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The Harrows Public House Cotton End

The Harrows Public House about 1925 [WL800/3]
The Harrows public house about 1925 [WL800/3]

The Harrows Public House: High Road, Cotton End [earlier the Harrow and the Pair of Harrows]

Considering that the Harrow was a Charles Wells public house Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has very little information on it. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the property, then a beerhouse, was owned by Robert Cambers, the licensee and had first been licensed in 1836. By the time of the countywide licensing register of 1891 the owner was Charles Wells. The countywide register of 1903 states that the beerhouse lay 120 yards from the nearest licensed premises (the White Horse) was in good condition, clean and “apparently sanitary”.

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. Eastcotts, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Harrows [DV1/C286/99] found it owned by Charles Wells and occupied by George Purser who paid rent of £15 per annum for the beerhouse. The valuer noted: “Says can hardly pay rent and licence”.

The detached brick and slate property, built in 1899 to replace the earlier building, comprised a tap room [“Fair”], a parlour [“Small”] and a cellar [“down 1 step very dark”]. The private accommodation consisted of a kitchen [“Small”], a scullery [“Up”] and three bedrooms. The valuer noted “12 Detached houses being built at back”. History repeated itself in 2010 after the Harrows closed for the last time!

Trade consisted of fifteen gallons of beer peer week on average, with “barely” a pound of tobacco and two dozen bottles of minerals in the same period. A weather-boarded and corrugated iron barn, a weather-boarded and tiled store barn and a weather-boarded and tiled cart lodge and barn all stood outside. The valuer noted that all were in a dilapidated condition.

At some point the Harrows became a fully licensed public house, perhaps after World War Two, all remaining beerhouses becoming fully licensed in the 1950s. The Harrows closed in 2007 and at the time of writing [2011] had become an oriental restaurant, leaving the Bell as the last public house in Cotton End.

The former Harrows September 2007
The former Harrows September 2007


  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • WL801/28: negative: c. 1925;
  • WL800/3: photograph: c. 1925;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • WL725/3: article and photograph in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1973;
  • WL722/17: photograph in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1976.

Licencees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:

1847-1876: Robert Cambers;
1877: George Cambers;
1885-1891: Frederick Collings;
1894-1921: Alfred Collins;
1921-1940: George Purser;
1976-1980: Keith Sidney Underwood;
1980-1990: Joseph Newbery;
1990-1994: Luigi Daniello;
1994-1995: Amos Michael Kromholc.