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The Old English Gentleman Public House Luton

The Old English Gentleman June 2010
The Old English Gentleman June 2010

The Old English Gentleman Public House: 17 Hitchin Road, Luton

The Old English Gentleman was built between 1828 (the last countywide register of alehouse recognizances [CLP13] to survive before 1876) and 1847 (when it is first mentioned in a directory. In 1857 Edward Burr's brewery was purchased by Luton rival Thomas Sworder. The conveyance took place in 1860 [Z660/D/1/4] and this purchase, together with unhappy speculation in malt, nearly reduced Sworder to bankruptcy. Nevertheless, his business continued until 1897 when he sold it to Luton rival John William Green [WB/Green4/1/VP1].

The sale particulars [X95/313] described the establishment as follows:

Known as
"The Old English Gentleman"
Situate at the Corner of Burr Street.

It is detached, has a good frontage to both Roads, it is brick built and slated with double bay front and contains: - Bar with 2 front and 1 back entrances, Bar Parlor [sic], Tap Room, Kitchen, paved Scullery with copper and sink, w. c., Cellar with cask entrance and 4 Bed Rooms (2 divided by moveable partition). Yard with carriage gates from Hitchin Road, Dustbin, Urinal, small Garden, Weatherboarded Shed with corrugated iron roof, Weatherboarded erection of Stabling comprising 2 coach-houses and standing for 3 horses, w. c. 

Tenant, Mr. Alfred Blackmore. Rent, £25 per annum.

John William Green's newly enlarged company was floated as J. W. Green Limited. It lasted until 1954 when it merged with Midlands brewer Flowers and the new company took the Flowers name. Eight years later the company was taken over by Whitbread. The Old English Gentleman remains a public house at the time of writing [2010].


  • Z660/D/1/4: conveyance of William Burr's brewery by Edward Burr and Richard Hatley Crabb to Thomas Sworder: 1860;
  • BS2234: ten year lease from Thomas Sworder and the executors of Edward Burr to William Anstee, John Cook and Benjamin Bennett: 1862;
  • X95/283: account of rents of Thomas Sworder's licensed premises: 1867;
  • X95/304: rent in barrels of Thomas Sworder licensed properties: 1867;
  • Z660/D/1/6: conveyance from Edward Burr and Thomas Joseph Sworder to Thomas Sworder: 1878;
  • X95/270: copy mortgage from Thomas Sworder to William Anstee and Benjamin Bennett junior: 1878;
  • WBGreen5/5/1: register of successive tenants to J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: 1887-1926;
  • X95/287: proposed arrangement of loans for Thomas Sworder & Company: 1889;
  • X95/296: schedule of Thomas Sworder's properties held by William Anstee as security for loans: 1889;
  • X95/309: abstract of title of Thomas Sworder: 1889;
  • X95/322/20: draft mortgage from Thomas Sworder to William Anstee: 1889;
  • X95/332a-b: abstracts of title of Thomas Sworder to licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/313-314, Z210/84 and WB/S4/1/1/5: sale catalogues of Thomas Sworder's brewery and licensed premises: 1897;
  • X95/315 and WB/Green4/1/VP1: draft conveyances of licensed premises from Thomas Sworder to J. W. Green Limited: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: record of articles of association and licensed houses owned by J.W.Green Limited: 1897-1936;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger of J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1936;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of deeds to J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: c.1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter from J.W.Green to solicitors Lawrance, Messer & Company asking which licensed properties had been in continuous occupation: 24 Jul 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: Trust Deed of J.W.Green Limited with list of licensed premises: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: Various loose schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;

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

1847: Thomas Lawrence;
1854: Ann Lawrence;
1872: James George Bishop;
1873: Edward John Angell;
1885: Charles Haswell;
1898: Alfred Blackmore;
1899: Hart;
1908: Russell;
1909: Reuben Ivins;
1921: Hubbard;
1921: William Swain;
1926: John Whittingham;
1938: Frederick Minney;
1943: Harold Thomas Bond;
1952: Ernest William Day;
1954: Charles Phillips;
1963: Reginald McKenzie Bray;
1976: William Joseph Charles Ballinger;
1978: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples and Joseph Anderson;
1979: Norman Leslie Anthony Staples;
1980: Craig Alexander Knapper;
1984: Ian and Francis Viccars;
1987: Frances Davison