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The Slaters Arms Public House Kempston Rural

The Slaters Arms March 2012
The Slaters Arms March 2012

The Slater’s Arms Public House: Box End Road, Box End, Kempston Rural

The Slater's Arms began as a beerhouse and the first reference to it is as one of six cottages settled on Thomas Mitchell and his new wife Sarah Ann in 1853 [GK81/1]. Thomas died in 1877 [GK81/1] but his widow continued to own the premises until her death in 1901 [GK81/1], her trustees selling them to Bedford brewers Higgins and Sons the following year [GK81/2].

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that an unnamed beerhouse belonging to Thomas Mitchell and tenanted by Charles Tysoe was first listed in 1846. By 1903: George Slater was the licensee, he had formerly been a shopkeeper in Margetts Road, Kempston. The Slater family remained licensees for the next 86 years suggesting, though nowhere explicitly stated, that this is how the initially unnamed beerhouse gained its name.

Higgins and Sons were taken over by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch Limited in 1927 and they, in their turn, by Suffolk brewers Greene King in 1961. At the time of writing [2007] the Slater's Arms, now a fully licensed public house, remains a Greene King house.

In 1927 Bedfordshire was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; each piece of land and building was valued to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer noted [DV1/C2/130] that the house was of brick, slate and tile with accommodation comprising a tap room, front room (both "rather small"), kitchen and cellar (with a 7-18 gallon pull) downstairs with 3 bedrooms above and a washhouse and earth closet outside. Weekly trade consisted of 1¼ barrels 1½ dozen bottles of beer. The valuer commented: "fair piece of garden but a very poor pub".


  • GK81/1: recited family settlement: 1853;
  • GK81/1: recited mortgage: 1872;
  • GK81/1: recited mortgage: 1873, redeemed 1874;
  • GK81/1: recited death of Thomas Mitchell: 1877;
  • GK81/1: recited death of Sarah Ann Mitchell: 1901;
  • GK81/2: conveyance of messuage in Box End now used as a beerhouse by trustees to Higgins Sons Limited: 1902;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • BTNegOB60/8: negative: c. 1931;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor License Traders Survey Form: 1958;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
  • BorBTP/91/0326: plans showing proposed additions and alterations: 1991.

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

1853-1854: John Smith;
1862: Joseph Smith;
1864: James Smith
1876-1898: Charles Tysoe;
1903-1929: George Slater;
1929-1932: Sarah Slater;
1932-1946: Arthur Slater;
1946: Gertrude Louisa Slater;
1958: Leslie George Slater;
1989: Leslie George Slater;
1989-1995: Steven David Grierson