This is a bit of hard core local history research, but it might be the sort of project that appeals to other family historians with heritage to do with pubs and beer houses.
For several years I have been building a dataset of public houses, inns and beerhouses, with particular focus on their proprietors, managers and keepers. I have focused on the areas inhabited by those ancestors who lived near to my home, that is mainly Brownhills and Chasetown. I have been in many of them at one time or another, those that were still open in my adult life. Some were run at one time by Andrew’s Kindred – the “Pub Dennises“, some were, doubtless, frequented by others, and some grew up there.
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Not the Hollywood musical, the pub in Brownhills, West Midlands, England.
After a discussion yesterday morning about this local landmark, I decided to check my facts, having said that the current building is not the original White Horse and that the original stood nearer to the end of the “back lane”, or Chapel Street, as it is today. I guess the colloquial name predates the chapel that stood at the junction of Chapel Street and Watling Street. Well, on this occasion I was right!
The earliest mapping to show “P.H.” is the Ordnance Survey (OS) surveyed 1882-83, published 1883. This shows the pub nearer to Chapel Street than the current pub – see composite map.
Clockwise from top left: 1883, 1901, 1915, 1938 – Ordnance Survey, reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
The 1901 map shows no building in the same place as the current pub. Likewise the 1915 revision. The 1915 and 1938 map shows one PH; this was the Lamb Inn on Watling Street, but neither the White Horse nor the Prince of Wales is marked “PH”. Perhaps they were beer houses?
What did the papers say?
Staffordshire Advertiser 21 Apr 1928
COUNTY LICENSING … The committee sanctioned the removal of the beer license of the White Horse Inn, Brownhills, to new premises in White Horse Road, Brownhills.
Staffordshire Advertiser 7 Dec 1929 Licence Transfer Confirmed. — Mr E W Haden applied to the Bench to make final an order for the transfer of the full licence of the White Horse, Brownhills, to new premises. He explained that a provisional order was made by that Bench at the adjourned annual Licensing Sessions last year, and it was subsequently confirmed by the full Licensing Authority at Stafford. The new premises had been completed strcitly in accordance with the plans. The Bench having granted the application, Mr Haden applied for the transfer of the license from George Hy. Perks to Wallace John Shingler, and this was also granted.
So the pub was built in 1928. The interesting thing here is that the first article was about transfer of the beer license (as apposed to a full license to sell beer, wines and spirits) and the second is about a full license.
The 1938 revision shows an outline in the right place for the White Horse. Presumably, it has been altered since then?
45 White Horse Road, Preston Arthur H [born] 13 June ’96, Licensee.
Lichfield Mercury 12 Jan 1940
Cannock magistrates on Monday approved the transfer of the licence of the White Horse Inn, Brownhills, from Arthur Henry Preston to Frank Atkinson.
So, the current White Horse public house was built in 1928 and, it appears, the first landord of the new pub was Wallace Shingler.
Previous licensees were: 1912 Sarah Alltree, 1911, George Henry Perks (possibly manager?), 1901 Charles Alltree, 1900 Sarah Alltree, 1896 Charles Alltree, 1891 Charles Alltree, 1881 James Norris, 1861 Samuel Bickley. I have no evidence of this, but it would be no surprise if the first White Horse Inn was built to take advantage of the new Anglesey Branch Canal that opened in 1850.
Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1896, 1900, 1904, 1912;
Newspaper records via Findmypast;
It is said that eight pubs close every day in this fair land. The reasons are complex, but the plainest is that fewer people are frequenting local pubs in villages and suburbs in favour of drinking at home, buying booze from supermarkets, discount suppliers and direct from micro-brewers.
In my own experience over the last fifty-odd years I can recall many pubs that have closed, and there were many more before that. In The Pub Dennises (2) is a map showing 5 pubs on the short 500 metre length of Chasetown High Street. There were at least two beer houses and two other pubs within 100 metres. This was not an unusual setup. Along, or very near to, the Watling Street, Brownhills, were no fewer than eight pubs and more beer houses operating between 1900 and 1912 along a stretch of 2.3 km (1.4 miles), see map below. And there were others within easy walking distance. Continue reading “The Decline and Fall of the English Public House”→