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The Dog Public House Luton

The Dog before 1903 [X843/3/1]
The Dog before 1903 [X843/3/1]

The Dog Public House: corner of Castle Street and Langley Street [previously the Black Dog, then the Talbot and Dog, then the Talbot, then the Dog, then the Talbot again]

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service is lucky enough to have countywide returns of licensed premises from 1822 to 1828 [CLP13]. The Talbot occurs in each of these, giving us our earliest reference to the establishment in any document held by the service. However, William Austin, in his 1928 book The History of Luton and its Hamlets states that the licensee in 1806 was Mark Pates. Certainly the building in the picture above seems to date to at least the 18th century and perhaps even the late 17th.

By 1873 the lease of the Talbot was held by Luton brewer Thomas Sworder [Z210/81], though in this document it is called the Dog. The names Talbot and Dog seem to have been used interchangeably for a while because the countywide licensing register of 1876 lists the premises as the Talbot!

Sworder decided to retire in 1897 and his business was bought by his Luton rival John William Green, who immediately floated his new, expanded, business as J. W. Green Limited. In the sale particulars the Dog is described as formerly called the Talbot and is still a property held by Sworder on lease [X95/313]:

The Dog 1903 - proposed elevation to Langley Street [X843/1/56]
The Dog 1903 - proposed elevation to Langley Street [X843/1/56]

In 1903 plans were drawn up to pull the old premises down and rebuild them to the designs of London architect Joseph Johnson [X843/1/56]. To judge by later photographs the plans were faithfully followed. J. W. Green Limited never acquired the freehold to the Dog. In 1921 the establishment was conveyed by Colonel Alexander Harvey and others to Benskins Watford Brewery Limited [Z1211/3/12] along with the Star and Garter on the corner of Princess Street and Adelaide Street, the Cardinal in Brache Street, the Painters Arms on the corner of High Town Road and Havelock Road and Great Northern Inn, Bute Street.

The Dog closed its doors for the last time on 2nd January 1968 and by 1972 had been demolished to make way for the new road system in the middle of town.

The Dog about 1905 [Z1130-75]
The Dog about 1905 [Z1130-75]


  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • Z210/81: draft agreement between Thomas Sworder junior and Thomas Sworder senior for a partnership: 1873;
  • X95/313-314, Z210/84 and WB/S4/1/1/5: sale catalogues of Thomas Sworder's brewery and licensed premises: 1897;
  • X843/1/56: nine plans: 1902-1903;
  • X843/2/22: specification of works in pulling down and rebuilding the public house: 1903;
  • X843/3/1: photograph prior to demolition and rebuilding: 1903;
  • X843/1/56: elevations for new premises: 1903-1904;
  • Z1211/3/12: photocopy front page of a conveyance: 1921;
  • WB/Green7/7/1: LutonTown centre Historic Pubs and Breweries Trail pamphlet: 1990s.

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

1806: Mark Pates;
1822: Ann Pates;
1847-1850: John Pates;
1854: Mary Cain;
1869: C. Willmot;
1872-1876: Selina Willmot;
1876: Frederick Fryer;
1885: Samuel Barford;
1890: Henry Mansfield;
1894: Joseph Henry Smith;
1898: William George Pendleton;
1903: George Haines;
1943: Elizabeth Haines;
1949: Walter Kay;
1956: Hilda Clara Kay;
1960: Francis Neary;
1965: Patrick James Lenehan;
Public house closed 2nd January 1968.