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The Four Horse Shoes Public House Luton

The Four Horse Shoes about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/FH1]
The Four Horse Shoes about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/FH1]

The Four Horse Shoes: 80 Park Street, Luton [Horse Shoes until 1885]

The countywide licensing register for 1876 states that the Horse Shoes, as the public house was then known, was first licensed in 1858. In 1876 it was owned by William Newman. By 1885 directories were listing the business as the Four Horse Shoes, which it remains to the time of writing [September 2009].

In 1908 the Four Horse Shoes was gutted by fire. The landlord, William Littlweood Clifford, died whilst trying to secure his takings and the pub was evidently empty for some time because a 1910 directory (presumably compiled early in the year or late in 1909) has no listing for the Four Horse Shoes. Predictably there are reports of sounds like money being counted and a cold presence felt in the cellar of the pub, leading to speculation that William Clifford returns to guard his money!

In 1915 the Four Horse Shoes was conveyed by Mary Delafield Williams and Hatfield [Hertfordshire] brewers Pryor Reid & Company Limited to the Brewery and Commercial Investment Trust Limited [WB/Green4/2/19] and four years later Pryor and Reid and the Trust conveyed the public house to Luton brewers J. W. Green Limited [WB/Green4/1/VP5], along with the Railway Inn and the Vine, both also in Luton, for £3,700. In 1939 Greens allowed a bracket and wires of the Luton Broadcast Relay Service Limited to be attached to the property [WB/Green4/1/VP14].

J. W. Green Limited merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and the new firm took the Flowers name. Flowers was taken over by Whitbread in 1962 and in 2001 Whitbread divested itself of all its brewing and public house interests. At the time of writing the Four Horse Shoes is a free house owned by Sussex brewery Harveys.

 The Horse Shoes July 2008
The Four Horse Shoes July 2008


  • WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants of J.W.Green Limited licensed houses: 1887-1926;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: conveyance: 1915;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP5: conveyance: 1919
  • WB/Green4/1/VP14: agreements and wayleaves on J.W.Green premises: 1928-1961;
  • WB/Green4/1/Lu/FH1: mortgage of Four Horseshoes by J.W.Green Limited to Barclays Bank: 1936, redeemed 1990 by Whitbread London Limited;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to properties belonging to J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952
  • WB/Green4/2/8: schedule of J.W.Green Limited deeds and documents: c.1949?;
  • WB/Green4/2/12: Schedule of Deeds and Documents of J.W.Green Limited property: 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: 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: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Lu/FH1-2: photographs: 1960s;
  • 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: 

1861: John Brown;
1885: William Medhurst;
1894: William John Blakie;
1898: Walter Warburton;
1903: Harry Williams;
1908: William Littlewood Clifford;
1910: not listed;
1914: Frederick Makin;
1937: William Joseph Hill;
1959: William Edward Southcott;
1962: George Frederick Hooker;
1966: David Arfon Rees;
1990: John Edward Boyle and Catherine Teresa Boyle.