Last drinks for Sheffield's Holme Lea pub
It was last drinks for the regulars at the Holme Lea on Handsworth Road today before the pub shut its doors for the final time.
A community battle to save the pub from developers had failed, and regulars turned out in force to farewell the establishment. Some had been coming to drink at the pub for more than 30 years.Many strong friendships had been forged over a beer or a bingo game in the pub which dates back to at least the 1920s.Janice and John Holt have been regulars for half a century. Janice remembered her first visit to the pub.“The first time I remember coming here, I was pregnant with my first son, John, and he’s now 50,” she said.Grandson Mitchell makes three generations of visitors from the Holts.Mrs Holt has fond memories of seeing rock and roll groups, solo artists and duets take to the stage at the Holme Lea.Her husband remembers seeing Birmingham harmony beat band The Fortunes play. They broke through to prominence in 1965.The couple, who are both 71, weren’t sure where they would choose as their new regular.“That’s debatable,” Mr Holt said.Former steel worker Harry Needham has been friends with another regular, Keith Jackson, for 45 years.The pair met in the bar, and will now move to the Anglers Rest in Richmond Park road to continue their regular sessions.They used to drink three times per week, and have cut that down to Sundays at dinner time.Mr Needham, 95, can’t remember exactly how long they’d called him a regular.“Donkey’s years,” he said.Mr Jackson valued the relationships he had built with Mr Needham and others.“You can’t get friendship like that here,” he said.Concerned local Jack Ku said the pub would be a loss to the community, especially its older members.“It’s got a lot of sentimental value,” he said.Many regulars had started coming to the pub two years ago when the Woodhouse Mill closed.“Again, it’s people being displaced,” Mr Ku said.