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The Woolpack Public House Shefford

Woolpack about 1920
Woolpack about 1920 - Z1306-101

Woolpack Public House: 2 Hitchin Road, Shefford

This public house is first mentioned in anything held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service in the 1851 census. It was owned by John James Weston who sold his business in 1875 and the Woolpack, like the Fox & Duck, also in Clifton, was purchased by Mansel Millard, a brewer in Meppershall who leased it first to George Loake then to William Cranfield in 1885, next came Pryor Reid & Company of Hatfield [Hertfordshire], it is unclear whether they became owners of were lessors. The firm was bought out by Benskins Brewery of Watford in 1907 and the public house was sold to J.W.Green Limited of Luton in 1919; this firm merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and took the Flowers name. Flowers was taken over by Whitbread in 1962. Like the rest of this eat end of Shefford the Woolpack was in Clifton until boundary changes in 1933.

In 1875 when Weston sold his business the Woolpack was described [WG2563] as: "a well-built and slated FREEHOLD OLD-LICENSED DWELLING HOUSE, situate at the junction of the Clifton and Meppershall Roads, close to the town of Shefford, KNOWN AS THE "WOOL PACK", NOW IN TENURE OF RICHARD MAYS. It contains in the basement a sunk cellar, kitchen with sink, copper and pump; on the ground floor - a sitting room or parlour, tap room, bar and pantry with 4 good bed rooms, also a lean-to slated shed, a range of timber-built and tiled buildings used as workshops &c., with a brick-built blacksmith's forge, timber-built and pantiled closet and shed, with roomy yard, and piece of garden, gateway entrance from the Clifton road, being bounded on the South by property of Mr.Mays and Mr.Barcock, and possessing extensive frontages to the before-mentioned roads. The House is most pleasantly situate, and is capable from its position of doing a good business both in beer and spirits".

In 1927 most of Clifton was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and property in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting the Woolpack [DV1/C229] noted it was "fairly modern, at junction of Hitchin and Arlesey roads". The building was of brick and slate and comprised a living room, scullery, tap room ["fair"], bar parlour with two pulls ["fair"], with underground cellars and, above, three bedrooms and a bathroom; a stable was outside. At the time of his visit the landlord was in hospital he "saw brother-in-law, does not know rent". Trade was about two barrels of beer a week and six of seven dozen half pint bottles as well as a gallon of spirits.

Woolpack January 2008 
Woolpack January 2008

Sources:

  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • WG2563: sale particulars of Biggleswade Brewery and premises including Woolpack: 1875;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • WJ150: lease for 21 years from Mansell Millard of Meppershall, brewer to William Cranfield of brewery in Clifton, Fox & Duck and Woolpack: 1885;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: incomplete register of successive tenants: 1887-1926;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP3: conveyed by Pryor Reid & Company Limited to J.W.Green Limited: 1919;
  • DV1/C229: rating valuation: 1927;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title of J.W.Green properties: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/8: Schedule of Deeds and Documents regarding properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter as to titles to J.W.Green Limited properties: 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: trust deed of J.W.Green Limited including all properties: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: loose schedules of deeds and documents referring to J.W.Green properties: c.1954;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of J.W.Green Limited private houses: 1954;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Shef/W1-3: exterior photographs: 1960s;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP3: memorandum of conveyance of 75 square yards of property from Flowers Breweries Limited to Bedfordshire County Council: 1961;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP3: memorandum of conveyance of 64 square yards of property from Flowers Breweries Limited to Bedfordshire County Council: 1963;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980.

List of Licensees:

Note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1851: Thomas Stevens;
1872-1875: Richard Mayes;
1875-1883: William Goss;
1883-1888: Thomas Howard;
1888-1892: William Lambert;
1892-1898: Abraham Dawson;
1898-1901: George Newman;
1901-1905: James Pawson;
1905-1906: William Hare;
1906-1908: Hannah Hare;
1908-1914: Francis Robinson Wallis;
1914-1927: James George Cufley
1931-1940: Arthur Foster;
1940: William J Walton;
1954: H.Berry;
1957-1961: Norman Walton;
1961-1963: Arthur George Butler;
1963-1964: Herbert Francis Glass;
1964-1968: Michael John Brown;
1968-1970: Ernest Arthur Dennis;
1970: Frederick Imber;
1977-1980: Leonard James Spiers;
1980: William John Jackson