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Laura Thompson's grandmother Violet was one of the great landladies.
Born in a London pub, she became the first woman to be given a publican's license in her own name and, just as pubs defined her life, she seemed to embody their essence. Laura spent part of her childhood in her grandmother's Home Counties establishment, mesmerised by the landlady's gift for creating the mix of the everyday and the theatrical that defined the pub's atmosphere, making it a unique reflection of the national character.
Her memories of this time are just as intoxicating- beer and ash on the carpets in the morning, the deepening rhythms of mirth at night, the magical brightness of glass behind the bara Through them she traces the story of the English pub, asking why it has occupied such a treasured position in our culture.
But even Violet, as she grew older, recognised that places like hers were a dying breed, and Laura also considers the precarious future they face.
Part memoir, part social history, part elegy, this book pays tribute to an extraordinary woman and the world she epitomized.
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