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The Fox and Hounds Public House Clapham

The Fox and Hounds about 1925 [WL800/2]
The Fox and Hounds about 1925 [WL800/2]

The Fox & Hounds Public House: 1 Milton Road, Clapham

It is not known when the Fox and Hounds was first licensed but it seems likely that it was in, or shortly after, 1846. In 1813 two cottages which later became the beerhouse were conveyed by the Earl of Ashburnham  to Whitbread Cox of Bedford for £296 [WL123]. In 1840 Cox conveyed them to Henry King [WL124]. In 1846 King conveyed the two cottages to Bedford brewers William Johnstone and Frederick Redden [Wl125] and it is logical to assume that they converted them into a licensed premises as soon as they were able.

William Johnstone died in 1848 and his partner Frederick Redden in 1851. Redden’s widow sold the business to Joseph Allen Piggott buying and Henry Collings Wells, trading as Piggott and Wells. Piggott bought Wells out in 1862 and then in 1875 sold the business to to Charles Wells, which company has owned the Fox and Hounds ever since.

In 1893 the landlord, William Henry Smith, suffered a theft. His wife Rebecca gave evidence against Henry East and John Ashley. “About 2.30 on the 10th instant [May] the two prisoners were in my taproom.  No one else was there. I went out the back way leaving the two prisoners alone.  After I had been out a few minutes Ashley came out to me in the yard, Ashley was out with me two or three minutes. I left Ashley out in the yard and went into the tap room and found East was gone. I looked round the room and missed a ham from the wall near the fireplace. I had last seen it about half an hour before.  No other customers had been in the room in the meantime. I had been in and out and my son. When I missed the ham I went out the front but could not see the prisoners. I saw a man coming up the road and from what he told me I sent Charles Pool after the Defendants.  The ham produced is my ham I know it by the cord and nail.  The value is about fifteen shillings”.

Not surprisingly the two were convicted. The gaol register for Bedford prison [PRIS2/2/6] tells us that Henry East was 27 and stood 5 feet 5¾ inches tall, with dark brown hair. He was a labourer, originally from Rickmansworth [Hertfordshire]. John Ashley was 58, 5 feet 6¾ inches tall with dark brown hair and originally from Market Deeping [Lincolnshire]. East was given twelve months’ hard labour and Ashley, for his lesser role, fourteen days hard labour.

In 1926 plans for rebuilding the Fox and Hounds were drawn up and, following this rebuilding, on 9th February 1927, the beerhouse was granted a full licence, becoming a public house. 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 the Fox and Hounds in 1927 [DV1/C270/101] found that it stood in just under half an acre. Downstairs was a bar, a saloon bar, a tea room and a jug and bottle department as well as a private living room and scullery. There were five bedrooms upstairs. The valuer noted: “Just rebuilt” but wrote down no details of trade. A new garage was built in 1928 [RDBP1/1221].

The Fox and Hounds March 2017
The Fox and Hounds March 2017


  • WL123: conveyance: 1813;
  • WL124: conveyance: 1840;
  • WL125: conveyance: 1846
  • Z128/29-30: lantern slides: late 19th century;
  • QSR1893/3/5/4: theft from the Fox and Hounds: 1893;
  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935;
  • RDBP1/244: plans for additions: 1913;
  • WL800/2: photograph: c. 1925;
  • Z50/29/7: photograph: 1926;
  • RDBP1/1025: plans for rebuilding: 1926;
  • RDBP1/1068: plans for additions: 1927;
  • RDBP1/1221: plans for a new garage: 1928;
  • PSB9/2: Register of Licensed Premises: c. 1955-1995;
  • WL722/14: Pint Pot article on retirement of Edward Cartwright: 1975;
  • WL722/70: Pint Pot article on refurbishment: 1992;
  • WL722/102: Pint Pot article on the public house being used as a venue by Social Activity Community Group: 2000

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:

1853-1864: Henry Salisbury;
1869-1891: William Henry Smith;
1903-1926: Rebecca Smith;
1926-1928: Arthur Charles Whitbread;
1928-1940: Lewis Sparrow;
1950-1975: Edward Cartwright;
1975-1976: Hubert Crowsley and Gerald Turner;
1976: Hubert Crowsley and Ian Simpson;
1976-1979: Richard Rawson Wolstenholme Hancock and Frederick Keith Rawlings;
1979-1981: Richard Rawson Wolstenholme Hancock and John Brennan;
1981-1983: Richard Rawson Wolstenholme Hancock and Harold Ernest Jackson;
1983: Derek Charles Gibbs and Harold Ernest Jackson;
1983-1985: Derek Charles Gibbs and Robert Downs;
1985-1986: Derek Charles Gibbs and Michael Thomkins;
1986-1987: Derek Charles Gibbs and Brian Lawrence Hulatt;
1987-1989: Derek Charles Gibbs and Stephen Sean Murphy;
1989-1993: George Robert Frost and Andrew Robert Henderson;
1993-1994: Kevin James Sullivan and Andrew Robert Henderson;
1994: Carol Hughes and Douglas John Baker;
1994: Christopher Sayers and Douglas John Baker;
1994-1996: Diane Pyke and Douglas John Baker
1996: Reginald Alfred Beard;
1996: David Tiffen