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The Engine Beerhouse Shillington

82 High Road July 2015
82 High Road July 2015

The Engine Beerhouse: 82 High Road, Shillington

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the beerhouse later known as the Engine (at that time unnamed) was first licensed in 1868. The owner was William Arnold of Shillington. In 1885 Arnold leased the property to Baldock [Hertfordshire] brewer Oliver Steeds, who also leased the Noah's Ark in Hillfoot Road and the Commander in Chief further down Church Street. The rent was £25 per annum [GK165/12].

In 1888 the brewery was bought for William Pickering of Burton-on-Trent [Staffordshire] who changed the name to Morley and Company. He changed the name again in 1898 to the Baldock Brewery Company [GK165/12]. The company went bankrupt in 1903 and was sold to Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch and the lease was reassigned in 1904 [GK165/17]. The beerhouse closed for the last time in 1912.

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 the former Engine in 1926 [DV1/C74/117] found the owner was W A Ruffell and the occupier Miss M Head whose rent was £17/8/- per annum, though this is annotated "No WAR says £15"!. In 1916 it had been £13.

The house comprised two living rooms, a tap room used as a kitchen, a scullery, four bedrooms, a boxroom and a cellar. Outside stood a wood and slate stable with a loft over and a cart shed. The valuer commented: "Was pub". Another hand wrote: "No garden, on road corner, was a pub"


  •  PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  •  GK165/12: assignment of lease to Baldock Brewert Company: 1898;
  •  Z1229/3: photograph: c. 1900;
  •  GK1/36: sale particulars of Baldock Brewery Company: 1903;
  •  GK165/17: assignment of lease to Wells and Winch: 1904

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

1876-1886: Robert Smith;
1886-1888: Matthew Poulter;
1888-1897: Robert Metcalfe;
1897-1912: William Henry Elms

Beerhouse closed 27th December 1912