WE are taking a photographic tour of pubs today – to mark the days when Furness was the cheapest place in the country to enjoy a pint.

The welcome news that our bars offered the best value for money emerged from a national lager price survey 20 years ago by real ale campaign group Camra.

The Mail, on Wednesday, August 4 in 1999, noted: “Average prices of lager in the wealthy south-east have risen to a headache-inducing £2.06 per pint, with the big £3 barrier often broken.

“However, Furness drinkers can still raise their lager glasses for an average of £1.80 per pint,with special offers on non-branded brews sinking as low as £1.

“Landlord of the Wheatsheaf and chairman of Barrow and District Licensed Victuallers' Association, Mike Fallon, is not surprised at the news.

“Prices at his Hindpool pub are within two pence of matching the cheapest in the Camra survey of £1.53 for a pint of real ale while his lager prices are right on the money.”

Mr Fallon said:“You’ll find all the locally owned and managed pubs in Furness will be within 10p of each other.

“We sell John Smith’s cask at £1.55 with Carling and Fosters lagers at £1.80.”

The opening of the new Barrow cinema at Hollywood Park had brought out-of-town visitors – who remarked on the cheapness of ale at the nearby Wheatsheaf.

Mr Fallon said:“Visitors to the park and lorry drivers on overnight stopovers have been coming in and have been amazed at the cheapness of our beer.”

Camra marketing officer Ian Woolverton, said: “Lager does not cost more to produce than real ale and it lasts longer and is easier to keep in the pub cellar.

“Drinkers are paying out to fund the brewers’ hugely-expensive marketing campaigns for the same old supposedly foreign lager brands, almost all of which are brewed in this country.”

The survey of more than 5,000 beer prices in 1,100 pubs gave an average price of lager at £1.93per pint compared with £1.76 for British real ale.