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The Antelope Public House Luton

The Antelope about 1960 [WB-Flow4-5-Lu-Ant2]
The Antelope about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Ant2]

The Antelope Public House: 51 Albert Road, Luton

The first mention of the Antelope in any document held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service is in the Directory of 1861 when the licensee is given as Richard Bavister. The following year the estate of George Bowers and the late G. Haywood was put up for ale by auction [X787/10]. This included ten premises in Albert Road: 51 to 58 as well as 31 and the Antelope. The latter has no number but was auctioned between numbers 57 and 58 and Number 31 (some renumbering evidently occurred because the Antelope was 51 Albert Road in 1940). It was described thus:


Old Licensed Public House, "THE ANTELOPE"

Situate in Albert Road,

With Gateway Entrance from street to yard, in which is a Brick, Flint and Slated Stable with Loft over, Skittle Alley, Washhouse, Out-Offices, Well of Water, and Entrance from footpath at back.

The house is substantially built of Brick and Slate, with a frontage of 28 feet 10 inches, exclusive of the gateway, 9 feet 2 inches wide; is in depth 32 feet, and contains capital large Cellar, Kitchen, Tap Room, bar, Parlor [sic], large open Entrance in front of bar, and five excellent Chambers.

It is in the occupation of Mr. Bavister, doing an excellent trade, and is held by Mr. Sworder, at the very low rent of £26 per annum, on lease which expires at Christmas, 1866.

Thomas Sworder presumably bought the place as he mortgaged it in 1867 [X95/269]. The reference to "old licensed" may indicate that the building had been licensed since its erection, much of this part of Luton being built in the early 1850s.

Thomas Sworder's business always seemed close to bankruptcy and he again mortgaged the Antelope, along with other licensed houses in 1899 [X95/322/9]. The  Antelope was then described as in the occupation of Mrs.[Lucy] Gibbs who paid Sworder £16 per annum rent. The estimated value of the premises and its business was then £1,000. It was described as brick built with a gin shop at the front. The first floor still contained five bedrooms, together with a large landing. The ground floor had a bar, bar parlour, separate side entrance with a lobby, tap room, kitchen, lean-to washhouse, and coal house. There was also a basement cellar. A roadway ran at the side with folding gates opening into yard with a lean-to cart shed and brick and slate stable for two horses with loft over. There was also an entrance from street. The well of 1862 was no longer needed as "town water laid on".

The Antelope was sold, along with the rest of Sworder's business to his rival John William Green in 1897. J. W. Green Limited then held the pub until 1954 when it merged with Midlands brewers Flowers and took the Flowers name. Flowers was then taken over by Whitbread in 1962. The Antelope was closed in 1968 and subsequently demolished.


  • X787/10: sale catalogue: 1862;
  • X95/269: copy mortgage from Thomas Sworder to John Cook, William Anstee and Benjamin Bennett: 1867;
  • X95/305: statement of the case for potential partners for Thomas Sworder: c. 1868;
  • Z210/81: agreement between Thomas Sworder the younger and Thomas Sworder the elder: 1873;
  • X95/240: copy agreement between Thomas Sworder and his creditors William Anstee, John Cook and Benjamin Bennett: 1878;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants: 1887-1926;
  • X95/300: schedule of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1889;
  • X95/287: proposed arrangement of loans for Thomas Sworder & Company: 1889;
  • X95/245: draft reassignment and release of licensed premises to Thomas Sworder from his creditors: 1889;
  • X95/322/9: list of licensed premises mortgaged by Thomas Sworder: 1889;
  • X95/322/21: valuation of some of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1889;
  • X95/322/18: draft mortgage of licensed premises from Thomas Sworder to Charles Elton Longmore: 1889;
  • X95/299: schedule of deeds of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/322/27: draft release of licensed premises from Charles Elton Longmore to Thomas Sworder: 1897;
  • X95/332a-b: abstracts of title of Thomas Sworder to licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/333a-b: abstracts of title of Thomas Sworder to licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/346a: opinion of counsel on Thomas Sworder's title to licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/313-314, Z210/84 and WB/S4/1/1/5: sale catalogues of Thomas Sworder's brewery and licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/315 and WB/Green4/1/VP1: draft conveyances of licensed premises from Thomas Sworder to J. W. Green Limited: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: record of J. W. Green Limited properties: 1897-1936;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: list of properties belonging to J. W. Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of J. W. Green Limited deeds: c. 1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of J. W. Green Limited licensed houses: c. 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter as to J. W. Green Limited title to properties: 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: J. W. Green Limited trust deed: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: J. W. Green Limited schedules of deeds: c. 1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Ant1-2: photographs: 1960s;
  • WB/S7/2/6: newspaper cutting including memories of Ethel Abbott of her parents keeping the Antelope: 1963

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

1861: Richard Bavister;
1864: G. Roberts;
1867: Samuel Puddephatt;
1869: Mrs. L. Greenhalf;
1871: William Gibbs;
1872: Lucy Gibbs;
1895: Stewart;
1896: Gibbs;
1897: Sidney George Abbott;
1907: R. Ivins;
1908: Thomas William Ivins;
1910: James Arthur Wiseman;
1956: Daisy Maud Wiseman;
1956: William Arthur Eyre;
1961: Thomas Francis Brannigan;
Public house closed 1968

The site of the Antelope June 2010
The site of the Antelope June 2010