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The Royal Oak Public House Leighton Buzzard

The Royal Oak Leighton Buzzard about 1925
The Royal Oak Leighton Buzzard about 1925 [WL800/2]

The Royal Oak Public House: 23 Friday Street, Leighton Buzzard

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not have many records mentioning the Royal Oak. In the countywide Return of Licensed Premises of 1876 the occupier is given as Edward Grace and the owner Alfred Gurney of Slapton [Buckinghamshire], it was not known when it was first licensed. The first mention in a directory is in 1847 when it was licensed to a Mrs. Swinstead. By 1891 the owners were Alfred Gurney's executors and the leaseholder brewers Allfrey & Lovell of Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire]. By the 1920s the owner was Charles Wells of Bedford and the public house closed on the last day of 1926.

Charles Wells put the former public house was put up for sale in 1927 [BML10/42/173], the building was described as: "All that Valuable Freehold Property Comprising the Brick-built and Slated Dwelling House, Situate and being Number 23 Friday Street, Leighton Buzzard (formerly the Licensed Premises known as "The Royal Oak" Inn) and containing the following accommodation: - Passage Entrance, Two Sitting Rooms (one with fireplace and fitted cupboards, the other with self-setting range), Kitchen with grate and fitted corner cupboards, Lobby, fitted with cupboards, Larder, Wash-house with copper and sink, W.C., Five Bedrooms (two fitted with fireplaces). There are two large Cellars with access from the Yard, which is approached by a Covered Gateway Entrance from Friday Street. The Outbuildings comprise: - A timber-built and corrugated iron roofed Cart Shed, a timber-built and slated 2-stall stable with concrete floor, a similarly built Garage, a timber-built and iron roofed lean-to Coal Barn, W.C. and urinal. At the rear is a Large Paddock, with a frontage of about 57 feet to Water Lane". This property together with the next door cottage Number 21, were bought by W. Pool for £360. This area of Friday Street was demolished in the 1960s.

 The Royal Oak yard just prior to demolition
The Royal Oak yard just prior to demolition


  • PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • HN1/20-1-3: position shown on annotated Ordnance Survey maps compiled for licensing purposes: early 20th century;
  • WL800/4: photograph: c.1925;
  • WL801/172: glass plate negative of above: c.1925;
  • BML10/42/173: sale particulars of former public house: 1927;
  • CS/PH1/1-2: photographs of buildings in Friday Street prior to demolition: 1960s 

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

1847: Mrs. Swinstead;
1850-1854: James Payne;
1861-1862: Mrs. Emma Payne;
1864-1877: Edward Grace, baker;
1877-1878: Charles Hillard Parrott;
1878: Thomas Birch;
1878-1879: James Curtis;
1879: Tom Hitchcock;
1879-1881: Thomas Mims;
1881: Frederick William Churchill;
1881-1882: James Wadsworth;
1882-1883: George Nash;
1883-1885: William James;
1885-1886: James Porter;
1886-1893: George Wilson;
1893-1898: Benjamin James;
1898-1901: Emma Barnack;
1901-1908: Isaac Ruox;
1908-1910: William Hopkins;
1910-1913: William James Canning;
1913-1914: Robert Bird;
1914-1917: Alfred Herbert Adcock;
1917-1918: Mary Jane Adcock;
1918-1921: George Stephen Hartridge;
1921-1922: Frederick James Morgan;
1922-1926: John William Willis

Public house closed 31st December 1926