The Percy Arms aka The Die Shop

The snug was nicknamed ‘Turnbull’s Waiting Room’ after the name of the local Funeral Director.

The Percy Arms was known locally as the Die Shop but no one really knows why. Recently I found a possible explanation in an old Survey Map of Percy Main dated 1895. In this map, part of an older report dated 1880, it is mentioned and talks about the problem of making provision for the bodies of people drowned in Northumberland Dock and awaiting the Coroner.

The report states; “Recently a body had to be taken as far as the Percy Arms Inn near the Railway Station at Percy Main, but its stable being full a difficulty arose”. One can only assume that the stables against the Percy Arms had been used as a temporary mortuary so the name “Die Shop” became attached to the Percy Arms.

Bob Armstrong, the manager, was very strict but he kept a great pint. I found this out later in life. His snug or side room was where the older people, men and women, drank. It had a dart board, but rumour had it that there had never been a dart thrown at it.

Legend has it that the seat nearest the door was the draughtiest and, as every other seat was taken by a regular, a newcomer was expected to sit in it and the only way you moved along was when someone died. When I was old enough to go in the pub I looked in at the snug and I couldn’t quite believe it. It was nicknamed ‘Turnbull’s Waiting Room’ after the name of the local Funeral Director.

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