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The Red Lion Beerhouse Westoning

37 High Street March 2010
37 High Street March 2010

The Red Lion Beerhouse: 37 High Street, Westoning

The first mention certain of this beerhouse is in 1882 when William Justice gave up the license [PSA5/1]. However, a William Aldridge appears as a beer retailer in directories for 1877 and 1869 and, as other beer retailers are accounted for it seems a reasonable guess that he was at the Red Lion. No candidate appears in the directory for 1864 suggesting that the Red Lion was established between 1864 and 1869.

It was owned by Ashby family and leased by Simpson's Brewery of Baldock [Hertfordshire], thus Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service does not have very much information on it. The Ampthill Petty Sessional licensing register [PSA5/1] states that it closed on 22nd December 1909.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Westoning, like much of Bedfordshire, was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 37 High Street [DV1/C135/83] found it owned by Mrs. Ashby and tenanted by J. Walton, who paid £18/8/4 per annum in rent. The detached brick premises comprised two living rooms and two kitchens downstairs with four bedrooms above. A coal barn and earth closet stood outside. The valuer noted that it had been two cottages, meaning that the beerhouse must have been one of them and, clearly, a very small premises!

In 1930 Richard Oliver Ashby of King's Road, Flitwick put a number of properties in Westoning up for sale, of which 37 High Street was one [HN2/SPEN4/9]. The brick and slate, double-fronted dwelling house "formerly the old Red Lion Inn" was still occupied by Joseph Walton but he now paid £15/2/- per annum as well as the rates, perhaps they made his total outgoings up to £18/8/4. The property was described as containing  two sitting rooms, a kitchen and scullery ("with sink") on the ground floor with four bedrooms above ("two of which communicate"). Outside stood two brick and tiled barns, "one formerly a stable fitted with manger" and an open shed ("front claimed by tenant") "together with a convenient Garden". It was noted: "The Water Supply is obtained from a Well to which purchasers of Lots 2, 3 and 4 shall have a right of user on paying three-fourths of the cost of upkeep. The property has a frontage of 68 feet to the main road".

General References:

  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • HN2/SPEN/4/9: sale catalogue of the former Red Lion: 1930  

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:

1869-1877: William Aldridge?
1882: William Justice;
1882-1893: John Smith
1893-1896: Frederick Cumming
1896-1909: Jane Cummings
Beerhouse closed 22nd December 1909