The Albion Public House Luton
The Albion 1917 [X291/656/23]
The Albion Public House, 13 New Bedford Road, Luton [formerly The Albion Tavern]
An abstract of title of Luton brewer Thomas Sworder to the Albion public house shows that the property on which it stood was conveyed in 1869 by the Marquis of Bute’s trustees to innkeeper Charles Swain who was responsible for building what was originally a beerhouse. A series of mortgage deeds show that buildings at the rear of the Albion in Inkerman Street were used as a mineral water factory, and this together with an adjoining property at 15 New Bedford Road were associated with the Albion in subsequent transactions. However it appears that this link later caused some confusion and brought the title to the mineral water factory into doubt.
Site plan showing The Albion, 1897 [X95/312]
In 1871 a certain James Everitt was charged at the Bedford Quarter Sessions with attempting to steal eight shillings belonging to Charles Swain, keeper of the Albion. His daughter Catherine stated that on Tuesday 30th May Everitt had come to the house between 12 and 1pm. He sat down in front of the bar opposite the till, had a pint of beer, and left about 2pm. About five minutes later he returned, sat in the same place and had another pint of beer. He picked up the newspaper and began to read it. Miss Swain went into the adjoining sitting room, leaving the door into the bar open. She heard him open the till and saw him reach over the counter to it. Returning to the bar she asked “what do you want out of that till?” He said he wanted a pint of beer and a bottle of ginger beer. She said he could not expect to find beer and ginger beer in the till. Everitt said he was a silly fool and ran out of the house. Under cross-examination Miss Swain said she did not think he had taken anything as she found his hand on the edge of the till not in it, and had not heard the sound of any money. When arrested by the police on 6th June Everitt denied being at the Albion on that day, stating that he had been at work, although three other men gave evidence that they had seen him there. The jury decided there was no case to answer.
By the 1890s the Albion had come into the hands of Luton brewer Thomas Sworder; when in 1897 Sworder’s brewery and public houses were sold to J. W. Green the Albion public house was included in the sale along with an adjoining property at 15 New Bedford Road. The sale particulars describe the Albion as “occupying a capital position at the corner of Inkerman Street, nearly opposite the Brewery”. It was brick-built and slated, with six bedrooms, a bathroom and W.C. on the first floor. The ground floor consisted of a bar with corner and side entrances, a bar parlour, a sitting room, a kitchen and pantry with entrance to the yard. There was a beer cellar in the basement with a cask entrance, a coal cellar, and a wash house with sink-copper and dresser. The yard had stable gates to New Bedford Road and an entrance from Inkerman Street, a dust bin, a W.C., a urinal, and a stable with standing for three horses. The tenant was Mr. W. Hart, at a rent of £35 per annum. The adjoining house consisted of five rooms, a wash house with copper, sink and W.C., a shed at the side and a small yard with an entrance to the Albion yard. The house was let to Mr. Grey for £16 per annum.
The Albion c.1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Alb3]
The Albion was demolished in 1969 to make way for road improvements to the Inkerman Street / New Bedford Road corner.
- QSR1871/3/5/9: depositions in case of James Everitt, 1871;
- WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants of J.W.Green Limited licensed houses: 1887-1926;
- X95/346: opinion on title by T.R.Colquhoun Dill of Lincolns Inn as to title of Thomas Sworder to brewery and public houses: 1897;
- X95/313-314, WB/S4/1/1/5 and Z210/84: sale catalogue: 1897;
- X95/315: copy draft conveyance of brewery and public houses from Thomas Sworder to John William Green: 1897;
- X95/319/1: copy draft conveyance of brewery and public houses from Thomas Sworder to John William Green: 1897;
- X95/312: plans of Thomas Sworder & Company public houses: 1897;
- X95/352: Site layout plan of Luton Brewery at the corner of New Bedford Road and Bridge Street also showing Albion: 1897;
- X95/357/111: discussion of plans of Albion public house: 1897;
- X95/334: abstract of title: 1897;
- WB/Green4/1/VP1: photocopy conveyance of brewery and public houses from Thomas Sworder to John William Green: 1897;
- X95/299: schedules of deeds relating to Luton Brewery and public houses: 1897;
- WB/Green1/1/1: J.W.Green Limited articles of association, trust deeds etc.: 1897-1936;
- X291/656/23: postcard of Manchester Street, shows The Albion in the foreground on the right: 1917;
- WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to properties belonging to J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
- WB/Green6/4/1: J.W.Green Limited trade analysis ledger for individual licensed premises: 1936-1947;
- WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of J.W.Green Limited deeds and documents: c.1949?;
- WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed houses of J.W.Green Limited: c.1952;
- 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;
- WB/Green4/2/19: various loose J.W.Green Limited schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
- WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Alb1-3: photographs: 1960s;
- WB/Green7/7/1: LutonTown centre Historic Pubs and Breweries Trail pamphlet: 1990s;
Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known
1869-1876: George Dukes;
1881 William A Swain;
1907-1937: Edward Taylor;
1937-1940: Mary Jane North Taylor;
1940-1952: Harry Joseph Bates;
1952-1955: Arthur Henry Tever;
1955: William Edward Singleton.