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The Star Public House Clapham

The Star about 1925 [WL800/5]
The Star about 1925 [WL800/5]

The Star Public House: 42 High Street, Clapham

The earliest reference to the Star was as a beerhouse in 1850 when it was for sale as part of the Newport Pagnell Brewery. The particulars [WG2533 and GK82/7] describe: “A neat roomy House with small Fore Court, containing small Shop, Tap-room with Loft over, two Parlors, Kitchen, Pantry, Washhouse, three Bed-chambers, and Cellar underground. Yard with side Entrance, Draw-well therein, Coal-house, Stable, Shed and large Garden in occupation of JOHN TAYLOR at an annual Rent of £9”. By 1876 the Star was owned by Bedford brewer Charles Wells.       

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 Star [DV1/C278/79] found the rent charged by Charles Wells was £14 per annum. The building was then described as stone and thatch. Downstairs was a tap room (“good”), a smoke room (“good”), a jug and bottle department and a cellar with a private kitchen and scullery (“good”). There were three bedrooms upstairs. Trade comprised an eighteen-gallon barrel per week (one was tapped and two untapped at the time of the valuer’s visit). Two dozen bottles of beer were sold per week.

The valuer opined: “Ought to be more than Vicar of Wakefield”. The building had electric light but was “Rather a poor place”. Outside was a wood and thatched barn and stable, a wood and tiled henhouse with another adjoining and an open hovel. A later hand has amended the entry for the barn and stable to read “now sheds” and the entry for the henhouses to read “2 garages”. The landlord also rented a very small paddock of just under a rood in area. The beerhouse became a fully licensed public house on 11th February 1954.

The Star April 2010
The Star April 2010


  • WG2533 and GK82/7: sale particulars: 1850;
  • Z128/31: lantern slide: late 19th century
  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935;
  • WL800/5: photograph: c. 1925;
  • RDBP3/83: plans for additions: 1938;
  • PSB9/2: Register of Licensed Premises: c. 1955-1995;
  • Z50/29/6: photograph: 20th century;
  • WL722/27: photograph in Charles Wells magazine Pint Pot: 1980;
  • X907/49: photograph: c. 1990;
  • WL722/96: photographs in Pint Pot: 1998

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:

1850-1861: John Taylor;
1869-1871: Thomas Smith;
1876-1877: Alfred Smith, butcher;
1885-1891: John Stevens;
1903-1916: John Billington;
1916-1934: William Henry Smith;
1934-1940: Charles Bernard Pearson;
1945-52: William Loake Sr.
1952-57: William Edward Loake 
1957-1969: Leonard Reginald Podd;
1969-1971: James Edward Cooke;
1971-1991: Terence James Gower;
1991-1993: Michael John Vidler;
1993-1995: Maxine Ellen Vidler