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The Volunteer Public House Luton

The Volunteer about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Vol2]
The Volunteer about 1960 [WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Vol2]

The Volunteer Public House: 23 Bailey Street, Luton, on the corner with Brache Street

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Volunteer was first licensed in 1865. Experience has proved that this source is not always reliable, but no trace of a Volunteer or a beerhouse in Brache Street can be found in directories pre-dating 1869 and so the statement may well be correct. The register also gives the owner as William Barrett.

By 1907 the public house was owned by Ampthill brewers John and Joseph Morris and in that year was conveyed to their new limited company - Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited [CCE5304/1]. Morris & Company were taken over by Luton brewers J. W. Green Limited, whose brewery was in Park Street West, in 1926 [CCE5304/3]. Greens merged with Midlands brewer Flowers in 1954, adopting the name of Flowers Breweries Limited which was better known than the Green name. In 1962 Flowers were taken over by Whitbread. The Volunteer closed in 1969 and, along with the neighbouring properties, was demolished in the 1970s, to make way for the new high rise housing development which stands today [September 2009].

The site of the Volunteer lies between the blocks of flats August 2009
The site of the Volunteer lies between the blocks of flats August 2009


  • CC5304/1: conveyed, with other properties, to Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1907;
  • HN10/372/Morris3: "Mr Chapman should be thanked for his services at Volunteer Inn, Luton": 1909;
  • WB/M4/2/1: List of properties: c.1926;
  • WB/M4/1/VP8: Abstract of Title of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited to estates: 1926;
  • WB/M4/2/2: Particulars of licensed properties: c.1926
  • CCE5304/3: conveyed, with other properties, to J.W.Green Limited: 1926;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: Softbound volume entitled: "Record" showing all properties including the Volunteer: 1926
  • CCE5304/3: memorandum of conveyance, as security, to Barclays Bank Limited: 1928;
  • WB/Green1/6/7: conveyance of three properties including the Volunteer to a bank to secure debenture stock: 1928;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: 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/Green4/2/19: various loose J.W.Green Limited schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Lu/Vol1-2: photographs: c.1960

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: 

1869: Thomas Hunt;
1871: George Green;
1876: George William Cooper;
1890: James Day;
1894: John
1898: Richard Ford
1907: Arthur Arnold;
1914: Frederick Rogers;
1928: Henry
1928-1940: Henry Sear;
1955: Eve Maud Sear;
1955; Cyril Frank Turner;
1963: Harold William Coates;
1965: William James Grainger;
Public house closed 1969