CAMRA Pioneers

I spoke to so many longstanding CAMRA members over the phone last year while researching my book 50 Years of CAMRA. It was a pleasure to finally put faces to the names yesterday by attending one of the fabled CAMRA Pioneers Parties. I wrote about the Old Soaks and their semi-regular meetings. Quite an honour to be invited to attend!

A CAMRA Pioneers Party

It was a breezy day in Nottingham as I strolled down from the station to the Castle Rock pub, The Canalhouse. This is of course part of the empire of Chris Holmes – a former CAMRA chairman (1975-76). The great and the good of CAMRA past and present were there. Many friendships extended back for 50 years, and more in at least one case. One attendee, Gordon Smith, had been school friends with CAMRA founder Michael Hardman since 1957!

Pints of Harvest Pale, the Champion Beer of Britain winning ale were consumed while anecdotes were swapped. There were some extremely venerable beer writers present, including Chris Hutt and Tim Webb. CAMRA’s first employee, former company secretary John Green was in attendance. And of course, three of the four CAMRA founders were there. It is perhaps unsurprising that Bill Mellor was not able to make it under present circumstances, since he has lived in Australia for many years.

It was truly a privilege to be present for this little bit of history in CAMRA’s anniversary year.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.