North East Documentary Team Asks the Question “What is a Proper Pub?”


The pub is an important part of every community in the UK. It’s where people meet old friends, make new ones, spend some thoughtful time alone or find out about news and events happening where they live.

Or is it?

A new North East documentary team called Proper Pubs Productions is filming a documentary that explores what a ‘proper pub’ means to people these days. Their first production is set in The Museum Vaults in Sunderland, which the people who drink there consider to be a proper pub. The owners, bar staff and regulars will give their opinions on what this signifies, offer historical facts and anecdotes about this legendary establishment, as well as telling parts of their own life stories.


Potts Print (UK) communications manager Laurie Cansfield (above) is heading up the project, with a team of student volunteers (below) working on cinematography and sound recording. It will be a learning experience for all involved, and the beginning of a series of short documentary films in other pubs around the north east.

Laurie says, “I’ve never met such interesting, surprising and funny characters as I have at The Vaults. It was my local before I moved over the river to Newcastle, and I keep going back whenever I’m over that way. It’s an example of what I think a pub should be. A place where you can walk in and be greeted by people you know, where you can be yourself and have your say, and where the bar staff argue back! A bit like Cheers, but British.

“At first I wanted to make a historical film about this pub because it’s been around for centuries and there are hardly any facts documented about it (other than it didn’t have a license until 1978!), but then I got thinking about the people who go there, the contributions they make to the community in and around the pub, and how they always make an effort with both newcomers and fellow regulars. And how absolutely crackers they are. So that was the start of the ‘proper pubs’ idea.”


Filming continues this week on Tuesday and Saturday, where the team will be talking to real ale drinkers, football fanatics and a variety of punks. Follow Proper Pubs Productions on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date about the project, and feel free to come along and get involved.


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