The Victoria Beerhouse Luton
The site of the Victoria Beerhouse August 2011
The Victoria Beerhouse: corner of High Town Road and York Street, Luton.
This beerhouse stood on the corner of High Town Road and York Street and so must have been opposite the Freeholder, on a site now containing modern housing. The countywide licensing register of 1876 records that the licensee was John Groom and the owner George Sole of Stopsley. Unfortunately it does not record when the beerhouse was first licensed. Beerhouses are not named in directories, which makes it very difficult to trace the licensing history of them without other evidence. Entries in directories simply say beer seller or beer retailer. The directory for Bedfordshire of 1864 does not include John Groom in Luton but does include John Aldridge (also a hay and straw dealer) and William Shortland as a beer sellers in HighTown and one of these may have been at the Victoria, it is impossible to say.
In 1899 the Victoria was one of the properties put up for sale by the executors of Charles Inwards, deceased [WL1000/1/LUT3/1]. Inwards was George Sole’s son-in-law. The Britannia and Green Man public houses were also in the sale. The particulars for the Victoria read as follows:
VALUABLE FREEHOLD BEER-HOUSE
SITUATE AT THE
CORNER OF HIGH TOWN ROAD AND YORK STREET, LUTON
Having a Frontage to High Town Road of 17 feet and a Return Frontage to York Street of 85 feet.
The House is brick-built and slated, and contains –
On GROUND FLOOR – Bar, Bottle and Jug Department, Tap Room, Bar Parlour, Kitchen, Washhouse, and spacious underground Cellar;
On FIRST FLOOR – 3 Bedrooms;
On SECOND FLOOR – 3 Bedrooms.
At rear is large Yard (with entrance from York Street, double gates) with Stable and Coachhouse with Loft over, W. C., &c. The House is fitted with Register and other Grates, Sink &c.
GAS AND WATER ARE LAID ON
This House together with the “Green Man”, is let to Messrs. Simpson & Co., of Baldock, upon a Lease of 7 years from 24th June 1895, with the option of a second term of 6 years, and the option of a third term of 7 years, at an Annual
Rental of £125 the two,
There is no mention of a beerseller in High Town Road or York Street in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire for 1885, 1894 or 1898 which is puzzling given that the Victoria is described as a beerhouse in the sale particulars of 1899. Perhaps the most likely scenario is that the beerhouse, by that time, was not a very thriving concern, owing to competiton from the larger Freeholder, and so did not bother to seek an entry in a directory. It seems most likely that the Victoria closed shortly after the sale.
· WL1000/1/LUT3/1: sale particulars: 1899
Licencees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:
1869-1876: John Groom;
1877: Mrs. Ann Groom.