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The Swan Public House Flitwick

The Swan about 1925 [WL800-5]
The Swan about 1925 [WL800/5]

The Swan Public House: 1 Dunstable Road, Flitwick

In 1899 the old Swan Inn closed and the license was transferred to a nearby house by Bedford brewers Charles Wells Limited. 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 Swan [DV1/C129/116] found that the tenant, G E Church, paid rent of £22 per annum to Charles Wells. He commented: “Rather imposing-looking, was two old cottages knocked into one”.

The public rooms comprised: a bar (“good, 3 pulls”); jug department; parlour (“good”) and “No. 3 Room; very seldom used”. Private accommodation comprised a living room, a kitchen and a scullery with four bedrooms and a box room upstairs. There was a basement cellar. Outside was: a brick and tiled three-stall stable; a brick and tiled washhouse and barn; a wood, brick and tiled general store shed; a wood, brick and tiled bicycle room (“charged 6d a week for sheltering”), a wood, brick and tiled garage for two cars.

Trade was one barrel of beer per week, one gallon of spirits per week, twelve dozen pint bottles of beer and Guiness per week and four dozen half-pint bottles of minerals per week. The valuer noted: “Does not know gross takings. After speaking to Mr Church I come to the conclusion that barrelage is underestimated. Near to station”. He then calculated trade as 1½ barrels “at least”, the remainder being as described.

At the time of writing [2017] the Swan remains a Charles Wells house. It is one of just three of the older pubs left in Flitwick.

The Swan April 2017
The Swan April 2017

Sources:

  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • HN2/B3/76 - Correspondence and agreements re sale of land to Charles Wells and transfer of licence from the Swan to new house to be constructed by Wells near the Station. 1899
  • WL800/5 p.17: photograph: c.1925;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Form: 1950;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s
  • Z536/20: newspaper cutting "Highwaymen at Swan Inn": 1965;
  • PSA5/5: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1968-1995;
  • WL722/19: photograph in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1977;
  • WL722/77: refit at Swan announced in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1994

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1895-1904: William Joy;
1904: Fanny Joy;
1904-1921: William Charles Short;
1921-1934: George Edmund Church;
1934-1940: Major Crawley;
1940-1968: Arthur George Head;
1968-1971: Jeffrey Lewis Cooper;
1971-1988: Sidney Frederick George Pakes;
1988: Paul Frederick Underwood and Kenneth Fraser Martin;
1988-1990: Barry James Warner and Andrew Mitchell;
1990: Barry James Warner and Clive Hedges;
1990-1992: Barry James Warner and John Harold Lawrence;
1992-1993: John Harold Lawrence and Richard William Turner;
1993-1994: John Harold Lawrence and Christopher William Goodwin;
1994: William Graham Harris and Christopher William Goodwin;
1994: Michael Renton and Christopher William Goodwin;
1994-1996: Michael Kenneth Sheldon and Christopher William Goodwin;
1996: Raymond Radford and Peter Grazier