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Pubs, Inns, etc in Beeston

© David Hallam - 2007

Individual Inns & Pubs in Beeston - B-C

Go to Details of Other Beeston Pubs:   D - J   M - Q   R - S   T - W

Boat & Horses - originally named The Boat, this pub has stood on its present site since its origins at the end of the 1830s - although, like many, it was largely rebuilt in the inter-war period. Its origins were remarkably documented by Elizabeth the daughter of Richard Harwood its original owner, in her diary which survives at Nottinghamshire Archives, was recently published by Notts County Council and which is featured elsewhere on this site. Richard had farmed the land around the pub site - Rylands Farm, remote from the centre of Beeston, with two houses, a garden croft, an orchard and 50 acres of meadow - for some years. There was perhaps always an occasional visitor looking for accommodation from the canal that passed the land but, in 1839, when the railway arrived, there was a opportunity of a different scale altogether - and the family embraced it.

The "room in the garden"Richard Harwood and his family responded immediately and comprehensively to the increasing numbers that arrived by train on day trips from the City. On June 9th 1839, the first Saturday after the line opened to the public, Elizabeth wrote in her diary, "The railway trains brought a great many people from Nottingham. We could not find seats for them all." Before the month was out, Richard had started to build extra accommodation - the "room in the garden" which, as we can see from the photograph on the right, survives to this day. What is more, on June 29th 1839, he also bought "some ninepins" - so beginning a tradition of skittles at the Boat which has continued over the years.

Now that the railway made it accessible from the crowded City and beyond, Beeston Rylands developed quickly as a popular destination for day trippers and the area changed accordingly - where previously the river carried mostly commercial traffic, pleasure boats began to appear and fishing parties were frequent callers. Cricket had recently been established at Trent Bridge and the meadows below the railway at Beeston benefited as an alternative venue with a popular following, so much so that, in August 1870, a 3 day game was played between the Gentlemen of the South and The Gentlemen of the North in which the famous W G Grace was top-scorer. The fortunes of the area - and therefore The Boat Inn - had been transformed - at least during the summer months.

Richard Harwood continued to run the inn until his death in 1864 after which Joseph Emerson was licensee for perhaps 3 or 4 years before moving to Manchester and giving up the trade. He was followed by three Scotton brothers who, with other members of their extended family, ran the Boat for several years as a team. Although only relatively young - in their early 20s - when they arrived, they had the experience and guidance of their father Thomas, who had been a publican for many years at the Britannia Inn on Mount Street and the Crown on Long Row, both in Nottingham. Indeed, it may be significant that John Scotton was described in 1881 as a brewer which may well indicate that the family's operation at the Boat went further than just local provision.

William Henry Scotton became landlord in 1879 and it is he who gives the biggest clue as to the attraction of the family to this location for it was he who was to distinguish himself as a first-class cricketer. Born in Nottingham in January 1856, he spent all his adult life in cricket although he did, on occasion, turn out for Notts County as a footballer. After a start at age 17 with a Derbyshire side, he played his first first-class game for Nottinghamshire in 1875 and continued there until 1891. By 1881, his brother John had taken over at the Boat enabling William to concentrate on the game - although William appears to have resumed as licensee by 1883. After a relatively slow start with Notts, interrupted by his participation in a strike by seven Notts professionals over pay, he was to develop, by 1884, into the best left-handed batsman in England. That year he scored 567 runs for Notts in 13 games, and turned in a similar performance in 1886. He played five test seasons for England, touring Australia three times. Known for his defensive straight bat, his performance in 1884 against Australia was crucial in saving the match. Faced with a massive total from the touring side, Scotton opened for England, batting through for 5¾ hours for 90 runs before becoming the ninth man out, enabled England to escape with a draw. His life was to end in tragedy in July 1893 when he took his own life; it was said that he had been depressed and in a low state since losing his place in the Nottinghamshire side after the 1890 season. The remainder of the Scotton family had left the Boat before 1885, his brother John moving on to run the Cricketers Rest in Sneinton.

There followed a period of change of less than a decade with brief occupations by John Jamson, who moved on to run the Flying Horse at Markfield in Leicestershire, William Collishaw and Edward Woodhouse. By about 1893 however, the Boat had been taken over by Samuel Slater who, although not himself a publican - he had spend most of his live as an iron moulder in the Alfreton area and had even served as a local preacher at one stage - but his son William and daughter Annie had gained experience in catering and restaurant management in Nottingham and probably encouraged him. Although Samuel's wife Elizabeth died in 1893, soon after they arrived, and William moved on to manage another public house in Nottingham, Samuel remained at the Boat for well over ten years.

Wm & Amy Bower behind barWilliam Bower, who took over at The Boat in about 1908 More with his wife Amy, was born in Brinsley in 1859 into a coal mining family and had spent his adult life up to that point as a collier in the Eastwood area - interestingly, a similar background to Samuel Sisson, the previous licensee. It was during his time at the Boat that the area was changing and becoming more urban in character. As a result, the attraction of the area Wm & Amy Bower in gardenas a destination for day-trippers fell away and there was a need for the Boat - now the Boat and Horses - to cater for a changing clientele. The resulting rebuild, with the "room in the garden" retained, probably dating from 1932 More, is the building we see today. It certainly appears that William (shown right with his wife Amy in the garden of The Boat and on the left behind the bar) was able to take full advantage of the changes that were happening around the pub. Up to the time of his death at on Christmas Day 1935, he had participated actively in the development of the area and owned numerous properties on Trent Road, including 5 Trent Road (the corner shop at Trafalgar Road, at one time "Connies' Corner", opposite the old Post Office), and 7, 9 and 11 Trent Road. Before Amy Bower died in March 1939, their son Barry Edward Bower and his wife Daisy had settled on Trent Road having previously run the Nelson and Railway Inn at Kimberley in 1930/31. It is also possible that they had some involvement with the Boat before going on to run the corner shop on Trent Road as well as the Post Office near the Sherwin Arms on Derby Road, Bramcote before his retirement as Sub-Postmaster in 1947.

