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The Brewery Tap Public House Luton

The Brewery Tap in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BT1]
The Brewery Tap in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BT1]

The Brewery Tap Public House: 22 to 24 Park Street, Luton

The Brewery Tap public house of today [2009] comprises two formerly separate buildings which were combined into one following a fatal fire in December 1979. Before that the Brewery Tap had been 22 Park Street and 24 Park Street had been a shop. Coincidentally, 24 Park Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1979. It was then the Pioneer Bookshop and was described as a two storey timber framed building with a rear wing and was reckoned to be 17th century in origin, but had been cased in stucco with a parapet front in the early to mid 19th century.

The first mention of a beerhouse at 22 Park Street is in a directory of 1894 when the tenant was James Charles Ell. As the name suggests the beerhouse operated as a sales point for the beer brewed just over the road (Park Street West to which 22 Park Street has a return frontage) in J. W. Green's Phoenix Brewery, which he had bought from brewers Henry and Frederick Pearman in 1869.

The Brewery Tap in the 1960s - Park Street West frontage [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BT2]
The Brewery Tap in the 1960s - Park Street West frontage [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BT2]

In 1897 J W Green bought rival Thomas Sworder's brewery in New Bedford Road along with the large chain of licensed houses that comprised the business. In 1954 J. W. Green Limited merged with Flowers Breweries and, though Green's were the senior partner, the business took the Flowers name. In 1962 Flowers was taken over by Whitbread and the public house remained in that firm's ownership until it divested itself of all its brewing and public house interests in 2001. The beerhouse became a fully licensed public house on 3rd March 1948.

The Post Echo reported the fire at the Brewery tap, which occurred on the morning of Sunday 16th December 1979. It was believed that a guest, Gordon Platten, aged 33, fell asleep whilst holding a lighted cigarette - he died in the subsequent fire and the relief managers were rescued by the fire brigade, the alarm having been raised by two policemen on foot patrol about 5.20 that morning. The public house did not reopen until May 1981, after the extensive remodelling, which included the incorporation of 24 Park Street.

The Brewery Tap from the south July 2008
The Brewery Tap from the south July 2008


  • 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/Green4/2/13: 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;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed houses of J.W.Green Limited: c.1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: various loose J.W.Green Limited schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BT1-2: photographs: 1960s;
  • FSD/PC25: fatal fire at public house: 1979;
  • FSD/PC28: reopening of public house after fire: 1981
  • WB/Green7/7/1: LutonTown centre Historic Pubs and Breweries Trail pamphlet: 1990s

The Park Street West frontage of The Brewery Tap July 2008
The Park Street West frontage of the Brewery Tap July 2008

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:

1894-1900: James Charles Ell;
1900-1903: Phillips;
1903-1915: Arthur Henry Spacey;
1915-1938: George Henry Jackson;
1938-1942: Cyril Frederick Barton;
1942-1946: Annie Kate Barton;
1946-1952: Cyril Frederick Barton;
1952: Annie Kate Barton;
1962: Robert William Allen and Percy Walter Carey;
1962: Robert William Allen and David Stark Robertson;
1967: Norman Arthur Hards;
1972: Norman Arthur Hards and Neil Hugh Speirs;
1974: Norman Arthur Hards and Jack Carlisle;
1977: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Gordon Frank Bray;
1981: Richard Owen West and Derrick Louis Pettengell;
1982: Andrew Denham Talkington and Derrick Louis Pettengell;
1986: Kenneth John Fulkes and Derrick Louis Pettengell;
1987: James Lawrence Rogers and Derrick Louis Pettengell;
1988: Peter Lindsay Smith and Laurence Dedics;
1991: Peter Charles Crabbe and Lawrence Dedics.