Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Luton > LicensedinLuton > The Green Dragon Public House Luton

The Green Dragon Public House Luton

The Blacksmiths Arms about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BlackA1]
The Blacksmiths Arms about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BlackA1]

The Green Dragon Public House: 202 Park Street, Luton [previously the Heron, then the Blacksmiths Arms, then Maud Gonne's]

There is some confusion over the origins of this public house which was originally owned by Park Street brewer Frederick Burr and called the Heron before being renamed the Blacksmiths Arms. It is known that the site was conveyed by James Hopkins to Frederick Burr in 1851 [WB/Green4/2/19] suggesting that the house was built shortly afterwards.

The countywide register of licensed premises for 1876 states that the Blacksmiths Arms was first licensed in 1864. In 1878, when Thomas Joseph Sworder and the executors of Frederick Burr re-conveyed the old Park Street brewery and its licensed premises to Thomas Sworder the Blacksmiths Arms is described as formerly called the Heron [Z660/D/1/6]. When Burr's business was originally conveyed to Thomas Sworder, of the Crown and Anchor Brewery on the corner of New Bedford Road and Bridge Street, in 1860 [Z660/D/1/4] the Heron was described as a "public house, Park Street, Luton, in occupation of James Parrott; built by Frederick Burr on part of Brown Brick Field". This clearly contradicts the date in the 1876 licensing register! In 1861, James Parrott was simply listed as a beer seller in Park Street (beerhouses are not named in directories) suggesting that he moved to the establishment later fully licensed as the Goat where he was later listed as licensee. It is not known when the name changed from Heron to Blacksmiths Arms, but the house was still called the Heron in a lease of 1862 and was called the Blacksmiths Arms in a directory of 1869. This perhaps suggests that the name change may have taken place in 1864 hence the date given in the 1876 register, though two memoranda of Sworder's business, both of 1867 [X95/283 and X95/304], still use the Heron name! The reason for the change is that licensee Thomas Cadwell was a blacksmith.

The public house, whatever its name, remained part of Sworder's business until he sold his brewery and all its licensed premises to  Luton competitor John William Green, whose Phoenix Brewery was in Park Street West. When he took over Sworder's business Green floated his firm as a public limited company under the name J. W. Green Limited. In 1954 J. W. Green merged with Flowers Breweries and adopted the latter, better known, name, before being taken over by national concern Whitbread in 1962.

In his history of Luton breweries and licensed premises called Pubs and Pints published in 1995, Stuart Smith states that the Blacksmiths Arms was renamed Maud Gonne's, and became an Irish theme pub, in 1994. Maud Gonne (1866-1953) was an English born Irish revolutionary and lover of Irish poet W. B. Yeats. She was a convinced Irish Republican and raises the interesting question of whether the change of name reflected the mood of Irish residents in this area of Luton at the time. By 2006 the public house had been renamed again - the Green Dragon. Shortly after this, however, the building was demolished and today [September 2009] a three-storey block of flats stands on the site.

 202 Park Street - site of the Green Dragon August 2009
202 Park Street - site of the Green Dragon August 2009


  • WB/Green4/2/19: conveyed by J. Hopkins to Frederick Burr: 1851;
  • Z660/D/1/4: conveyance of brewery and licensed premises from the executors of Frederick Burr to Thomas Sworder: 1860;
  • BS2234: lease from the trustees of Edward Burr to Thomas Sworder and his trustees: 1862;
  • X95/304: rent share in barrels of public house belonging to Luton Brewery: 1867;
  • X95/283: account of rents of Thomas Sworder's properties: 1867;
  • Z660/D/1/6: conveyance of brewery and licensed premises from executors of Frederick Burr and Thomas Joseph Sworder to Thomas Sworder: 1878;
  • X95/270: copy mortgage from Thomas Sworder to William Anstee and Benjamin Bennett secured on brewery and licensed premises: 1878;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants of J.W.Green Limited licensed houses: 1887-1926;
  • X95/309: Abstract of title of Thomas Sworder to brewery, public houses and premises at Luton: 1889;
  • X95/287: proposed arrangement of loans of Thomas Sworder & Company: 1889;
  • X95/322/20: draft mortgage from Thomas Sworder to William Anstee secured on brewery and licensed premises: 1889;
  • X95/296: schedule of deeds of properties held by William Anstee as security for £14,000 loan to Thomas Sworder: 1889;
  • X95/298: schedule of deeds of Thomas Sworder & Company property: 1897;
  • X956/332: Abstract of Title Number 1 of Thomas Sworder to maltings, public houses and premises: 1897;
  • X95/313-314 and Z210/84: sale catalogue: 1897;
  • X95/322/33: draft reconveyance of properties from William Anstee to Thomas Sworder: 1897;
  • X95/315: copy draft conveyance of brewery and public houses from Thomas Sworder to John William Green: 1897;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP1: photocopy conveyance of brewery and public houses from Thomas Sworder to John William Green: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: J.W.Green Limited articles of association, trust deeds etc.: 1897-1936;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: J.W.Green Limited trade analysis ledger for individual licensed premises: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to properties belonging to J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of J.W.Green Limited 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: 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/Green4/2/19: various loose J.W.Green Limited schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Lu/BlackA1-4: photographs: 1960s;
  • Z923/4/91: poster for Caribbean Evening at public house: 1997

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:

1860: James Parrott;
1869: Thomas Cadwell;
1872: Thomas Heath Moscrop;
1885: Septimus Abbott;
1889: Sarah Abbott;
1890: Johnson;
1891: Arthur Hutchinson;
1898: Miss C. Hutchinson;
1910: Charles Smith;
1910: Fred Martin;
1916: William Abbott;
1933: Lizzie Abbott;
1951: William Henry Abbott;
1953: Kenneth Jack Sturgess;
1955: Thomas Jones;
1963: Robert William Allen and Eric Tomkins;
1964: Robert William Allen;
1967: Norman Arthur Hards;
1969: Norman Arthur Hards and Thomas Brinklow;
1972: Norman Arthur Hards;
1972: Norman Arthur Hards and Eric Hugh Miller;
1974: Norman Arthur Hards and Brian Thomas Spender;
1975: Richard John Morris and Charles Bradley;
1975: Dudley John Holton;
1978: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Ronald David Pearmain;
1978: Norman Leslie Anthony Stapes and Derrick Frank Fletcher;
1980: William James Butler;
1980: Bernard John Wilson;
1981: Graeme Yapp;
1982: Raymond Martin Lyons and Eric Middleton;
1985: Stephen Benjamin Gill and Eric Middleton;
1992: John Joseph Curtin and John Lynch;
1993: Emmett John Boland and Andrew George Amos;
1993: Michael John Mahoney and Britta Kjerulf Poulsen.