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The Panama Lounge Luton

Two charabanc parties outside the Panama about 1920 [Z1306/75]
Two charabanc parties outside the Panama about 1920 [Z1306/75]

The Panama Lounge Public House: 34 Waller Street, Luton [formerly the Exchange, then the Panama]

Like the Granville, the Panama Lounge stood next to an entrance to the Plait Halls. The earliest reference to it is in the Post Office Directory for Bedfordshire of 1869. The countywide register of licences for 1876 states that at that time the premises was owned by Thomas Sworder.

It is strange that, although Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service possesses considerable archives both for Thomas Sworder [X95] and the successor brewery of J. W. Green Limited [WB] the service only has one document in which the Panama Lounge, then called the Exchange, is mentioned. This is an agreement between Sworder and his uncle, also Thomas Sworder, about the latter's support for the business [Z210/81].

This document makes it clear that only the lease to the Exchange was leased. This, together with the lack of other documentation, shows that the 1876 register is inaccurate in called Thomas Sworder the owner. Directories show that the name was changed from Exchange to Panama between 1903 and 1906. The Panama Lounge, as it later became known, closed for the last time on 2nd february 1972 and, along with the Granville, was demolished to make way for the Arndale Centre.


  • Z210/81: agreement:1873;
  • 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 

1869: C. White;
1871: Charles Reeve;
1872: James Farey;
1876: Elizabeth Farey;
1885: George Tennant;
1890: Samuel Boutwood;
1894: Alexander W. Milne;
1898: George Duvall;
1903: Henry Jones;
1906: Joseph Ryder Treen - name changed to the Panama;
1914: William Edward Loxley;
1920: T. W. Scott;
1928: Alfred Walter Saunders;
1942: Henry Charles Walter Pike;
1966: Edward Lawrence Ellis.
Public house closed 2nd February 1972