Tom Schmiedeler, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Geography at Washburn University. Tom’s interest in historical, environmental, and regional geography led him to a study of “The Decline of the Village Pub in the Garden of England.”
Small pubs have historically been the community meeting place and the identity of a village, Schmiedeler points out. Social connection was the primary reason to go to the pubs; the drinking was secondary. But over the past fifty years, British and Scottish pubs have been transformed by a number of factors: Taxes on alcohol have risen, making a pint more and more expensive. Inexpensive alcohol is available in grocery stores. Drinking and driving laws are now in place and well-enforced. Licensing for pubs has become more difficult and costly. And the Internet and family commitments keep potential customers at home.