I took this short video clip on June 30th 2007, in the pub I lived a few doors down from, the Chequers in the South Cambridgeshire village of Orwell. It shows one of the locals and the publican at the time, smoking inside the pub on the last day before the smoking ban in England came into force, making it illegal to smoke in all enclosed work places.
The Chequers, licensed since 1815 and the last of several pubs in the village, survived the smoking ban. In 2012 the pub was put up for sale by Punch Taverns for £500k, an asking price suited to its current status as a highly-rated gastro pub, and is now in new hands. I moved back into Cambridge shortly after this video was taken, and haven’t yet been back to the village, but have often wondered what effect the ban had on Pete, the elderly local in the video; whether he continued drinking there, standing outside when he wanted a smoke, or if he started drinking from home where he could choose whether to smoke indoors. Perhaps he even gave up smoking, though that seems least likely, and in any case I doubt much thought was given to the effect on people like Pete, as the primary aim of the legislation was angled as protecting employees from second-hand smoke. In that regard, it seems inevitable beer gardens will be next in line for a ban, so if the likes of Pete did continue drinking in pubs, no doubt their enjoyment of a cigarette outside will soon be curtailed. So, while I appreciate ten years of not smelling of smoke after a visit to the pub, I doubt it’s something Pete would celebrate.
old pete still comes for 1 and a half pints everyday, always 5 mins early and has smoke at the front garden
— The Chequers (@chequersorwell) June 30, 2017