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The Bricklayers Arms Public House Luton

The Bricklayers Arms High Town June 2010
The Bricklayers Arms High Town June 2010

The Bricklayers Arms Public House: 16-18 High Town Road, Luton.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service holds a series of countywide registers of alehouse licences for each year from 1822 to 1828 [CLP13]. The Bricklayers Arms first appears in these registers in 1824 and so it is reasonable to assume that this was the year of opening.

In 1860 the Bricklayers Arms was, with many other licensed premises, conveyed by the executors of Frederick Burr to Thomas Sworder when the latter bought Burr's brewery [Z600/D/1/4]. Sworder's business was thrown into disarray by this huge purchase and remained near bankruptcy for some years as a result. When Sworder retired in 1897 his business was bought by Luton rival John William Green who immediately floated his newly enlarged company as J. W. Green Limited.

In 1954 J. W. Green merged with Midlands brewers Flowers, retaining the Flowers name. This company was then, in 1962, taken over by Whitbread. Stuart Smith in his 1995 book Pubs and Pints about the history of Luton breweries and public houses (available on the searchroom shelves) states that the Bricklayers closed in the 1970s and became a pool hall under the name The Bronx. The house later reopened under its original name run by Whitbread and Shefford brewers Banks and Taylor. Whitbread divested itself of its licensed premises in 2001 but the Bricklayers remains a public house at the time of writing [2010] and is a free house.


  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1824-1828;
  • Z660/D/1/4: conveyance of William Burr's brewery by Edward Burr and Richard Hatley Crabb to Thomas Sworder: 1860;
  • BS2234: ten year lease from Thomas Sworder and the executors of Edward Burr to William Anstee, John Cook and Benjamin Bennett: 1862;
  • X95/304: rent in barrels of Thomas Sworder licensed properties: 1867;
  • X95/283: account of rents of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1867;
  • Z660/D/1/6: conveyance from Edward Burr and Thomas Joseph Sworder to Thomas Sworder: 1878;
  • X95/270: copy mortgage from Thomas Sworder to William Anstee and Benjamin Bennett junior: 1878;
  • WBGreen5/5/1: register of successive tenants to J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: 1887-1926;
  • X95/287: proposed arrangement of loans for Thomas Sworder & Company: 1889;
  • X95/309: abstract of title of Thomas Sworder: 1889;
  • X95/296: schedule of Thomas Sworder's properties held by William Anstee as security for loans: 1889;
  • X95/322/20: draft mortgage from Thomas Sworder to William Anstee: 1889;
  • X95/332a-b: abstracts of title of Thomas Sworder to licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/298: schedule of deeds of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/312: file of Thomas Sworder's public house plans: 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 articles of association and licensed houses owned by J.W.Green Limited: 1897-1936;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP14: agreements and wayleaves affecting the Bricklayers: 1932;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger of J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1936;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of deeds to J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: c.1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter from J.W.Green to solicitors Lawrance, Messer & Company asking which licensed properties had been in continuous occupation: 24 Jul 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: Trust Deed of J.W.Green Limited with list of licensed premises: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: Various loose schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Green7/7/4: Luton Hat Trail 2 - High Town-Old Bedford Road, a pamphlet on the hat trade and buildings connected with it produced by Luton Borough Council Planning & Development Department: 1990s

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

1824: Joseph Gutteridge;
1826: Joseph Ellard/Ellerd
1839: William Smith;
1847: Thomas Peck;
1854: Elizabeth Peck;
1861: William Shutland/Shortland [in 1864 he is listed simply as "beerseller"];
1869: William Catlin [convicted 12 January 1874 of selling beer before 12.30pm on Sunday; fined £1 with £1/17/- costs]
1875: David Croxford;
1885: Mrs. Lucy Croxford;
1900: Jenkins;
1900: Egginton;
1903: Thomas Hawkes;
1904: A. Hawkes;
1913: Fanny Hawkes;
1935: Charles James Jolly
1960: Albert Victor Gardner;
1978: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Ronald George Stock;
1982: Richard Owen West and Ronald George Stock;
1983: Roger George Ernest Coomber and Mark David Stanton;
1985: Martin Leigh Ayres and Frederick Currant;
1987: Martin Leigh Ayres and Alison Elizabeth Taylor.