The Hoop Beerhouse Pulloxhill
16 Orchard Road November 2011
The Hoop Beerhouse: 16 Orchard Road, Pulloxhill
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service does not have a great deal of information on this beerhouse. This is because it was owned by an out-county brewery – Lucas & Company of Hitchin [Hertfordshire].
The countywide licensing register of 1876 reveals that Joseph Lucas was already the owner. The register states that the beerhouse had first been licensed in 1853. The 1901 register states that the licensee, then Thomas Berry, paid rent of £12 per annum to Lucas & Company, as Lucas' brewery had then become known. The beerhouse was "in good repair and clean", had front and back doors and stood in "Back Street".
The position of the beerhouse in the 1901 census, eight doors from the Chequers together with the 1925 valuation report (see below) enables us to say with certainty that the Hoop occupied the premises today known as 16 Orchard Road. The beerhouse closed its doors for the last time on 21st December 1908 [PSA5/1]. This was due to a report to the licensing magistrates by land agent Henry Swaffield who compared the Hoop with the Cross Keys, the Plough and Harrow and the Chequers [CLP4]. He stated: "There can be no comparison between the "Cross Keys" and "Chequers" on the one hand, and the "Hoop". The two former houses are better fitted for the purposes of the trade as regards position and accommodation. With regard to the "Plough and Harrow". The position of this house is better than that of the "Hoop". The "Plough and Harrow" is situate in the main street, and has a frontage thereto of nearly 77 feet, while the "Hoop" is situate in a back lane. The downstairs rooms in the "Plough and Harrow" are larger than those in the "Hoop". The area of the "Plough and Harrow" premises as given in the Poor Rate Valuation List is larger too, namely, 1 rood and 9 poles, as compared with 5 ploes of the "Hoop" ... the occupier of the "Hoop" pays no rent to the owners (William S. Lucas Limited). There is a cottage on the premises of the "Hoop" let as two tenements, and there is an internal communication by a door between the sitting room of the "Hoop" and the adjoining cottage ... The position of the "Hoop" in a back lane makes it less accesible to police supervision than the other houses".
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting 16 Orchard Road [DV1/C234/52] found it was owned and occupied by shopkeeper Annie Kingham. The accommodation was described as: a parlour "up 3 stairs"; a living room; a shop measuring 8 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 6 inches (presumably the old bar) and two bedrooms. Outside stood a store room and a brick and slate washhouse with two bedrooms over it "used to be Cottage". This is perhaps, the part of the building today  numbered as 16a. Also outside were: a wood shed; an earth closet; another store and a barn ("used Rubbish"). Very helpfully the valuer commented: "used to be a Public House!!!" In actual fact the property was only ever a beerhouse but despite this mistake by the valuer it seems certain that this is the former Hoop.
Kelly's Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years in the late 19th and early 20th century, the last being published in 1940. These show that Annie Kingham was a shopkeeper from at least 1920 and was still in business in 1940.
- PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927.
Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known
1876-80: George Olney;
1880-1882: Henry Stanley – charged with permitting drunkenness on 1st December 1881 – fined £2 with 7/6 costs;
1882-1898: Thomas Burrows;
1898: Thomas Berry;
1898-1900: William Godding;
1900: Mary Godding;
1900-1908: Thomas Berry
Beerhouse closed 21st December 1908