The Crown Inn - a brief history - contributed by Alan Dance

When did The Crown open ?
The building, on Church Street in Beeston, we now know of as The Crown probably became associated with beer some time between about 1835 and 1841, although the building itself probably dates from about 1800. Our photograph shows the main building and associated buildings to the rear as they were in the mid 1970s, prior to a major renovation in 1977.

Crown Inn The first piece of documentary evidence discovered so far is in the 1841 census for Beeston, which lists SAMUEL STARR, aged 35, of Church Street, as a ‘common brewer’, although there is no indication that Samuel also sold beer on the premises. White’s Trade Directory of 1832 included no reference to a pub or beerhouse on Church Street, but Pigots directory of 1835 lists a Samuel Starr as the licensee of the Seven Stars in Barker Gate Nottingham. If this is the same man (and the name is quite unusual) then he probably moved to Beeston between 1835 and 1841. Whites 1844 Directory lists amongst the tradesmen of Beeston: Samuel Starr of Church Street, ‘auctioneer and beerhouse.’

Samuel Starr, of Church Street, appears in the 1851 census, this time listed as a ‘Brewer and Inn Keeper’, so it can be stated with certainty that the Crown was in existence as a pub by that date (although no name is shown for the pub.). Both White’s Directory of 1853 and Wright’s Directory of 1854 list a beerhouse on Church Street owned by Samuel Starr. Kelly’s Directory of 1855 shows that William Foster was then the beer retailer in Church Street, and trade directories of the 1860s indicate other persons named Foster were licensees, presumably members of the same family. Meanwhile, Samuel Starr had moved on to other business ventures, and the 1861 census shows him living in Willoughby Street, Beeston, next to the Methodist Chapel, his profession being that of ‘proprietor of houses.’

The above information therefore indicates that Samuel Starr can be recognised as the man who established The Crown as one of Beeston’s pubs. He had been brewing beer on the premises since at least 1841. As a ‘common brewer’ he would have sold his beer to anyone wishing to purchase it for consumption at home. Whether any of the other established pubs in Beeston also purchased it for sale on their own premises is not known. Then, in about the mid 1840s, he also started selling it for consumption on his own premises. This would have been made easy due to the passing of the 1830 Beerhouse Act.

The 1830 Beerhouse Act - This act was passed primarily in an attempt to 'reduce public drunkenness'. It introduced a new lower tier of premises licensed to sell alcohol, known as Beer Houses. At that time beer was regarded as harmless, nutritious and even healthy, certainly safer than the local water which was often unfit to drink. Even young children were given what was known as ‘small beer,’ brewed with a low alcohol content. Under this Act, any householder who paid rates could apply, with a one-off payment of two guineas (£2.10p), to sell beer or cider in his home, often from one room, and even brew his own beer. However, the sale of spirits and fortified wines was not permitted in a beer house, and only established Inns were allowed to sell these. The Act led to an explosion of new licensed premises throughout the country, and within eight years over 46,000 had been opened. It is likely, then, that Samuel Starr took advantage of this Act to begin brewing beer as a commercial venture, and then later to open his house as a pub.

Crown Yard There are earlier records which refer to pubs in Beeston. All Inns had to be licensed, and the Nottinghamshire Archives Office houses the existing licence details for Nottinghamshire for the years 1810 to 1827. These give details of the annual licence granted to each Inn, showing the name of the licensee. These records identify four established pubs, The White Lion, The Three Horseshoes, The Greyhound and The Durham Ox. Significantly, these records contain no reference to the Crown or to Samuel Starr. This gives further support to the theory that The Crown was a result of the 1830 Beerhouse Act.

To summarise, the Crown was certainly a beerhouse by 1844, and possibly a few years earlier, although definite evidence for this has not yet been found.

Was The Crown a Coaching Inn ? - It has been suggested that the Crown was an old coaching inn, but there is no evidence to support this supposition. The suggestion was probably based on the fact that there used to be a vehicular entrance off Church Street leading to the rear of the premises. The photograph on the left shows the view from the yard, looking through the arch. This was in use until May 1977 when work commenced on building the lounge, blocking this entrance, leaving just an outline of its location. However, although it was possible to drive a car through this gateway, it was never large enough for a typical stagecoach to pass through. Additionally, the era of the stage coach rapidly came to an end as the railways were built. Beeston Station opened in 1839, so that any stage coaches serving Beeston would have ceased soon after this. Indeed, there is little, if any, evidence of any pub in Beeston having been a coaching Inn.

This account of the history of the Crown, has been kindly provided by Alan Dance.
It first appeared in a 'Beeston Echoes', the magazine of Beeston & District Local History Society.

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