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The White Hart Public House Ridgmont

White Hart and High Street about 1900 [Z50/95/46]
White Hart and High Street about 1900 [Z50/95/46]

The White Hart: 44 High Street, Ridgmont 

For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Ridgmont had three public houses on the High Street, the Rose & Crown, Red Lion and White Hart. The White Hart was the westernmost of the three and is now a private house.

The earliest mention of the property in any documents held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is on the Ridgmont inclosure map of 1799 [MA15] and in the accompanying Ridgmont inclosure award of 1803 [ABookE] when it was described as owned by William Morris and Joseph Bennell for the heir of Robert Kent. It stood on one rood, twenty three poles of land.

By 1827 the White Hart was owned by Ampthill brewers John and Joseph Morris. It is described in an inventiory of their properties [Z1043/1] as: "The White Hart, freehold public house, occupied by Norman Francis, with a capital stable for five horses, garden and a small close of land containing about an acre;  outgoings - Land Tax 9 shillings".

The public house continued in Morris & Company ownership until the firm was taken over by J.W.Green Limited, the Luton brewers in 1927 [CCE5304/3]. In the same year a valuation of the premises was made under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act, which laid down that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer found [DV1/C54/149] a brick and tile detached building, it comprised a smoke room ("nice"), kitchen, tap room and bar downstairs with three bedrooms above (with a note in brackets that this became two bedrooms and a bathroom). Outside the premises comprised a coachhouse, barn and washhouse and garage ("cobble floor, no pit"); it was on mains drainage with water from London & Devon Estates (now Bedford Settled Estates) and had a telephone.

Takings were £92 per annum for sale of a barrel of beer a week and half a gallon of spirits a month. Its principal problem was its competition as summed up ruthlessly by the valuer: "Ought to be much better but killed by personality of tenant at page 89 [the Red Lion]", the tenant at the White Hart was an "old Navy man with pension". The old navy man also owned a shop in the High Street which was run by a Miss Rogers, whom Kelly's Directory reveals to have been Grace Rogers, a greengrocer.

J.W.Green merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and, although the senior partner, took the Flowers name. The list of licensees in Ampthill RDC licensing records extends to 1959. Soon after this the public house closed as, on 20th November 1964, the premises was sold by Whitbread, which had taken Flowers over in 1962, to the Bedford & Ouse Valley Land Company Limited. Today the former public house is a private house.

In 2010 the former White Hart was for sale. The sale particulars [Z449/5/29] outlined the rooms as follows: two cellars beneath the ground floor measuring 12 feet 11 inches by 7 feet 11 inches and 14 feet 1 inch by 9 feet respectively; a family room measuring 19 feet 5 inches by 14 feet 3 inches; a kitchen measuring 12 feet 4 inches by 8 feet 7 inches; a dining room measuring 16 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 11 inches; a sitting room measuring 15 feet 8 inches by 11 feet 10 inches; a utility room measuring 11 feet 7 inches by 7 feet 7 inches with a W. C. and a study measuring 16 feet 1 inch by 8 feet 2 inches. Upstairs were four bedrooms measuring, respectively, 16 feet 2 inches square, with en-suite facilities; 12 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 5 inches; 13 feet 4 inches by 9 feet 10 inches (with en-suite facilities) and 11 feet 9 inches by 9 feet 6 inches.

former White Hart Ridgmont Feb 2007
former White Hart in February 2007

References:

  • MA15: Ridgmont inclosure map: 1799;
  • ABookE: Ridgmont inclosure award: 1803;
  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822 - 1828;
  • Z1043/1: listed in inventory of John & Joseph Morris of Ampthill, brewers: Jun 1827;
  • X21/629: conveyance of properties from Joseph Morris to devisees under the will of John Morris, deceased: 1828;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP1: conveyed, with other properties, to John Morris of Ampthill, brewer: Dec 1831;
  • SF51/4: auction sale of furniture held at White Hart: 1860;
  • SF51/5: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1862;
  • SF51/9: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1864;
  • SF51/13: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1865;
  • SF51/14: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1865;
  • SF51/11: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1865;
  • SF51/10: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1865;
  • SF51/1: auction sale of property held at White Hart: 1867;
  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP2: mortgaged by John Thomas Green: 1882;
  • CCE5304/1 and WB/M/4/1/VP8: conveyed, with others, to Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1907;
  • Z49/937: photograph of cart with logs outside inn: c.1910;
  • Z49/938: photograph of inn: c.1910;
  • Z50/95/46: photograph from west: c.1910;
  • WB/M/4/2/1-2: listed in inventories Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1926;
  • WB/Green4/2/2: ledger detailing payments to landlords for premises etc. by J.W.Green Limited: 1927-1953;
  • CCE5304/3: conveyed, with others, to J.W.Green Limited: 1926;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: details in trade analysis register of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: list of properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WBGreen4/2/5: list of properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1936;
  • WW2/AR/CA/1/1/4: room requisitioned as ARP Warden's Post (later transferred): c.1940-1941;
  • PSW3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1949-1953;
  • WBGreen4/2/9: list of properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1949;
  • WBGreen4/2/10: schedule of deeds of J.W.Green Limited: c.1949;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Ri/WH1-2: photographs: 1950s;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Form: 1951;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: list of premises of J.W.Green Limited: 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: list of premises of J.W.Green: 1952-1972;
  • WBGreen4/2/18: certificate of title to certain properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1954;
  • WBGreen4/2/19: listed in various loose schedules of deeds of properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1954;
  • CCE5304/3: memorandum of conveyance to Bedford & Ouse Valley Land Company Limited: 1964.

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

1822-1847: Norman Francis;
1854: Elizabeth Francis;
1862-1882: Thomas Brown;
1882-1886: Elizabeth Brown;
1886-1887: Frederick Seabrook;
1887-1889: John Favell;
1889-1890: Henry James Welch;
1889-1890: John Parker Bird;
1890-1891: John Dix;
1891-1897: Joseph Arnall;
1897-1898: John William Arnall;
1998-1901: Charlotte Arnall;
1901-1902: Edward Robert Pratt;
1902-1911: George Robert Sharp;
1911-1913: James Frederick Goodchild;
1913: Fred Inchley;
1913-1920: William Ricketts;
1920-1950: Joseph Corbett;
1950-1959: Lilian Annie Corbett (Pratt from 12th March 1951)