SHE’S spent 40 years behind this bar – but has no plans to call time just yet.
Carol Brown has swapped jokes with the godson of Royalty and tales with future sports stars in the street corner watering hole where she has worked since 1973.
And this week she is holding a party to celebrate 40 years behind the bar of The Colpitts, in Hawthorn Terrace, Durham, the only bar where she has ever worked, and where she has been Mine Hostess since 1997.
It was in January 1973 that Carol and husband Tommy moved next door to the Colpitts in Hawthorn Terrace, Durham City.
Within a day her aunt Irene Spencer, who ran the pub for 42 years until her death in 1997, had roped her in to help out.
After Irene died aged 77, Carol took over as landlady.
On Friday she is inviting regulars past and present to a celebration to mark 40 years behind the bar of the neighbourhood pub, which has hardly changed since she pulled her first pint all those years ago.
“The pub hasn’t changed very much, we still have a coal fire and wooden floors. I never wanted shagpile carpets and modern trappings.
“But the surrounding streets certainly have changed since 1973. All the houses have been bought up by private landlords to let to students.
“You don’t hear a baby cry or a dog bark around here anymore.
“When I first began working here as a barmaid, there were families in the terraced homes around this pub.”
Nevertheless, it is Durham’s constantly evolving student population which has provided Carol with some of her fondest memories.
“Edward Van Custem, who was a student at Durham, used to come in here regularly to drink with his pals when he was at Durham University. He is a good friend of Prince William and Prince Charles is his godfather.
“He was a lovely boy who enjoyed a laugh and a joke with his friends and with the staff and locals here.
“After he left Durham, the next time I saw him was on the pages of Hello magazine, when he married Lady Tamara Grosvenor, the daughter of the Duke of Westminster, in 2004. Then there was Will Greenwood, who studied at Hatfield College in Durham and went on to star for England and the British Lions in rugby. He and his mates were regulars here, and he always calls in when he visits Durham to say hello.
“Gareth Archer, who played Rugby for England, was another regular here.”
The Colpitts also had a weekend visit from snooker legend, the late Alex Hurricane Higgins, a notorious Belfast-born hellraiser who died in 2010 at the age of 61.
“I had a student called Marianne working behind the bar and she knew Alex from Northern Ireland. She kept telling him he should visit Durham.
“Eventually he decided to come for the weekend and spent most of his time playing pool with the regulars in the back room,” recalled Carol, 63, who has no plans to retire.
“I love this place too much,” she said.