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The Horseshoes Public House Eggington

The Horseshoes Public House (formerly Three Horseshoes): High Street, Eggington

The Curry Garden and Horseshoes January 2013
The Curry Garden and Horseshoes January 2013

The Horseshoes has a long history, the first reference to it being in the countywide licensing register of 1822 [CLP13]. Sadly there are not many records held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service because the owners were out-county breweries. The countywide licensing register of 1876 notes that the owner was brewer Charles Meacher of Watford [Hertfordshire], who leased to Ivinghoe brewers Roberts and Wilson who had, in fact, taken his company over. Roberts and Wilson, in their turn, were taken over by Watford brewers Benskins in 1927. This company was purchased by Ind Coope in 1957 which merged with another firm to form Allied Breweries in 1961. This, in turn, merged with J. J. Lyons in 1978, becoming Allied Lyons; the brewery operation then merged with Carlsberg in 1992.

The countywide licensing register of 1903 reported that the public house was clean and in good repair. It stood 110 yards from the nearest licensed premises, the only other one in Eggington, the Plough, and had one front, one side and one back door.

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. The valuer visiting the Horseshoes [DV1/C174/91] on 31st March 1927 found that the tenant, Francis Wright, paid £6 per annum rent to Roberts and Wilson, the licence being £9 per annum.

The building comprised a tap room (“good, licensed”), a sitting room (“licensed”), a kitchen, a lean-to brick and tiled cellar and a bar measuring 5 feet by 9 feet with three bedrooms upstairs. Outside were a weather-boarded and slated stable (“used Ducks and Coal”) and an old weather-boarded and corrugated iron pigsty (“dilapidated”).

Although the Horsehoues was fully-licensed there was “very little trade”. Consumption was two eighteen gallon barrels of beer and six dozen bottles of beer per fortnight. Takings were about £175 per annum. The valuer commented: “No trade in Winter” though the pub was “Well situated”. The tenant “has other work”. Another hand has commented: “Poor place. Few buildings around. Very good draw up. Green in front”.

The Women’s Institute of Eggington compiled a scrapbook in 1965 and L. T. Davis, husband of licensee Marjorie, wrote about the pub on 8th November that year [X351/30]: “Unfortunately, I have no accurate information as to the actual age of the premises, but I would think the building would be at least 150 years old and it appears to have been converted from two or three old cottages … The Saloon Bar is known locally as the “Toffee Nosed Bar”, and we have visitors from many places. Very few locals use the Saloon Bar and very few visitors go to the Public side of the house”.

“The difference between these two bars is the cost of the drinks and the furnishings; the Public Bar has plain chairs and a composition covered floor and the Saloon is more refined with special lighting, carpets on the floor, brass ware and special mugs and glasses etc., the price difference in favour of the Public Bar is about 12%. The price of beer ranges from approximately 9d. per half pint to 2s. for a special Barley Wine. Spirits, liqueurs and wines cost about 2s. 4d. to 3s. 1d. per measure”.

“There is a wide range of food available to the customer such as steak and kidney pies, chicken pies, Cornish pasties, Eggington Pies, prawns, eels, scampi and sandwiches of many kinds. The ingredients of the Eggington Pie are a secret”.

“There is a pet horse on the strength known as ‘Bimbo’. Underneath his name which is over the Stable Door is the warning “He Bites”. This has been the cause of much good humour and we even had a caller asking to see Bimbo’s stable mate ‘Hebitus’”.

“The opening hours are from 10 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. until 10.30 p.m. or 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The beer is delivered in barrels of 9, 18 and 36 gallons capacity and placed in the cellar and forced up to the dispense points with C.O2. gas. The temperature to keep the beer in good condition is between 56-58° F”.

“As far as my wife is concerned the Public House is a full time job. I am engaged on the Design of Engineering Work and from this you will gather that the profits derived from the business are insufficient to support a married couple to present day standards. This can be said to be the pattern of the majority of village pubs”.

Early in the 21st century the old pub became a Thai and then an Indian restaurant. At the time of writing [2013] it is known as the Curry Garden and Horseshoes.

References:

  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • BO1350/1-5: meeting regarding inclosure at the Three Horseshoes: 1837;
  • PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • X351/30: brief history in a Women’s Institute scrapbook: 1965

Licencees: 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

1822-1827: Elizabeth Church;
1828: Samuel Marks;
1837: Eliza Ellingham, widow;
1847: George Horn;
1853-1854: William Lancaster;
1864: David Lancaster;
1869-1885: Charles Dudley;
1890: William Tillett;
1894: Alfred Leach;
1898: William Henry Price;
1903-1904: William Bates;
1904-1905: Arthur Blake;
1905-1908: Alfred Talmadge;
1908-1933: Francis Wright;
1933-1934: Mabel Frances Wright;
1934-1954: John Henry Pope;
1954-1956: Isabella Pope;
1956: Reginald John Short;
1964-1968: Marjory Davis;
1968-1974: Donald Wilson Lawson;
1974-1977: Andrew Ramsey;
1977-1990: Kenneth Millar Blair;
1990: Irene Leng;
1990-1991: William John Plumbe;
1991-1993: George Edward Walker;
1993: Rex Thomas Draper