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The Bird in Hand Beerhouse Potton

The Bird in Hand Beerhouse: 59 King Street, Potton

The Bird in Hand about 1925 [WL800/1]
The Bird in Hand about 1925 [WL800/1]


The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Bird in Hand beerhouse was first licensed in 1836. At the time of the register it was owned by Francis Bingham of Potton. Bingham was a brewer and also owned the Locomotive and the Woolpack.

By the time of the countywide register of 1891 the Bird in Hand was, like the Woolpack, owned by Bedford brewers Jarvis and Company. They were still in possession at the time of the 1903 countywide register which reported that the Bird in Hand required repairing, had one front and two back doors and was 145 yards from the nearest licensed premises. Jarvis and Company were bought out by rival Bedford brewers Charles Wells in 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. Potton, like much of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Bird in Hand [DV1/C12/15] found that it consisted of three bedrooms, a living room, a parlour, a tap room and a scullery. Trade consisted of eighteen gallons of beer per week along with three dozen bottles - takings averaged £3/10/- per week.

The valuer considered it a "poor looking place at the end of the village”. Interestingly Charles Wells also owned a neighbouring farm occupied by the licensee and a house occupied by Sarah Askew and another house occupied by Herbert Deeble. The Bird in hand closed for the last time in 1931 and is now a private house. Despite the fact that Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service holds the Charles Wells archive there are no deeds for the Bird in Hand as part of the collection, no doubt because they were handed to the new owner when the brewery eventually sold the property.

References:
• HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
• HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
• HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
• HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
• HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
• HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
• PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
• WL800/1 p.20: photograph: c.1925;
• WL801/37: glass plate negative of above: c.1925;
• X704/257: photograph of a postcard: before 1931

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1872-1896: John Saville;
1896-1920: Joseph Askem;
1924: William Askem;
1927-1931: John William Askem
Beerhouse closed 1931