The George and Dragon Beerhouse Stanbridge
The former George and Dragon March 2008
The George and Dragon Beerhouse: 83 Leighton Road, Stanbridge
The George and Dragon Beerhouse stood a long way out of Stanbridge along the Leighton Road. The countywide licensing register of 1876 notes that is was first licensed in 1863. It was then owned by Roughton and Throfold of Aylesbury [Buckinghamshire], who leased it to Leighton Buzzard brewers Ashdown and Brothers. By 1891 the owner was Parrot, Walker and Company of Aylesbury [Buckinghamshire].
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 ordered that every piece of land and building in the country should be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Stanbridge was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the George and Dragon [DV1/C97/47] noted that it was then owned by the Aylesbury Brewery Company Limited and occupied by Frederick A.Vowles who had "been here three months". He had paid five shillings per week rent, including a meadow of 1.872 acres; the rate was then fixed a £12 per annum on 11th January 1927.
The valuer described the premises as made of brick and slate and detached. Accommodation comprised a tap room, a smoking room, a private living room and a kitchen downstairs with four bedrooms above. An earth closet lay outside. Also outside were: a brick and slate loose box; a stable for four horses partly used for hens; two weather boarded and slate two hen houses; a small brick, wood and slate barn and a weather boarded and corrugated iron mealhouse.
Trade was twenty four barrels of beer per year and two dozen bottles of beer along with a dozen bottles of stout and four to six dozen bottles of minerals per week. Takings were healthy at £330 per annum: "Mrs.Vowles says may do 2/3 of a barrel per week, only just come here". The valuer commented: "Isolated"
Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has no record of when the beerhouse closed for the last time but information from villagers indicates that it would have been in the mid to late 1950s as John Frederick Shiers was the last landlord. Certainly a licensing register for the district beginning in the early 1960s does not include the property which is now  a private dwelling called Stanbridge House.
- PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
- PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
- PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956
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:
1876: Frederick George;
1880: Warwick Olney;
1893: Charles Samuel;
1895: Francis Sidney Sharp;
1895: Jane Sharp;
1896: Edward Harfield;
1897: Walter Wills Prowse;
1898: Archibald William Fisher;
1899: James Foley;
1901: Henry John Newman;
1901: George Henry Florance;
1903-?: Henry William Garrett Sells;
?-1915: James Eastaff;
1915: John Thomas Kinder;
1915: William Pentling;
1917: Mary Francis Pentling;
1917: George Stephen Hartridge;
1918: Peter Frankland;
1921: Henry James Hirst;
1924: Herbert William Springhall;
1925: Mary Newman;
1925: Harry Hadley;
1927: Frederick Allen Vowles;
1927: John Frederick Shiers