The Cricketers Arms Beerhouse Luton
63 High Town Road, June 2011
The Cricketers Arms Beerhouse: 63 High Town Road, Luton [formerly The Cricketers Retreat].
The countywide licensing register of 1876 records that the Cricketers Retreat Beerhouse was first licensed in 1868 and belonged to Luton brewer Thomas Sworder and Company. In fact, Sworder simply leased the property from an unknown owner [X95/313].
Sworder sold his business to Luton rival John William Green in 1897 [X95/313], Green immediately floating his enlarged business as J. W. Green Limited. At this date the beerhouse was known as the Cricketers Arms. The last record of a licensee is in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire of 1906. The next Kelly’s, 1910, has no mention of a business at 63 High Town Road and so, presumably, the beerhouse had closed by then.
- PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1876;
- Z210/81 Reference in partnership deed between Thomas Sworder and his uncle: 1873;
- WB/S4/1/1/5 and X95/313 and 314 Sale particulars for sale, by auction, of Thomas Sworder & Company's brewery etc. Cricketer's Arms beerhouse 25 May 1897 ;
- X95/313 Sale particulars for sale, by auction, of Thomas Sworder & Company's brewery etc.; Cricketer's Arms beerhouse, 25 May 1897.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1873-1877: Enoch Clayton;
1885: George Bennett;
1890: John George West
1894: George William Thring.
1898: James Winter.
1903: John Henry Dyer.
1906: James Tooth.
After the closure of the Cricketers Arms 63 High Town Road remained a business. The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting 63 High Town Road [DV1/R59/20] found it owned and occupied by W. W. Barford. His private accommodation comprised a scullery and a workroom on the ground floor with a living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Part of the premises was leased by Martin’s Stores, described by Kelly’s Directory in 1928 as “oil and colour men”, clearly they dealt in paint. They paid rent of £1 per week for a shop measuring 19 feet 6 inches by 11 feet, an office measuring 15 feet by 10 feet 6 inches and a cellar measuring 19 ft 6 inches by 11 feet. They also had a brick and corrugated iron store in the rear measuring 10 feet by 24 feet 6 inches. The valuer commented about the shop: “Small Window”.
Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years from 1839, for example, the beginning of the 20th century has directories for 1903, 1906, 1910 and 1914. Countywide directories ceased to be published during the Second World War, the last for Bedfordshire being in 1940. Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has directories just for Luton for 1939, 1950, 1960, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1974 and 1975. The first street numbers in High Town Road begin to appear in directories in 1885 but it looks as if there was some renumbering of properties on the odd side of the road between 1890 and 1894.
- 1914: Walter Edward Barford, plumber;
- 1920: Walter Edward Barford, plumber;
- 1928: Martin’s Stores, oil and colour men;
- 1931: Martin’s Stores, oil and colour men;
- 1936: Martin’s Stores, oil and colour men;
- 1939: Martins Stores;
- 1940: Martin’s Stores, oil and colour men;
- 1950: Martin’s Stores;
- 1960: Martins Stores (A. E. Pilgrim, proprietor), wholesale and retail decorators’ merchants;
- 1965: Martins Stores (A. E. Pilgrim, proprietor), wholesale and retail decorators’ merchants;
- 1968: Martins Stores (A. E. Pilgrim, proprietor), wholesale and retail decorators’ merchants;
- 1972: Martins Stores, wholesale and retail decorators’ merchants;
- 1974: Martins Stores, decorators’ merchants;
- 1975: Martins Stores, decorators’ merchants;
- 2011: Abam Foods, African Caribbean groceries.