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The Dukes Head Beerhouse Aspley Guise

former Dukes Head January 2008
The former Duke's Head January 2008

The Duke's Head Beerhouse: corner of West Hill and Duke Street, Aspley Guise

This beerhouse is first mentioned in records held at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service on 30 Sep 1876 when it was conveyed from John Thomas Green, the Woburn solicitor to William Pritzler Newland, the Bedford brewer then in partnership with F.T.Young. This partnership ended when Young sold out in 1878. In 1890 Newland went into partnership with Susan Nash, widow of the Bedford brewer W.J.Nash, to form Newland & Nash. This firm merged with the Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch in 1922, with a final integration in 1938 after which time the firm was known as Wells & Winch until its take over by Greene King of Bury St.Edmunds in 1961. The Duke's Head had, however, closed as a beerhouse in 1953 after which time it the building was used as a private house and greengrocery business, though by the 1990s the latter had closed. The author remembers as a child in the 1960s that when one knocked on the side door the owner, Mrs. Jones, would come to the door with an usherette's tray on which were various sweets for sale.

In 1927 this part of Bedfordshire was valued under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and property was inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. At that time it consisted of a small tap room, small kitchen, small smoke room and a lounge downstairs, with a cellar beneath containing three thirty six gallon gallons of beer; upstairs were four bedrooms. Outside were a washhouse, WC, coachhouse and stable. Rent was £15 per annum, unchanged from 1914. On average the pub got through a barrel of beer per week with two or three dozen bottles of beer and stout. The premises had mains water and drains and gas was laid on.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list ; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

1886: Benjamin Mummery;
1886-1887: Sarah Mummery;
1887-1906: John Everitt;
1906-1952: George Kilpin.
Beerhouse closed 1953

List of Sources at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service:

  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • GK152/10: beerhouse conveyed, with Royal Oak, Aspley Heath from John Thomas Green to William Pritzler Newland: 30 Sep 1876;
  • GK119/4 and GK152/11: mortgaged, with Royal Oak, Aspley Heath, by W.P.Newland to raise £1,200: 9 May 1877 (mortgage redeemed 1 May 1891);
  • GK3/1a: conveyed, with other properties, to Newland & Nash Limited (tenant John Everett): 13 Aug 1897;
  • GK3/1b: conveyed, with other properties, in trust deed to raise stock for Newland & Nash Limited: 14 Aug 1897;
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds noted covering period 1877-1891: 1936;
  • GK297/2: conveyed, with other properties, from Newland & Nash Limited to Wells & Winch Limited: 1938;
  • PSW3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1949-1953;
  • PSW3/37: licence not being renewed (i.e. closure of public house): Feb 1953