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The Boot Public House Kempston

Front elevation of the Boot in 1910 [UDKP278]
Front elevation of the Boot in 1910 [UDKP278]

The Boot Public House: 119 Bunyan Road, Kempston

Licensing registers indicate that this beerhouse [later a public house] was first registered in 1852; it stood back from street on west side of Bunyan Road opposite the junction with Elstow Road.

The son of a former licensee recalls that the main building was based on a farmhouse dated c.1699 by a builder who signed his initials 'I B', once on a wall panel over the main entrance and once in nails on the visible face of the upper storey sill beam. The building with its land is shown on the 1808 enclosure map for Kempston as having been enclosed before 1800 [X1/25].

The first document mentioning it as a beerhouse is a conveyance of licensed houses from William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rose Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline Nash to their newly formed public limited company of Newland & Nash Limited in 1897 [GK3/1a]. The company merely leased the beerhouse which was sold at auction in 1907 - the description being as follows: "A highly valuable freehold property comprising 1 acre 3 roods 2 poles situate at Up End and having a frontage of 127 feet to the main road and consisting of a Beer House known as ‘The Boot Inn’ which is partly stud and thatched and tiled, and contains Tap Room, large parlour, Kitchen, Cellar, and 3 bedrooms. There is also a bakehouse and store room adjoining, and the outbuildings consist of cart shed with Loft over, Stable, E.C.&c together with the Orchard well stocked with Walnut and Apple trees &c and also a paddock at the back. This lot is in the tenure of Messrs Newland & Nash Limited at a rental of £31 per annum, but whose lease expires on the 29th Day of September 1908" [X452/1/6]. Newland & Nash duly purchased the freehold at the auction [GK135/25].

Site location plan of the Boot 1910 [UDKP278]
Site location plan of the Boot 1910 [UDKP278]

The beerhouse underwent extensive alterations in 1910 as the accompanying plans show [UDKP278] and in 1924 Newland & Nash was bought by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch, although an official conveyance of all the property was not carried out until 1938.

In 1927 Bedfordshire was valued under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building was valued to determine how it should be rated. The valuer visiting the Boot [DV1/R25] noted that it consisted of a tap room, smoke room, private parlour, cellar & kitchen downstairs with three bedrooms and a W. C. above. Outside were stabling for two horses and two pigsties. Weekly trade consisted of 2½ barrels of beer at £9 each, three dozen bottles of beer, three dozen half bottles of beer and two dozen bottles of minerals. Takings varied between £15 and £20 per week. He also noted that the Kempston Statutory Fair was held in the paddock at the rear of the building for a fortnight in August – September, a tradition which continued until the mid 1950s. By the mid 1940s the Boot was a public house, selling a full range of beers, wines and spirits.

During the redevelopment of this part of Kempston in 1972 the Boot was demolished. Private houses stand on the site today. 

 Ground floor plan of the Boot 1910 [UDKP278]
Ground floor plan of the Boot 1910 [UDKP278]


  • K3/1a: conveyance from William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rosa Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline Nash to Newland & Nash Limited of all properties: 1897;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • X452/1/6 and GK135/24: sale catalogue: 1907:
  • BMB14/A79: sale catalogue plan: 1907;
  • GK135/25: conveyance to Newland and Nash: 1907;
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds: 1907-1910;
  • UDKP278: plan of alterations: 1910;
  • DV1/R/25: rating valuation: 1927;
  • GK297/2: conveyance of properties from Newland & Nash to Wells & Winch: 1938;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995. 

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

1861-1876: Joseph Cotton;
1885-1901: Arthur Taylor;
1901-1916: Sarah Taylor;
1916-1952: Winn Wortley Gardner;
1952-1972 William Walker.