The Tuppenny – the Old Town social

Welcome to The Tuppenny, Swindon’s first and only specialist purveyor of craft drinks, a veritable emporium of brewed, distilled and fermented greatness.

We stock the largest and best range of craft beer on tap and in the fridges that you will find in Old Town, which we regularly update, alongside the best quality spirits available as they come or crafted into stone-cold classic cocktails. For those day time chill-out moments we also brew up some great classic teas and coffee or you can cap off the working day with a bottle of our great wines.

Enjoy some downtime in a unique, cosy and classy space featuring re-purposed and up-cycled furniture with its own personality, quirky decor, board-games and some old-school reading material.

We regularly feature the best in original grassroots and underground live music and host the monthly Swindon Shuffle Music Quiz (the most un-serious quiz in town!) as well as a range of other arts events, brewery talks and tap-takeovers.

So come and see us whether you are a serious hop-head, gin fiend or simply like to relax and socialise in a cool place with friends old and new.

What’s in a name?

Immediately word of our launch was out people started discussing the name of the shop, with many amusing connections being made, all of which are wrong but do make us smile. So, for anyone wondering on our choosing of the name The Tuppenny, this is why.

It all started with some gin, as so many good stories do (or should do) and a small amount of historical knowledge and research. In Victorian England, there were essentially two types of gin to choose from, penny gin, and tuppenny gin. Penny gin was cheap, in plentiful supply, and pretty awful. This was the rough old bathtub concoctions that became nicknamed “mother’s ruin”.
Tuppenny gin was a much more refined, premium product. The tuppenny prefix consequently found itself attached to many products that had a two or more, tiered pricing structure to reflect the quality of the product. The tuppenny stuff was always top drawer, the good stuff. And so the term “Tuppenny” filtered into into the common vernacular, as a way of reference to a top end something or other. “As your mother’s coming over, I didn’t scrimp on the bread flour, I got the tuppenny stuff!”

Everything The Tuppenny sells, would be considered the tuppenny stuff.

This also led us on to our logo and colour scheme. The first stamp issued by the newly founded Royal Mail was the well known penny black. This was fine for letters, but what if you wanted to send a parcel? The Royal Mail issued the Tuppenny Blue. A higher class of stamp and the inspiration for our logo.

Tuppenny blue no background

A brief history of 58-59 Devizes Road

In 1893 the Dodgson family bought number 59 Devizes Road and opened Dodgsons Barbers. The family, with their 9 children, lived in the flat upstairs.

In 1957, a young barber by the name of Tony Holmes began his career in barbering at the still trading Dodgsons until, in 1958, Mr Dodgson decided it was time to retire. He sold his business to Tony who ploughed every penny of his savings into taking it on. He renamed his new unisex hairdressers “Talk of the Town”.

In 1977 Tony purchased number 58 and expanded his salon into the unit next door. In 1995 he expanded further, into number 60 (now RPM Records) on the other side of his original building. Finally, in 2014, after cutting hair for over 60 years, in one of the most unspoilt and unaltered buildings in Old Town, Mr Holmes called time on Talk of the Town and hung up his scissors for the last time.

After two years of the building lying empty, a new chapter in its history is being written as, in November 2016 The Tuppenny opened its doors for the first time, serving the finest craft drinks to the now slightly less well-coiffured population of Old Town.