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The Windsor Castle Public House Windsor Street Luton

The Windsor Castle Public House: Windsor Street [possibly number 27], Luton

The Windsor Castle in Windsor Street was purchased by Luton brewer Frederick Burr from James Hopkins in 1852; Hopkins had bought the property from the Marquis of Bute in 1844. In 1859 the Windsor Castle was included in a list of public houses proposed to be sold “by” Luton brewer Thomas Sworder, with an estimated value of £350. This appears to be an error as the list is of properties later included in the sale of Burr’s Brewery to Sworder in 1860. In 1864 Sworder agreed to lease the Windsor Castle to the Bedford Brewery for five percent of its current value of £600.

In 1868 the Windsor Castle was kept by William Ransom, who gave evidence at the Bedford Quarter Sessions in the case of Mary Ann Bailey and George Smith who were accused of obtaining good by false pretences. Bailey had claimed to Abraham Warren, an ironmonger of 22 Bute Street, that Smith was her husband and that he kept the Windsor Castle in Windsor Street. On this bases Warren had allowed them to take a number of items on payment of a deposit. Ransom told the court that he had taken over the Windsor Castle from “Bennett” who had been there for five months, and that Smith had been a lodger there when he took over but had never been the keeper of the public house.

The Windsor Castle in Windsor Street closed in 1872 and its name was transferred to the Roebuck in Albert Road. In 1878 the former public house was a private dwelling house occupied by William Gilham. In the 1881 census William Gillams, a bricklayer employing seven men, was recorded at 27 Windsor Street. This is a still a substantial double fronted property, now converted into flats, and it seems likely that this property was originally the Windsor Castle. A mortgage deed of 1889 includes in the list of properties mortgaged by Thomas Sworder a private house in Windsor Street which was formerly the Windsor Castle. The brick built and slated house was occupied by Arthur Kirby at a rent £22 per annum and had an estimated value £400. The first floor had four bedrooms and a landing; the ground floor two sitting rooms, a kitchen and scullery; there was a good cellar in basement and a large yard behind with a gateway entrance from street, a brick and slate washhouse and W.C., a weather boarded stable for three horses with galvanised iron roof, a lean-to cart shed with galvanised roof and lean-to boarded and felt covered shed. Town water was laid on.


  • X95/303: list of public houses to be sold by Thomas Sworder with estimates of value: 1859;
  • Z660/D/1/4: conveyance of William Burr's brewery by Edward Burr and Richard Hatley Crabb to Thomas Sworder: 1860;
  • X95/292/41: Windsor Castle had sold 60 barrels of beer in the last year: 1862;
  • X95/292/67: willingness of Thomas Sworder to let the Windsor Castle for 5% of the value of £600: 1864;
  • X95/283: account of rents of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1867;
  • QSR1869/1/5/4-5: depositions in the case of Mary Ann Bailey and George Smith, 1868-9;
  • X95/304: rent in barrels of Thomas Sworder licensed properties: 1867;
  • Z660/D/1/6: conveyance from Edward Burr and Thomas Joseph Sworder to Thomas Sworder: 1878;
  • X95/300: schedule of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1889;
  • X95/309: Abstract of title of Thomas Sworder to brewery, public houses and premises at Luton: 1889;
  • X95/322/9&18: List of public houses on which mortgage deed secured and draft mortgage: 1889;
  • X95/301: schedules of deeds relating to Luton Brewery and public houses: 1897

Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known

1850-1854: Thomas Finch;
1860-1864: J. Keeling;
1868: Bennett;
1868: William Ransom;
1871: Joseph Wild