The Britannia Public House Luton
The Britannia Public House: 63 Burr Street, Luton.
This property stood on the corner of Burr Street with Back Street. It is first mentioned in a directory of 1864 when occupied by one James Waller. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that Luton brewer Thomas Sworder was the owner but this was not true. When Sworder put his business up for sale in 1897 the particulars [WB/S4/1/1/5 and X95/313-314] made it clear that the Britannia was only held by the company on lease. Sworder’s business was bought by rival Luton brewer John William Green who immediately made his firm a limited company – J. W. Green Limited.
In 1899 the Britannia was one of the properties put up for sale by the executors of Charles Inwards, deceased [WL1000/1/LUT3/1]. The Victoria beerhouse and the Green Man Public House were also in the sale. The particulars for the Britannia read as follows:
THAT VALUABLE FREEHOLD
FULLY LICENSED PUBLIC HOUSEKNOWN AS
BURR STREET, LUTON,
OCCUPYING A MOST COMMANDING POSITION IN THIS DENSELY PUPOLATED NEIGHBOURHOOD
BEING WITHIN 3 MINUTES’ WALK OF THE GT. NORTHERN AND MIDLAND RAILWAY STATIONS.
It is Brick-built and Slated and in first-class repair, a modern Plate Glass Front having recently been put in.
On GROUND FLOOR – Entrance Lobby forming Front Bar, Bottle and Jug Department (Entrance from Back Street), Tap Room, Bar Parlour, Private Sitting Room, Kitchen;
On FIRST FLOOR – Three good Bedrooms, Private Sitting Room (in Roof are two large Attics);
In BASEMENT – Spacious, cool, and well-lighted Cellarage.
At rear is large Yard with Entrance from Back Street, containing Stabling and Coachhouse, Barn, W. C., and Urinal
The House is fitted throughout with Grates, Cupboards, &c. Gas and Water Company’s Services.
Having a Frontage to Burr Street of 27 feet 6 inches, with a Return Frontage to Back Street of 69 feet.
In the occupation of Mr. William Ross, as sub-tenant to Messrs. J. W. green Ltd., who hold the premises on a Lease for 14 years from December 25th, 1895, at a Rental of
£100 per Annum
N. B. – This Lot is sold subject to a Right-of-Way from back Street through the Yard to rear of property belonging to Mrs. Bond.
THE TRADE FIXTURES AND FITTINGS BELONG TO THE TENANT
The sale particulars contain no clue as to who bought the Britannia but it seems likely that it was J. W. Green Limited as the property is one of those appearing in a certificate of title to the company’s premises in 1936 [WB/Green4/2/4]. The public house then remained in Green’s ownership until it closed on 25th September 1957 and was subsequently demolished. The name was re-used for a public house built in 1960 in Biscot Road.
- PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1876;
- Z210/81: part of Thomas Sworder’s business and included in a draft agreement with his uncle: 1873;
- WBGreen5/5/1: register of successive tenants to J. W. Green Limited licensed premises: 1887-1926;
- WB/S4/1/1/5 and X95/313-314: sale particulars of brewery and licensed premises of Thomas Sworder: 1897;
- X95/357/124: note accompanying enclosure of a counterpart lease: 1897;
- WL1000/1/LUT/3/1: included in a sale particular: 1899;
- WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger of J. W. Green Limited licensed premises: 1936-1947;
- WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to licensed properties of J. W. Green Limited: 1936-1952;
- WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed properties of J. W. Green Limited: c.1936;
- WB/Green4/2/11: schedule of deeds to J. W. Green Limited licensed premises: c.1949;
- WB/Green4/1/VP14: agreements and wayleaves affecting J. W. Green licensed premises: 1947
- 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/Flow4/5/Lu/B1-2: photographs of the pub exterior: c. 1956.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1864: James Waller;
1869: Walter Ephgrave;
1872-1876: John Clayton;
1876-1885: George Sharp;
1890: George Isaac Hickman;
1893-1895: William Drake;
1895-1902: William Ross;
1902-1903: George Burgess;
1905-1907: William Copeland;
1909-1912: James William Ellis;
1912-1916: George Hill;
1916-1922: Walter Ansell;
1922-1930: George Benham;
1930-1939: Frank Phillips;
1939-1941: Albert Charles Payne;
1941-1942: Herbert James Johnson;
1942-1954: Cyril Philpott
1954: James Harris
Public house closed 25th September 1957