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The Black Horse Public House Ireland

Black Horse March 2008
Black Horse March 2008

Black Horse Public House: Ireland

This public house has been a feature of life in Ireland for longer than might be expected. It is first mentioned in any document held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service in a register of alehouse licences of 1822 [CLP13]. This, unfortunately, knocks on the head a story that the public house was especially built to quench the thirst of navvies building the railway line through Southill in the mid 1850s. There can be no doubt that it is the Black Horse in Ireland which was in existence in 1822, rather than the Black Horse at Broom as the licensing register of 1872 notes that the Black Horse in Ireland had been licensed for "over 50 years" whilst that at Broom had only been licensed since 1851.

The building formed part of the Whitbread Estate and between 1890 and 1895 a number bills involved in repairs and alterations were listed in an estate ledger [W4040 page 166]. The public house was leased by Bedford brewers Higgins and Sons, as it is included in premises transferred from the brothers who were the two managing directors to the limited company in 1902.

In 1927 buildings in Southill were valued under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid upon it. The valuer visiting the Black Horse discovered [DV1/C32] that the public house stood in 0.818 acres, was of plaster and tile construction and comprised a small parlour, small kitchen, passage, tap room and two bedrooms above; outside were a wood and tile barn stable for three horses, cart shed, pigsty and "old buildings". Trade was hardly brisk, as might be imagined in such a location, at a barrel and a half of beer per month and between three and five cases of "bottled stuff" in the same period depending on whether it was winter or summer'; about a gallon and a half of spirits were sold in a month. Te valuer commented: "Small inn. Old, Fair repair, sheds bad. Water from main".

Today [2008] the public house is in the hands of the owners of the The Birch at Woburn.

Black Horse Public House April 2007
Black Horse Public House April 2007

Sources:

  • CLP13: register of alehouse licenses: 1822-1828;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • W4040 p.166: repairs and alterations mentioned in estate improvement ledger: 1890-1895;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • GK1/36: sale catalogue: 1898;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • GK4/4: agreement for transfer of all properties by Laurence Read Colbourne Higgins and Cecil Charles Norman Colbourne Higgins to Higgins and Sons Limited: 1902;
  • BTNegOB5/14: photograph of Ireland, The Black Horse, Joseph Watford proprietor: c.1920;
  • DV1/C32: rating valuation: 1927;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
  • PCSouthill9/29: Notice of Transfer of Licence: 1987;
  • PCSouthill 18/35: plans for conversion of stable: 1987;
  • PCSouthill18/40: plans for function room conversion: 1988.

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:

1822-1824:  William Nash;
1824-1828: William Garner;
1841: James Devonshire;
1851: Daniel Garner;
1872-1875: Samuel Balls;
1875-1885: Amy Balls;
1885-1901: Samuel Wilson;
1901-1936: Joseph Watford;
1940: William Charles Percy Haynes;
1945: William Charles Percy Haynes and Ellen Haynes
1940-1960: William Charles Percy Haynes;
1960-1969: Henry Richard James Graham;
1969-1982: Brian Geoffrey Greenbank;
1982-1983: Patrick Joseph Callaghan;
1983-1987: Patrick Joseph Callaghan and Brian Winner;
1987-1995: Gordon Richard Long and Roy Stanley Robert Warde.