CAMRA members are mourning the passing of former landlord Bob Dummons who ran the Waggon & Horses in Halesowen.

Bob moved to the pub in Stourbridge Road from Southampton in 1987.

A former telephone engineer, he decided to buy the boozer after regularly travelling to the area on holiday, where he was attracted by the number of real ale pubs nearby.

The married father-of-three had always had an interest in traditional beer and real ale, and it was always his intention to serve these when he bought the pub.

Since the area had a number of real ale venues, it seemed the logical place to set up his own pub.

After acquiring the Waggon & Horses, the pub reopened on November 17 1987.

At that time, as Bob was still working for British Telecom, the licence was initially held by his brother, Brian.

Under Bob’s tenure, the pub gained a reputation for the variety of real ales served and became a popular venue for members of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The pub was refurbished with 14 handpulls after holding a beer festival in 1994, all dispensing different specialist beers from small breweries.

The roof of the pub was also replaced. The back room behind the bar became known as the Titanic Suite, with chairs replacing the wooden benches, while the room at the far end of the bar was dubbed the Barbara Cartland Suite, and was regularly taken over by supporters of Halesowen Town FC (the Yeltz).

In 2000, Bob re-introduced some of the pub’s collection of boxing memorabilia, including the gloves and historic photos of Halesowen boxer, Joe Attwood.

During his tenure, the Waggon & Horses was a regular entrant in CAMRA’s national Good Beer Guide and was CAMRA’s West Midlands County Pub-of-the-Year in 2006. It was also local Stourbridge & Halesowen CAMRA branch’s Pub-of-the-Year in 2006 and 2008.

In fact, Bob got started in the licensed trade by joining CAMRA as a branch member, chairman and later as area organiser. Both Bob and his brother, Brian, had been involved in CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival and, for a time, Bob was in charge of the beer at the annual festival.

On his 61st birthday, Cradley micro-brewery Angel Ales brewed a celebration beer called BOB61, which was named Beer of the Festival at Stourbridge Beer Festival in 2012. In that year, the pub was also awarded local CAMRA’s Cider Pub-of-the-Year award.

When interviewed by Roberto Ross for the Ales & Tales CAMRA magazine in 2011, Bob said he had his first taste of beer when he was seven-years-old on a trip with his parents and brother to France, Belgium and Holland.

He later worked in pubs in Southampton.

His hobbies and interests included listening to good music, going to concerts and drinking beer and a drop of wine.

When not drinking beer, he enjoyed a cup of ‘proper’ tea.

Apart from the Waggon & Horses, his favourite pubs included the Beacon Hotel in Sedgley, the Coopers Tavern in Burton-on-Trent and the Bartons Arms in Newtown, Birmingham.

In 1993, Bob was also involved in the Mundane Brewery at Burton-on-Trent, brewing beers with his wife, Maria, with names like Average Ale, Boring Bitter and Tedious Stout. All the beers were tested by his 16-month old daughter, Alice, who spat out her dummy if she didn’t like them!

Bob employed Don Dykes to run the pub from 1992. He’d previously run the Bournemouth AFC Supporters Club Bar and founded the East Dorset branch of CAMRA. However, he died in May 2008, aged 54, after pulling pints for 16 years, and Bob took over the running of the pub.

In 2015, the Waggon & Horses was acquired by Black Country Ales and Bob retired from running the pub.

He passed away, after suffering from cancer, in May 2024, aged 73.