Alfies Bar Luton
The Fountain Public House c.1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Fount1]
Alfie’s Bar, 152 Wellington Street, Luton [formerly The Fountain Public House]
For most of its existence the public house now known as Alfie’s Bar was called the Fountain. The property is a Grade II listed building built in the mid-nineteenth century. It is described in the listing as being built of Luton grey bricks, with light red brick dressings, and a hipped Welsh slate roof. The first floor has three sashes with glazing bars under gauged red brick heads; the ground floor has two canted bays. There is a left hand doorway in panelled reveals, and both this and the central doorway have surrounds of pilasters, entablature and cornice.
In 1864 Edward Thompson, the keeper of the Fountain public house, appeared at the Bedford Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case of Matthew William Deverell, who was charged with obtaining bacon, butter and a penny by false pretences from grocer Joseph Keeling of 51 Albert Road. Deverell had claimed to Keeling that he worked for Thompson and that Thompson would pay the bill for the goods. Thompson, however, said that while he knew Deverell, the man had never worked for him and he had not sent him to Keeling’s. Deverell claimed that another man, named Horn, had asked him to get the bacon and butter and had given him a slip of paper purportedly signed by Thompson to give to the grocer. After obtaining the goods he had taken them to Horn at the Roebuck. The jury apparently believed Deverell’s version of events as he was found not guilty.
The Fountain featured in another Quarter Sessions case in 1879. William Seabrook, a sergeant in the Bedfordshire Militia, was at the Fountain when a new recruit was brought to him by a certain John Andrews. The recruit declared he had never previously served in the army; he enlisted under the name of Frederick Cook and was given ten shillings, with Andrews receiving five shillings. It was later proved that “Cook” had given a false name and address. His real name was Frederick Conquest and he had served in the 16th Regiment of Foot, making him ineligible for the militia. His previous military record was produced, showing that he had been discharged following a conviction for felony and that his character was reported by the Regimental Board to be “very bad”. Conquest was charged with obtaining money under false pretences, and Andrews with abetting him. Both were found guilty and were sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment respectively.
The Fountain was originally owned by Woburn brewer Henry Fowler. When the Woburn brewery with its tied premises was put up for sale in 1881 the Fountain was Lot 14. It is described in the sale particulars as “a corner House, containing good Entrance, Tap Room, and Bar; Back Parlor, Kitchen, and Wash House; Cellar, and Five Bed Rooms. Yard in rear, with large Work Room and Ground beneath; Stable for two Horses, and Loft”. The public house was let to Mr. W. Walker at a rent of £17 per annum.
According to Stuart Smith in Pubs and Pints: the Story of Luton’s Public Houses and Breweries, the premises of the Fountain included three stables (now demolished) at the rear and a large hall. Mrs. Rogers, the landlady from 1954 to 1974, recalled that the stables were regularly booked to accommodate three bears when the circus visited Stockwood Park. It was also reported that under a previous landlord the bottling shed at the rear of the Fountain was rented for immoral purposes to “ladies of the street” for two shillings and sixpence.
The Fountain was sold first to John Hammett and then in 1918 to J.W. Green Ltd. J.W. Green merged with Flowers Breweries Limited in 1954 and in 1962 the combined company was bought out by Whitbread. The Fountain closed in 1994 and was put up for sale. It subsequently reopened and at the time of writing  is trading under the name Alfie’s Bar.
- QSR1864/1/5/23: depositions in case of Matthew William Deverell, 1864;
- QSR1879/2/5/12-13: depositions and examinations in case of Frederick Conquest, 1879;
- WL1000/10/1/1: auction sale particulars of brewery in Woburn and 26 public houses formerly of James Fowler of Woburn, brewer: 1881;
- WB/Green1/1/1: J.W.Green Limited articles of association, trust deeds etc.: 1897-1936;
- WB/Green1/6/7: Conveyance regarding Trust Deed, 1928;
- WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants of J.W.Green Limited licensed houses: 1887-1926;
- WB/Green6/4/1: J.W.Green Limited trade analysis ledger for individual licensed premises: 1936-1947;
- WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to properties belonging to J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952
- WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed houses of J.W.Green Limited: c.1952;
- WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of J.W.Green Limited deeds and documents: c.1949?;
- WB/Green4/2/11: Schedule of Deeds and Documents of J.W.Green Limited property: c.1949?;
- WB/Green4/2/16: letter as to titles - J.W.Green Limited to their solicitors Lawrance, Messer & Company: 1952;
- WB/Green4/2/17: Second Schedule of Trust Deed from J.W.Green Limited to London Assurance to secure 1,205,000 5% First Mortgage Debenture Stock: 1952-1972
Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known
1872-1881: William Walker;
1891-1897: John Dawson;
1897-1900: Benjamin Tuffnell;
1900-1904: John Hawkes;
1905-1908: Norman Gibbons;
1908-1910: Alexander Holland;
1910-1921: Edward Onions;
1921: George Edward Stanford;
1929: William Arthur Mardell;
1929-1936: Sidney Alfred Garforth;
1936-1937: Alfred George Owen Crocket;
1937-1948: Ernest Albert Green; [convicted 12 Mar 1941 of supplying alcohol to Sidney Bysouth outside opening hours - fined 40/- but overturned on appeal];
1948-1952: Victor Harry Lawrence;
1952-1954: George Samuel Allen;
1954: Francis Cyril Shea;
1955: Harold Rogers;
1974: Richard John Morris and Stanley Thomas Lander;
1975: Richard John Morris;
1976: Dudley John Holton and Michael Joyce;
1977: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Thomas Michael Flanagan;
1978: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Ralph Gethin;
1979: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Peter Ronald Hogarth;
1980: Richard Owen West and Harry James O’Donnell;
1983: Roger George Ernest Coomber;
1985: Harold Walter Duffin and Ronald Frederick Hollingsworth;
1985: Harold Walter Duffin and Geoffrey Allan Hall;
1986: Harold William Duffin and Edwin Howard Drake;
1987: Harold Walter Duffin and Edward Michael Patrick;
1988: Robert Bryan Ward and John McDougall Kelly.