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The Live and Let Live Beerhouse Great Barford

The Live and Let Live Beerhouse, 16 Roxton Road, Great Barford

The Live and Let Live Beerhouse is first mentioned in the countywide licensing register of 1876 when it was owned by Matthew Sharman of Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire]. He lease the premises to Mary Ann Malden of Eaton Socon and she sublet to the licensee Thomas Mayhew. Mary Ann also leased an off-licence in the village. The register notes that the beerhouse was first licensed in 1865.

By the time of the countywide licensing register of 1891 the Live and Let Live was owned by Mrs. Sharman of Hastings [Sussex], perhaps the widow of Matthew and leased to G. F. Anstee, who had succeeded Mary Ann Malden in leasing both the beerhouse and the off-licence on the Wilden Road (presumably Green End Road). Anstee sub-let the beerhouse to licensee George Mayes. By the time of the countywide licensing register of 1903 the lessees from Mrs. Sharman were brewers Day & Son of Saint Neots, George Mayes still being licensee. Day & Son sold up in 1919 [GK175/2] and the sale particulars included a description of the Live and Let Live which noted that the tenant paid no rent, but did pay the rates and the cost of the licence as well as paying two shillings per barrel more for his beer from Day & Son than the price fixed by the Brewers' Association.

Day and Son was bought out by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch in 1920 and in the same year Walter Molesworth Peacock carried out a number of surveys of licensed premises in North Bedfordshire for the magistrates [PK7/4/6]. One of them was the Live and Let Live Beerhouse. It was then owned by Day & Son and occupied by Robert Catchpole.  Who had been there fifteen years and paid £8 per annum for rates and licence combined. He commented thus on the brick and slate premises: “Decorative Repair Upstairs Good, remainder requires repairs”. He categorised the structure as “Modern” and cleanliness as “Good”.

The public premises comprised a double room measuring 21 feet 1 inch by 9 feet 7 inches, a smoke room measuring 10 feet 2 inches by 10 feet and a cellar “capable of holding 7 barrels, practically on ground floor”. The private room comprised a kitchen measuring 12 feet square and five bedrooms (“good”). Outbuildings were: a brick and tile washhouse fitted with a copper for heating water and a sink; a timber and corrugated iron range comprising stabling for two horses and a one bay open shed with a lean-to workshop attached; a lean-to timber and corrugated iron coal barn and tool place; two timber and corrugated iron closets and a brick built urinal.

The valuer commented in summarizing the information he had gathered on Great Barford: “The Question of redundancy of the four houses in the neighbourhood of Barford Cross is undoubtedly the point which the magistrates must take into consideration, there are two Fully Licensed [the Cross and the Crown] and two Beerhouses [the Beehive and the Live and Let Live]. At any event the Brewery concerned has the opportunity of taking its trade from the “Live and Let Live” to an adjacent house”. Clearly Wells and Winch had no desire for the Live and Let Live to remain open.

Walter Molesworth Peacock’s evidence to the local licensing meeting was as follows: “I am a surveyor carrying on business at High Street, Bedford. Visited Great Barford March 1st. I visited “The Live & let Live” it is a licensed house, in good repair. Structure is good, two public rooms, kitchen and cellar and five bedrooms, various outbuildings. The taproom is 21 feet by about 10 feet wide by 7 feet 10 inches high, the smoke room is 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet high. The house is situate on the main road from Bedford to Saint Neots and short distance from Barford Cross. Coming towards Bedford on the main road at a distance of 22 yards is “The Golden Cross” a full licensed house, three public rooms and a sitting room and kitchen, three good bedrooms and 1 attic – better structure than “The Live & Let Live” and in good repair. Messrs. Paine & Co., St. Neots are the owners. I also visited the “Beehive” which is 253 yards from “The Live & Let Live” a beerhouse owned by Messrs Charles Wells Limited. It has 2 public rooms, a kitchen and 4 rooms upstairs. Good structure and in fair repair very similar to “The Live & Let Live” in these respects. I also visited “The Crown” fully licensed, owners Messrs Wells & Winch 234 yards from “The Live & Let Live”. It has 2 public rooms, a kitchen, 3 bedrooms with another in bad repair which could be used. A very old structure otherwise in good order. “The Live & Let Live” has a larger room than at “The Crown”. The four houses are in the centre of Barford. The population of Great Barford by 1911 Census was 726. The draw up at “The Live & Let Live” is slightly against the house as compared with the other houses but there is very little in it. Net rateable value of “The Live & Let Live” £17-10-0 of the Golden Cross £30. The Beehive £17-10-0. The Crown £17-10-0 and buildings at the back of the Crown are not included in this value”.

“I include Green End in the area to be supplied. Decidedly more than half the population in that area. “The Live & let Live” is on a main road. 3 houses within 60 yards radius at Cross roads. This house is 200 yards outside”.

The Live and Let Live closed for good on the last day of 1921 becoming a private 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. Most of Bedfordshire was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting 16 Roxton Road [DV1/C125/132] noted “Was Pub”. It was then owned and occupied by the Misses Mayes. The brick and slate building comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen with a range and a washhouse with four bedrooms upstairs (perhaps two smaller ones had been knocked into one). The scullery lay outside and had a copper and a sink. Water came from a well down the garden. Outbuildings comprised a stable for two horses, a trap shelter, a coal house, a wood house and a privy. The valuer commented: “Stands right on road. A good little property of modern Build” he also commented: “very nice, High eaves”.


  • WG2594: sale catalogue of brewery and licensed properties of Eagle Brewery, Eaton Socon:1902;
  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935;
  • Z1306/5/12/1: postcard of the Live & Let Live showing a meeting of fox hounds: c. 1908;
  • GK175/2: sale catalogue of brewery and licensed properties of Day & Son of St.Neots: 1919;
  • PK7/4/6: Evidence and report given by W.M. Peacock on Great Barford licenses - including details on trade, rental and license: 1920-1921

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

1876: Thomas Mayhew;
1891-1903: George Mayes;
1903-1906: John Henry Eyles;
1906-1921: Robert Philip Catchpole.
Beerhouse closed 31st December 1921