In the first episode of Peaky Blinders you find a scene where Grace Burgess personally applies for the job in the local bar/pub.

After discussing a bit with the owner whether she'll fit into this job or not, she starts to take up and empty pots from the floor into a bucket. The pots contain some 'mud-like' liquid. What was that and what was it good for? Did the bar visitors spit inside those pots, did they maybe urinate or puke inside?

3 Answers 3


They're 'Spittoons'.

The Garrison Tavern has ended up as a cross between an American speakeasy and a spit and sawdust British boozer. There is sawdust on the floor. As for the spit, a special recipe has been used to fill the metal spittoons at the foot of the bar, into which tobacco-chewing regulars would discharge.

BBC Source


They are called spittoons and, as the name suggests, they are indeed for spit.

The reason the consistency could be 'mud-like' could be a combination of spit and alcohol being poured in throughout the night or when the barmaid clears the tables.

  • 12
    I suspect the tobacco would be a more significant part of the spittoons being mud-like.
    – Taemyr
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 14:55
  • Actually its not unknown for less scrupulous landlords to recycle beer from drip drays and partially filled glasses - and pour it back into the barrel Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 22:33

The buckets contained what was/is known as "tobacco juice" from those who would chew or dip whilst at the bar.

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