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The Crown Public House Willington

Crown Public House in November 2006
Crown Public House in November 2006

The Crown Public House: 17 Station Road, Willington

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has little in the way of documentation for this public house, but the schedule of deeds of properties owned by Wells & Winch and the Bedford Petty Sessional licensing records both suggest it may only have become a public house in 1903/04. The original owners were Newland & Nash of Bedford, who were bought out by Wells & Winch in 1922, Wells & Winch themselves merging with Greene King in 1961 and adopting the Greene King name in 1963.

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. Willington, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Crown [DV1/C154] found it then comprised a bar, bar parlour, living room, kitchen and cellar with four bedrooms upstairs.

Outside were a large club room ("not used"), a stable for three horses, chaff shed and chaise house or garage. Trade was quite good - 3½ barrels of beer per week along with half a gallon of spirits, 30 packets of cigarettes and 2½ pounds of tobacco. The valuer considered it a "nice house" and noted: "Only licensed house in Village. No licensed house within 2 miles or so from here".

Indeed, there had been no public house at all in Willington before the opening of the Crown since the closure of the White Hart in the 1830s, merely some short lived beerhouses.

Adjoining the Crown, and occupied with it, were 1.691 acres of orchard and paddock.
The public house remains open at the time of writing [2006].

References:

  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935;
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds of properties of Wells & Winch including Crown: 1904-1905;
  • RDBP1/254: plans, correspondence etc. regarding temporary buildings: 1913;
  • DV1/C154: rating valuation: 1927;
  • GK297/2: conveyance of all property from Newland & Nash to Wells & Winch: 1938;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995; 
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
  • PCWillington18/4 and 6: proposed development behind public house: 1978-1979;
  • PCWillington9/13: transfer of licence: 1986.

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

1903-1904: John Burbidge;
1904-1905: Sarah Burbidge;
1905-1940: Charles Richard Clark
1957-1974: Erich Ernst Alex;
1974-1976: Audrey Gladys Alex;
1976-1986: Brian John Laker;
1986-1989: Peter Brian Keyser;
1989-1991: Leonard Robert Davis;
1991-1995: Jeffrey Peter Chamberlain