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The Hope and Anchor Public House Eaton Bray

Cafe Masala July 2012
Cafe Masala July 2012

The Hope and Anchor Public House: 63 Bower Lane, Eaton Bray.

The Hope and Anchor was a longstanding licensed premises in Eaton Bray, standing in Bower Lane. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the property, then a beerhouse, was first licensed in 1862. The tenant was Richard Fountain, who is listed as a beer retailer in Eaton Bray from at least 1853 in directories, in other words, nine years before the Hope and Anchor was supposedly licensed. This suggests that he was the first licensee and either that he ran a beerhouse in another location before moving to the Hope and Anchor or the date given in 1876 is wrong!

The 1876 register states that the owner was Sarah Simpson of Dunstable. Sarah was the owner of the North Western Brewery in High Street North, Dunstable. Her husband ran the brewery until his death in 1869 and may have been the brewery’s founder. Rowland Cutler was Sarah Simpson’s manager and is listed as her tenant in the 1876 register. He bought the company the following year but in 1887 he and his partner (taken as such in 1885) Henry Henchman sold out to Leighton Buzzard brewer W. S. Green who was dead within the year and the business was taken over by Dunstable rival Benjamin Bennett who is listed as the owner in the countywide register of 1891.

The countywide register of 1903 still gives the owner as Benjamin Bennett. The beerhouse is described as: “clean and in good repair”. It had two front doors and two back doors and was 96 yards from nearest licensed premises.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Like most of the county Eaton Bray was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Hope and Anchor [DV1/C203/22] found it still owned by the trustees of Benjamin Bennett. The tenant, Ann Rollings, paid rent of £5 per annum.

The valuer considered that the beerhouse was a “Poor looking place”. The front door was up four steps and the ground floor comprised a tap room, a cellar, a living room, a scullery and a washhouse; three bedrooms lay above. Outside stood a brick and corrugated iron hen house (“was barn”) and a two bay open shed. Business was reasonable – forty barrels of beer per year. The valuer noted that there was a good garden and that the property had originally been three cottages.

Benjamin Bennett’s business was taken over by Whitechapel [Middlesex] brewers Mann Crossman and Paulin in 1938. Twenty years later the company merged with Watney, Combe, Reid and Company to form Watney Mann. At some stage the beerhouse received a full licence as a public house – probably in the early 1950s when most Bedfordshire beerhouses seem to have changed to public houses.

By the time of writing [2012] the former public house has closed and followed the path many former pubs in the county by becoming a restaurant. In this case the restaurant, Café Masala, serves Indian food.

Cafe Masala side view July 2012
Cafe Masala side view July 2012

General references:

  • PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSLB4/2: Lists of Licensed Premises - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956;
  • PSLB4/4: Register of Licensed Premises - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1967-1992;
  • PCEatonBray30/1: changes of licensee: 1983-1988;
  • PCEatonBray12/9: correspondence regarding proposed purchase of part of the land at the Hope and Anchor to extend the burial ground: 1983-1985;
  • PCEatonBray30/3: changes of licensee: 1986-1991;
  • PCEatonBray18/22: plans of proposed alterations: 1993;
  • PCEatonBray30/2: change of licensee: 1993;
  • Z1309/1/5: drawing by Gill Richards: 1994.

Licensees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:

1862-1884: Richard Fountain;
1884-1886: Jabez Fountain;
1886: James Fountain;
1890-1919: William Rollings;
1919-1934: Ann Rollings;
1934: Harold Rollings;
1934-1938: Horace William Rollings;
1938-1939: Charles Henry Pearman;
1939-1940: Charles Dollimore;
1940-1943: Arthur Edward Smith;
1943-1946: John William Edwards;
1946-1953: Nelson Cox;
1953-1956: George Edward Wiseman;
1976-1983: Peter Kenneth Savory;
1983-1986: Peter Kenneth Savory and Beatrice Ann Savory;
1986: Stephen Thomas Cook and Douglas Nigel Gair;
1986-1988: Vernon Edward Penn-Gritten and Stephen Thomas Cook;
1988-1989: Roland Verrall and Stephen Thomas Cook;
1989-1991: Stephen Thomas Cook and Jacqui Galvin;
1991-1993: Jacqui Galvin;
1993: Robin James Booth;
1993: Michael Todd and Ann Mary Todd.