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The Red Lion Public House Stanbridge

The former Red Lion October 2008
The former Red Lion October 2008

The Red Lion Public House: 111 Tilsworth Road, Stanbridge

The Red Lion public house stood right by parish boundary with Tilsworth, on the north side of Tilsworth Road. The countywide register of licensed premises of 1876 notes that it was first licensed in 1836. The Red Lion was, at that date, owned by Joseph Scott who, in 1849, sold it to Dunstable brewer Benjamin Bennett [X95/298]. In 1853 the public house was said to have a trade of 250 barrels of beer per annum [X95/304], five times greater than that 74 years later [see below]. Benjamin Bennett's brewery and licensed premises were bought by Luton brewer Thomas Sworder in the 1850s. Sworder always struggled to make the business pay, weighed down by his wastrel brother Robert until he bought him out and then nearly bankrupted by unwise speculation in malt. However, he carried on and eventually retired from the business in 1897. The business was bought by Luton rival J.W.Green and the Red Lion remained in the ownership of this company until it merged with Warwickshire brewery Flowers and took the Flowers name in 1954. In 1962 Flowers Brewery was bought by Whitbread Limited.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 ordered every piece of land and building in the country to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Stanbridge was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Red Lion [DV1/C97/125] noted that it occupied 0.150 acres and the tenant paid J.W.Green Limited £16 per annum rent. The building was described as brick and slate and semi-detached.

The accommodation comprised a bar, tap room, smoking room, cellar, living room and four bedrooms. Outside stood a weather boarded and tiled earth closet, a weather boarded and tiled "good" shed ["well built place"], four weather boarded and corrugated iron open hovels, stables and a store shed.

Trade was estimated at fifty barrels of beer and eleven gallons of spirits, ninety seven dozen bottles of ale and stout per annum and two dozen bottles of minerals per week. Takings were a healthy £370 per annum.

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not have licensing records for this area later than 1956. Information from villagers indicates that the public house closed in the late 1990s. The building is now a private house, the last one on the north side of the road before Tilsworth.

References:

  • X95/298: schedule of appointment by Joseph Scott of John Holton and another: 1839;
  • X95/298: schedule of appointment by John Holton of Joseph Scott and another: 1843;
  • X95/298: schedule of conveyance by Joseph Scott and another to Benjamin Bennett: 1849;
  • X95/291/48: rough notes: 1851;
  • X95/304: trade 250 barrels of beer per annum: 1853;
  • Z660/D/1/1: mortgage of brewery and licensed premises by Thomas Sworder to Thomas Foster and Edmund Waller Vyse: 1857;
  • 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;
  • X95/234: copy agreement between Thomas Sworder of Luton and Thomas Sworder of Hertford: 1962;
  • Z210/81: draft agreement between Thomas Sworder of Luton and Thomas Sworder of Hertford: 1873;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: list of successive tenants: 1887-1926;
  • X95/313-314 and WB/S4/1/1/5: sale catalogues of T.Sworder & Company: 1897;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP1 and X95/315: conveyance of brewery and licensed premises by T.Sworder & Company to J.W.Green: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: record of properties purchased by J.W.Green from T.Sworder & Company: 1897;
  • BML10/67/32: inventory and valuation: 1909;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: J.W.Green Limited trade analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of J.W.Green Limited deeds and documents: c.1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter regarding titles of J.W.Green Limited: 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed premises of J.W.Green Limited: c.1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: second schedule of J.W.Green Limited trust deed: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: various loose schedules of J.W.Green Limited deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Sta/RL1-2: photographs: 1960s;
  • Z1309/1/22b: drawing of Red Lion: 1987;
  • Z1309/1/22a: drawing of Red Lion: 1990

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:

1876: John Inns;
1877: George William Olney;
1908: William Edwin Olney;
1917: Rose Agnes Olney;
1919: William Edwin Olney;
1937: Rose Agnes Olney;
1938: Philip Arthur Olney;
1967: Jack Sidney Hines and Edwin Mayes;
1970: Sidney Ernest Caunter Dart;
1983: George William Pettifer;
1984: Anthony Bright and Jean Lilian Elizabeth Bright;
1986: Steven Banfather and Rita Lesley Banfather;
1992: Steven Banfather and Gerald Patrick Keane;
1992: Steven Banfather and Paul Andrew Hurdle.