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The Beehive Beerhouse Colesden


Site plan: position of Beehive Colesden
position of the Beehive [RDBP1/1246]

The countywide licensing register for 1876 indicates that this beerhouse was owned by Samuel Darrington of Chawston. It was leaeed from him by Mary Ann Malden of Eaton Socon and she sublet it to William Sawyer. The register states that the licence was first granted to the establishment in 1868

In 1885 the beerhouse was for sale by auction, along with the Jolly Plough Boys in Chawston it is described as a public house (which may be a misunderstanding as it is definitely described as a beerhouse in the later licensing register [PSB9/1] and does not appear by name in any directory, as is common with beerhouses). It is described as of brick, stud, tile and thatch and containing 5 acres 1 rood 8 perches of garden land.

RDBP1-1246 proposed alterations to Beehive Colesden
proposed alterations in 1928 [RDBP1/1246] - to see a larger version, please click on the image

The lease of the premises was auctioned in 1902 along with the Eagle Brewery at Eaton Socon, the Jolly Plough Boys and three other drinking establishments and was purchased by Day & Son of that town. The lease was auctioned a second time, with the rest of Day & Son's properties in 1919 and the entire firm was bought out by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch. At this time trade was in steady decline, being given in the sale particulars as 62½ barrels of beer in 1912, 57½ in 1913 and 47½ in 1914.  

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 Colesden in 1927 discovered that the Beehive was one of three cottages standing together. The beerhouse itself [DV1/A12/6a] was, the valuer noted "Very old Building and thatched". The occupier, John Pell, paid £16 per annum in rent to Wells and Winch. The valuer commented: "Been here 14 years, was £10". The building comprised a bar ("awful"), kitchen and scullery and two bedrooms downstairs with a further two bedrooms above. A loose box and an old cart shed stood outside. Trade averaged twelve dozen bottles of beer per week and takings were "very small".

The two adjoining cottages were owned by M. Frost. One of these [DV1/A12/6b] was tenanted by Mrs. King who paid £5 per annum rent; it had been £3 in 1914. The cottage comprised a parlour and living room downstairs with two bedrooms above. The valuer simply commented: "Bad". The other cottage [Dv1/A12/6c] was another two up and two down and was vacant.

Wells and Winch evidently agreed about the "awful" bar and felt that the rest of the premises could do with improvement. The following year they began alterations to the Beehive as shown in the plans and elevations on this page [RDBP1/1246 and 1266]. They helped the establishment to continue in business for a few more years but the beerhouse closed some time after 1940. Today the Beehive survives as the left hand portion of the impressive private house named Cherry Trees, retaining the 1928 decoration to the road frontage.

RDBP1-1266 proposed rebuilding of Beehive Colesden
proposed rebuilding 1928 [RDBP1/1266]  - to see a larger version, please click on the image


  • WG2466: sale catalogue: 1885;
  • WG2594: sale catalogue: 1902;
  • PSB9/1: register of licences: c.1903-1932;
  • GK175/2: photocopy sale catalogue1919;
  • RDBP1/1246: plans for alterations: 1928;
  • RDBP1/1266: plans for re-building: 1928 

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

1868-1877: William Sawyer;
1885 -1906: Isaiah King;
1906: William King;
1906-1913: Spencer Peet;
1913-1936: John Pell;
1940: John Nicholls [known to be dead by 1950]

Cherry Trees August 2010
Cherry Trees August 2010