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The White Bear Public House Chapel Street Woburn

The White Bear about 1925 [WL800/5]
The White Bear about 1925 [WL800/5]

The White Bear Public House: the corner of Chapel Street and Duck Lane, Woburn

By 1850 the White Bear in the Market Place seems to have closed. Around 1831 a new beerhouse called the White Bear had been built by George Rogers in Chapel Street where it met Duck Lane, more or less on the site of the modern public conveniences. The premises are described, in a sale catalogue of public houses owned by Newport Pagnell Brewery as containing a bar, parlour, taproom, six bedrooms, cellar with, outside a washhouse, coal and wood house, yard with side entrance containing a pump and a stable for four horses with a loft over, also with a loft over the gateway, the annual rent being £20 [GK82/7].

A further sale catalogue of 1879 describes the premises as the White Bear public house, shop and dwelling adjoining with yards, outbuildings etc. in Chapel Street in occupation of John Mapley and George Potter; let on lease to Henry Fowler for 14 years to expire Lady Day 1884; annual rent £40; 4/8 per annum tithe rent charge [X171/326]. 

By 1925 the public house had been bought by Charles Wells but was closed in April 1927. The next month the premises were valued for rates under the 1925 Valuation Act. Charles Wells still owned the premises but they were now vacant; they consisted of a tap room, smokeroom, bar, kitchen and scullery downstairs, with a cellar beneath and seven bedrooms upstairs; both gas and mains water were laid on. Outside were a clubroom, skittle alley, stable for two horses, a coachhouse and two W.C.s.

Interestingly the valuer does not note that the building had three floors, despite it being the usual practice to do so. A photograph purporting to be the White Bear at Woburn in an album of photographs of Charles Wells public houses, taken about 1925 definitely shows a building with three floors [WL800/5 above].

Chapel Street, later called New Street, no longer exists. The former White Bear was demolished at some point between 1927 and the end of the century.

List of Sources Held at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service:

  • WG2533: sale of Newport Pagnell Brewery which owned inn: 1850;
  • GK82/7: sale particulars: 1850;
  • X171/326: sale catalogue: 1879;
  • HN10/274/Hopkins3: sale particulars: 24 Oct 1879;
  • HN10/274/Hopkins4: mortgage from Elizabeth Cobb to Edward Percival of properties including inn: 1876;
  • HN10/274/Hopkins31: conveyance: 1881;
  • WL800/5: photograph taken for Charles Wells Limited: c.1925;
  • WL801/177: negative for WL800/5: c.1925

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

1850: John Flecknoe;
1854-1880: John Mapley;
1880: Mary Mapley;
1880-1890: George Potter;
1890-1892: S. Pritchard;
1892-1904: Eusebius Woodhams;
Thomas Page;
1897-1899: Mary Ann Page;
1899-1902: James William Thompson;
1902-1922: William Charles Adams;
1922-1924: Walter Scoot;
1924-1925: James Hay Jack;
1925-1927: George Russell Fido;
Public House closed 7th April 1927