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The Oddfellows Arms Public House Toddington

The Oddfellows Arms June 2015
The Oddfellows Arms June 2015

The Oddfellows Arms Public House, 2 Market Square, Toddington

The Oddfellows Arms is a 17th or 18th century Grade II listed building in the Toddington Conservation Area. It is a two storey property built on a 17th and 18th century L-plan and has a timber frame with whitewashed brick noggin (infill between the timbers) and an old clay tile roof. It has an 18th century façade with colour-washed brick and a first floor band. There are casement windows with glazing bars to the ground floor and five sashes with glazing bars above.  A building appears on the site of the Oddfellow's Arms on the 1581 Agas map of Toddington, so it is possible that the present building may contain earlier elements. The Oddfellows Arms was originally a beerhouse but gained a full licence as a public house on 29th February 1960.

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. When the valuation was carried out for Toddington the Oddfellow's Arms was owned by the trustees of Benjamin Bennett and the tenant was E.G. Buckingham of whom the valuer said "Buckingham's been here for ever". The rent was £16 p.a. The Oddfellow's Arms had a tap room, a bar, a living room and a kitchen on the ground floor, a cellar, and three bedrooms upstairs. Outbuildings were a brick and slate hovel, a stable and an earth closet. The valuer noted it was a "rather poor looking place. Only 1 entrance and that in a side street". The weekly trade was four barrels (36 gallons) [DV1/C83/18]. This property was smaller than the later Oddfellow's Arms which incorporated the adjacent cottage. In 1926 this cottage, consisting of a living room, kitchen and sculler downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs was also owned by the trustees of Benjamin Bennett [DV1/C83/19]. The Oddfellow's Arms was situated on what the valuer described as "not [the] prosperous side of [the] square".

The Oddfellows Arms became part of the Wells and Winch brewery, which was subsequently taken over by Greene King. In an oral history interview conducted in 1995 with the former landlady Mrs. Marjorie Galloway, the Oddfellows Arms is described as the "oldest and busiest" pub in Toddington due to its proximity to the cement works [Z898/4]. The Galloways were at the Oddfellows Arms from 1954 to 1964; after they left alterations to the building were made which included incorporating the adjacent cottage and fitting a kitchen. The Oddfellows Arms is still open as a public house at the time of writing [2016].

Oddfellows Arms trade card about 1970 [Z1306/126]
Oddfellows Arms trade card about 1970 [Z1306/126]

References:

  • RDLP/2/31: Plan of alterations to Oddfellows Arms, 1909;
  • Z1306/126: trade card: c. 1970;
  • PY/PH192/2: shown in photographs of Toddington Library: 1972;
  • Z898/4: Interview with Mrs Galloway and Mrs Bawden, wife and daughter of former licensee: 1995

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:

1854-1883: Joseph Hart;
1883-1884: Elizabeth Hart;
1884-1888: Charles Chandler: fined 2/6 with 14/6 costs on 22 Jun 1888 for  permitting drunkenness;
1888-1908: George Mucklestone;
1908-1931: Ernest George Buckingham;
1931-1932: Kate Buckingham;
1932-1939: Cecil Middleton Dennis;
1939-1940: Cecil ("Charles" in 1940) Mark Jeeves;
1940-1943: George Edward Davison;
1943-1946: Charles John Pearce;
1946-1947: Robert William Stottesbury;
1947-1951: Henry Adler;
1951-1953: Herbert Keeling;
1953-1954: Charles Smith;
1954-1964: George Tait Galloway;
1967: John Howard Coyne;
1992: Jean Valerie Gane and Ian Michael Haigh-Lumby.