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The Crown and Anchor Public House Luton

The Crown and Anchor public house in 1849 [X95/247]
The Crown and Anchor public house in 1849 [X95/247]

The Crown and Anchor Public House: 2 New Bedford Road, Luton on the corner of Bridge Street

The Crown and Anchor public house is first mentioned in 1843 when it was conveyed by the 2nd Marquis of Bute to Luton builder John Gray [X95/246] along with three roods, seven poles of surrounding land on which Gray then built the Crown and Anchor Brewery. It is not clear how old the public house is from the deed but conveyed along with it is a house occupied by Gray and "recently erected". When Gray sold the public house it was noted as having been built by him. The Crown and Anchor is not mentioned in the comprehensive and countywide register of ale house licenses of 1822 to 1828 [CLP13] and so clearly must have been built between 1828 and 1843, probably closer to the latter date.

In 1849 Gray sold the Crown and Anchor Brewery he had just built, along with the Crown and Anchor public house to brothers Thomas and Robert Sworder [X95/343] along with the Bute Arms in Peel Street, the Boot beer shop in Burr Street , the Volunteer beer shop in Donkey Hall and a cottage for £3,420. Thereafter the Crown and Anchor remained part of Sworder's business through all its vicissitudes - Sworder nearly went bankrupt on a number of occasions due to his brother Robert's profligacy, bad luck and his own poor business skills - recounted under the Crown and Anchor Brewery. He eventually sold out to his Luton rival John William Green in 1897. Green, at the same time, converted his firm into a limited company called J. W. Green Limited.

 The Crown and Anchor about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/CA1]
The Crown and Anchor about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/CA1]

The Crown and Anchor then remained part of J. W. Green until the firm merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954, taking the Flowers name. Flowers was taken over by national brewery chain Whitbread in 1962. The Crown And Anchor closed in 1975 and was subsequently was demolished. At the time of writing [2009] the site of both public house and brewery is occupied by a leisure complex.


  • X95/246 and WB/S4/1/9/1: Crown and Anchor conveyed by Marquis of Bute to John Gray: 1843;
  • X95/246 and WB/S4/1/9/3: mortgage from John Gray to Thomas Riches: 1847;
  • X95/246: mortgage from John Gray to John Anstee: 1848;
  • X95/247: plan of the Crown and Anchor Brewery and public house: 1849;
  • X95/343: Crown and Anchor conveyed by John Gray to Thomas and Robert Sworder: 1849;
  • X95/231: Copy of five agreements made by Thomas Sworder the elder and Thomas Sworder the younger: 1850-1862;
  • X95/302: Memorandum in reference to Mortgage from Thomas and Robert Sworder to Thomas Sworder the elder: 1853;
  • Z660/D/1/1: mortgage Thomas Sworder to Thomas Foster and Henry Vyse: 1857;
  • X95/234: agreement between Thomas Sworder the younger and Thomas Sworder the elder: 1862;
  • X95/304: Rent share in barrels of public house belonging to Luton Brewery: 1867;
  • X95/305: Statement of case regarding potential partnership for Thomas Sworder of Luton: c.1868;
  • X95/292/330: mentioned in a letter: 1872;
  • Z210/81: in draft agreement between Thomas Sworder of Luton and Thomas Sworder of Hertford: 1873;
  • X95/287: Proposed arrangement of loans of Thomas Sworder & Company: 1889;
  • X95/322/13: draft transfer of mortgage Thomas Sworder to Thomas Joseph Sworder and Charles Elton Longmore: 1889;
  • X95/322/21: Draft Instructions to George Jackson to value Bedford Road Brewery, Luton: 1889;
  • X95/308 and 309: abstracts of title of Thomas Sworder to Crown and Anchor Brewery and licensed premises: 1889;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants: 1894-1926;
  • X95/352: Site layout plan of Luton Brewery at the corner of New Bedford Road and Bridge Street: 1897;
  • X95/346a: Opinion on Title by T.R.Colquhoun Dill of Lincolns Inn as to title of Thomas Sworder: 1897;
  • X95/343: Abstract of Title of Thomas Sworder to Bedford Road Brewery, Crown & Anchor and Volunteer Canteen, Luton: 1897;
  • X95/312: File of plans of public houses: 1897;
  • X95/333: abstract of title: 1897;
  • X95/313-314 and Z210/84: sale catalogue: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: record of J. W. Green Limited properties: 1897;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP14: agreement for bracket and wires, Crown & Anchor, New Bedford Road, Luton, with Luton Broadcast Relay Service Limited: 26 Jul 1934;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: Negative photocopy certificate of title to properties belonging to J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: Schedule of Deeds and Documents: c.1949
  • WB/Green4/2/12: Schedule of Deeds and Documents: c.1949
  • WB/Green4/2/5: List of licensed houses of J.W.Green Limited: c.1952
  • WB/Green4/2/16: Letter as to Titles - J.W.Green Limited to their solicitors Lawrance, Messer & Company listing properties: 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;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: Various loose schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Green4/2/18: Certificate of Title to certain properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Lu/CA1-2: photographs: c.1960;
  • WB/Gray/7/2/1-2: photograph of exterior rear of Crown & Anchor, Luton, with lettering stating "Gray & Co Celebrated XX Ales": 1963;
  • WB/Green7/7/1: LutonTown centre Historic Pubs and Breweries Trail pamphlet: 1990s

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: 

1839: Joseph Everitt;
1861: William Farr;
1864: M. Critchley;
1872: Charlotte Critchley;
1873: William Wyatt Boyden;
1873: James Rumbles;
1889: W. Stackhouse;
1894: Strickland;
1894: Johnson;
1895: W. Verran;
1896: John William Verran;
1942: Herbert James Johnson;
1961: Leslie Cyril Booth and Leslie Ronald Grant;
1961: Robert William Allen and Leslie Ronald Grant;
1963: Robert William Allen and Tom Wilman;
1964: Robert William Allen;
1965: Robert William Allen and Kenneth Edgar Regester;
1965: Robert William Allen;
1966: Robert William Allen and Thomas Seymour Partridge;
1967: Norman Arthur Hards and Thomas Seymour Partridge;
1969: Norman Arthur Hards;
1969: Norman Arthur Hards and Henry Sylvester Bartlett;
1972: Keith Gibbon Scott-Farnie and Ronald Gofton Franklin;
1972: David Valentine Wood.
Public House closed 1975.