th Century pound, which is adjacent to the pub – this sandstone enclosure was where stray animals were kept until their owners paid a fee to get them back.
© Phyllis Nicklin 1953
This photo (along with two others of the Great Stone) was taken in 1953 by Phyllis Nicklin. She took many pictures of Birmingham through the 1950's and 1960's which can be found as part of University of Birmingham's Chrysalis Project. This is a fascinating archive for those of us who love old pictures of places we know. My only regret is that Phyllis Nicklin wasn't as obsessed with pubs as I am!

So, from a time before I was born, how does the pub look now?
Not very different as you can see apart from the slight name change. This picture was taken in the afternoon of Friday 15th August 2014. The boulder is behind the gate by the red car.

It is many years since I visited The Great Stone for a drink, probably when I was a student. In those days it was an M&B pub, but I see now that it is part of the Stonegate Pub Company.


  1. I went in here a few times when I was at University in the late 70s, although it was too much of a hike to be a regular haunt. At that time, although a very old building, it had something of a reputation for being popular with a younger clientele.

    I remember once having a special limited-edition strong keg beer brewed to celebrate M&B's centenary or suchlike.

  2. Yes, it is a bit out of the way. It still has a reputation for being a young person's pub, but I'm not sure how true that is any more.

    M&B's Centenary was in 1979 so that's about right!

  3. Used to drink in here regularly about Thirty years ago when Mick Hamilton run it. Went through some changes of clientèle during the '90s. Always an M & B house I'm not sure how the awful Stonegate are going to treat it!

  4. This is my nearest local. And next to the pub is the village pound, where the Great Stone that the pub is named after now resides. Its a boulder from North Wales carried to Birmingham by glaciers in the ice age.