The British Queen Public House Luton
A map showing the position of the British Queen in 1880 [MC1/4/L7]
The British Queen Public House: Bute Street, Luton.
The first mention of the British Queen comes in a directory of 1869 when William Smith was licensee. Maps [MC1/4/L7] show that it stood on the south-east side of Bute Street, being the third property north of the junction with John Street, opposite the Engine Public House. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that it was first licensed in 1864 and was then owned by Joseph Baker. Public houses with this name often had the ancient British Queen Boudica on their signs.
The public house is last mentioned in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire of 1885, by the time of the next Kelly’s, 1890, it is no longer listed and so had, presumably, closed between these two dates. The property was later demolished to widen the junction between John Street and Bute Street. In a pamphlet produced by Luton Borough Council Planning & Development Department from information received from Luton Museum [WB/Green7/7/1] it is noted that because the British Queen stood directly over the River Lea its customers, with the legend of Sweeney Todd, Demon Barber of Fleet Street, in mind, referred to it as “Tiddley-wink the Barber”.
The site of the British Queen August 2011
- PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1876;
- MC1/4/L7: position of the British Queen shown on a map: 1880;
- Z210/84: sale particulars: 1897;
- WB/Green7/7/1: mentioned in LutonTown centre Historic Pubs and Breweries Trail pamphlet produced by Luton Borough Council Planning & Development Department: 1998.
Licencees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:
1869: W. Smith;
1872: George Attwell
1873-1874: Elizabeth Prime;
1874-1876: John Peers;
1876-1877: William Freeman;
1885: James David Williams.