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The King Edward VII Public House Luton

The King Edward VII, c.1950 [WB/Green4/5/Lu/KE7/2]
The King Edward VII, c.1950 [WB/Green4/5/Lu/KE7/2]


The King Edward VII Public House: 1 Peel Street, Luton [previously The Bute Arms, then The Volunteer Canteen]

The Bute Arms was built by Luton brewer John Gray, who purchased what had formerly been pasture land “by a new road called Peel Street” from the Marquis of Bute in 1844. The public house had been completed by 1848, when it was mentioned in a deed conveying neighbouring property. In 1849 Gray sold his Crown and Anchor brewery to brothers Thomas and Robert Sworder, along with the Bute Arms, two beer shops and a cottage, and in 1857 the Bute Arms was one of a number of properties mortgaged by the two Sworder brothers to their uncle Thomas Sworder of Hertford.

By 1873 the name of the Bute Arms had been changed to the Volunteer Canteen and in 1889 the premises were valued at £800 with the tenant paying rent of £15 per annum. Thomas Sworder nearly went bankrupt on a number of occasions due to his brother Robert's profligacy, bad luck and his own poor business skills and in 1897 the Thomas Sworder brewery was sold to J.W.Green Ltd. The sale catalogue describes The Volunteer Canteen as a fully-licensed public house, a brick-built and slated building with double bay front, containing:

  • First Floor: six bedrooms, extending over the gateway
  • Ground Floor: bar, bar parlour, tap room, kitchen with cupboards, washhouse with sink and copper, lobby and w.c. Cellar with cask entrance.
  • Outside: Long yard in the rear with carriage gates and side door, weatherboard erection of stabling with loft. Urinal and privy.
  • The tenant was Mr. H. J. Scammell at a rent of £15 per annum.

By the time Kelly’s Directory for 1903 was published the name of the public house had changed for a second time and was now known as King Edward VII, in honour of the new king. In 1954 J.W.Green Ltd. merged with Flowers Breweries Ltd and took on the Flowers name. The merged brewery was then taken over by Whitbread in 1961. The King Edward VII closed in 1970 and was subsequently demolished.


  • X95/249: abstract of title: 1844-1849;
  • X815/7/1: conveyance of property in Peel Street: 1848;
  • X815/5/1-12: outbuildings abutting: 1853-1876;
  • Z660/D/1/1: mortgage: 1857;
  • X95/234: copy of agreement: 1862;
  • X95/304: rent share in barrels of public houses belonging to Luton Brewery: 1867;
  • CRT160/210: sale catalogue: 1872;
  • X815/13/1-13: references: 1872-1964;
  • X95/308: abstract of title: 1873;
  • Z210/81: draft agreement: 1873;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants of J.W.Green Limited licensed houses: 1887-1926;
  • X95/287: proposed arrangement of loans of Thomas Sworder & Company: 1889;
  • X95/322/13: Draft transfer of mortgage: 1889;
  • X95/333 and 343: abstracts of title: 1897;
  • X95/313-314 and Z210/84: sale catalogue: 1897;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP1: photocopy conveyance of brewery and public houses from Thomas Sworder to John William Green: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: J.W.Green Limited articles of association, trust deeds etc.: 1897-1936;
  • X815/6/4-5: references in deeds: 1900-1901;
  • X815/15/7: reference in deed: 1905;
  • 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/Green4/2/10: schedule of J.W.Green Limited deeds and documents: c.1949;
  • WB/Green6/2/9: Transfer book of beer, wines, spirits, cordials etc. to public houses: 1950-51;
  • WB/Green4/5/Lu/KE7/1: photograph of exterior: 1950-54;
  • 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: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: various loose J.W.Green Limited schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954

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:

1857: Herbert Harrison;
1872-1874: Herbert Cooper James;
1874-1885: Simon Cartwright;
1889: James Olive;
1894: John Stoffel;
1897-1902: Henry J.Scammell;
1902-1903: George Cook;
1903-1906: Brown;
1906-1910: Albert Webster;
1910-1911: Curtis;
1911-1916: Joseph Bates;
1916-1923: William W Bashford;
1923-1924: Mrs.Kate Bashford
1924-1935: Edward Hyde;
1935-1950: Arthur Sidney Foster;
1950: Robert Palmer;
1968: George David Warren.

Public house closed 9th April 1970.