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The Red Lion Public House Woodside

Ordnance survey map showing the locations of the Plough and Red Lion
Map showing the locations of the Plough and Red Lion [BML10/45/10]

Red Lion Public House: 173 Woodside Road

There are not many sources for this public house held at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service. It stood at the northern angle of Woodside Road and Wigmore Lane (now called Grove Park Road) and is now an attractive black and white private house.

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the premises was first licensed in 1862, coincidentally the year it first appears in a directory. George Bingham was both the owner and the licensee. The countywide register of 1891 states that John Hight Blundell was now the owner, he was the tenant at nearby Woodside Farm, and leased the public house to Benjamin Bennett of Harpenden [Hertfordshire], a brewer, his tenant, thus the under-tenant, was the licensee Eliza Bingham. Three separate members of the Bingham family were successive licensees, from 1862 to 1894. Blundell had bought the Red Lion and the adjoining five cottages from George Bingham in 1882 for £1,204/15/- [X173/185]. The block was described as having a frontage to the Luton to Markyate Street Road of 92 feet and a frontage opposite the Spade Public House of 110 feet. The Spade must have been on the north-west corner of Wigmore Lane with Woodside Road.

The countywide licensing register of 1903 gives the owner as Horatio Grece Reynart, the owner of Woodside Farm. He leased the property to Dunstable brewer Benjamin Bennett. The register states that the Red Lion was in good repair and was clean but, just like the nearest licensed premises, the Plough, it only had one toilet serving both customers and the licensee’s family. It had a front door and side door from Wigmore Lane.

In 1917 the house was visited by a valuer, Arthur Walker Merry of Stafford, Rogers & A. W. Merry of Leighton Buzzard and Bedford, in regards to the renewal of its licence. He found a brick and slate building "of a good age" which had, as public accommodation, a tap room with a five foot six inch counter and a club room, he noted "supervision, moderate only. No extra means of ventilation". The house also comprised a cellar, a small private sitting room "and beyond is a disused smith's shop used as a kitchen" there were also four bedrooms. There were back and front entrances. Outside was a yard with a urinal and a W. C. for public use, some stabling and a garden with a shelter for public use. He also noted that the nearby Plough " affords much better accommodation, the immediate neighbourhood includes 13 inhabited houses only which can be well supplied from one house". That opinion resulted in the Red Lion being closed at Christmas Day 1917.

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. The valuer visiting this terrace of six cottages [DV1/C18/89-94] found they were all still owned by the owner of Woodside Farm, who was now Henry Abraham. The former Red Lion was occupied by a T. Hart who paid rent of £5/17/- per quarter for a reception room, a living room and a kitchen with a cellar below and four bedrooms above. He noted “two bays down”. A brick, slate and wood barn and earth closet stood outside along with a weather-boarded and slated stable. The valuer commented: “Water from Abraham’s well”. The other properties’ details were as follows:

  • 175 Woodside Road: tenant A. Fensome paying rent of 7/7 per fortnight for two living rooms, two bedrooms, a weather-boarded and slated barn and a brick and slate earth closet;
  • 177 Woodside Road: A. Howe - all details as 175 Woodside Road;
  • 179 Woodside Road: A. Burgess – all details as 175 Woodside Road;
  • 181 Woodside Road: G. Ford – all details as 175 Woodside Road;
  • 183 Woodside Road: A. Bonyun – all details as 175 Woodside Road.

173 to 183 Woodside Road March 2012
173 to 183 Woodside Road March 2012

References:

  • X173/185: conveyed: 1882;
  • X173/186-187: leased for 21 years by John Hight Blundell to Benjamin Bennett: 1882;
  • PSL6a/1: Register of Alehouse Licences: c.1890-1922;
  • BML10/45/10: Luton Licensing Sessions: 1917

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

1862-1883: George Bingham;
1883-1885: Letty Bingham;
1885-1894: Eliza Bingham;
1894-1899: Noah Johnson;
1899-1901: Henry William Leggetter; [convicted of adulterating spirits – 10th December 1900 - whiskey 9.5 degrees below 25 degrees under proof, gin 2 degrees below 35 degrees under proof - fined a total of £10 with £1/12/- costs];
1901-1902: Thomas Kirkham;
1902-1903: George Ostler;
1903-1917: Thomas Hart;
Public House closed 25th December 1917.