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The Fir Tree Public House Aspley Heath

 

Fir Tree Aspley Heath modern photograph
The Fir Tree in March 2006

Fir Tree Public House: corner of Woburn Road, Aspley Heath and Aspley Hill, Aspley Guise

On 20 May 1829 three cottages and brewhouse, woodbarn, stable and hovel "lately built" with brickyard and garden were conveyed from John Patrick Moore to James Young. This was the beginning of the Fir Tree public house. By the time it was conveyed to Francis Lee and Mary, his wife, on 3 Dec 1850 it was called the Fir Tree and was occupied by Jonathan Putman. The Lees sold the premises to Alfred Smith, a cattle dealer, for £600 on 3 May 1867 and he, in turn, sold it to the Newport Pagnell brewers Allfrey & Lovell for £700 on 27 Jul 1876. Allfrey & Lovell then sold it to Charles Wells Limited for £800 in 1927 and at the time of writing [2005] it remains a Charles Wells public house.

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 bar (with two beer pulls), skittle room, snug, smoke room and bar parlour downstairs with a cellar with two barrels (one nine the other eighteen gallons) in it. Upstairs were a commercial room, four bedrooms (two for letting) and a bathroom and WC. Outside were a conservatory, urinal and WC, lavatory, harness room, four stables with a loft over, three bay open shed with a large room above to which gas had been laid on and which was let out two nights a week to Woburn Sands Band for 1/6 per night. Takings were noted as £624 per annum though the valuer has annotated here "this must be wrong". Rent was £25 per annum. No figures for beer consumption are given but it is noted that the Swan opposite sold four or five barrels of beer per week.

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:

1850: Jonathan Putman;
1888: Charles Furncock;

1888-1889: Walter Bailey;
1889-1913: Benjamin Garrett;
1913-1914: Henry Wynn Charles;
1914-1924: George Alexander;
1924-1927: Francis Robert Beresford;
1927-1928: Tom Saville;
1928: William Donnelly;
1928-1929: John Henry Osborne King;
1929-1938: Harold Clements;
1938-1951: Sydney Hughes;
1951-1953: Albert Fred Jenkins

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

  • Z815/1: History: 1758-1993;
  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • CDE195/1: plans for alterations made for Allfrey & Lovell: 1897;
  • Z818/112-113 and 115: photographs: early C20;
  • WL800/2: photograph: c.1925;
  • Z145/310: official guide to Woburn Sands includes photograph: c.1929-1935;
  • PSW3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1949-1953
  • Z1105/1: noted in Liquor Licence Traders Survey: 1961;
  •  X395/19 and 29: research notes on history: 1968;
  • WL722/6: issue of Charles Wells Limited in-house magazine "Pint Pot" with photograph of 1915 postcard: 1972
  • WL722/28: issue of Charles Wells Limited in-house magazine "Pint Pot" with feature on Fir Tree: 1980;
  • WL722/85: issue of Charles Wells Limited in-house magazine "Pint Pot" with feature on research on Fir Tree by licensee's son, Paul Cox: 1996;
  • WL722/100: issue of Charles Wells Limited in-house magazine "Pint Pot" with article on refurbishment: 2000;
  • WL722/101: issue of Charles Wells Limited in-house magazine "Pint Pot" with obituary of John Cox, former licensee: 2000