The White Hart Public House Tempsford
The White Hart in 1925 [WL800/5]
The White Hart Public House: 61 Station Road, Tempsford
Two public houses called The White Hart are known to have existed in Tempsford. The first of these was a coaching inn on Church Street, once part of the busy Great North Road. The building is now a private property known as Gannocks. This inn closed before 1822 as there is no establishment of that name recorded in Tempsford in the countywide licensing registers of 1822 to 1828.
It is likely that the White Hart on Church Street closed sometime in the early nineteenth century as a new beerhouse of this name appeared elsewhere in the village in 1830, at least, the countywide Return of Licensed Premises kept by the local Licensing Committee in 1876 [CL/P19/1] (which is not always accurate) recorded this as the date the White Hart was first licensed. This beerhouse was at some point fully-licensed as a public house and closed in 1992 and is now known as 61 Station Road.
No records of licensees or owners have been found for the years immediately after it opened but we do know that it was sold at a public auction at The Anchor on the 3rd June 1875. A poster advertising the sale describes the property as a beerhouse comprising a parlour, tap room, cellar, scullery, four bedrooms, a brewhouse, stables and outbuildings “situate in the most populous part of the village, doing a large trade and could be much increased” [WG2496]. At this time the pub was managed by Alice Thompson whose late husband James had been landlord of the pub at the time of the 1861 Census. The White Hart appears to have been sold to an Elizabeth Levitt of Eynesbury in Huntingdonshire as her name appears as owner in the 1876 licensing register.
By the time of the 1891 Return of Licensed Premises, the White Hart had been sold to Jarvis & Company, the Bedford brewery founded by Thomas Jarvis in 1873. It was still at this time managed by Alice Thompson [CL/P19/2] but she appears to have retired a few years later. By 1903 John William Field was landlord [CL/P20] and in 1917 the Jarvis brewery business was sold to Charles Wells Ltd. It continued with the Charles Wells brewery until its closure in 1992.
In 1927 the White Hart was valued under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act. The surveyor found that the pub was rented by a W. Urquhart from the Charles Wells brewery for £16 in rent a quarter. It had a seven day beer license, tap room, sitting room, living room, cellar, four bedrooms, washhouse, cart lodge, stable for two horses and pig sties. It had a ‘good front’, he noted, and there was water laid on to the washhouse. Trade averaged half a barrel a week and ten dozen bottles of beer. He also noted: “Fair amount of trade done with anglers during the summer months. Been done up. Looks quite smart” [DV1/CR157/34].
The Old White Hart February 2016
- HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
- HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
- WG2496: Sales poster 1875;
- CL/P19/1-2: Returns of licensed premises 1876, 1891;
- HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
- HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
- HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
- HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
- PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
- CL/P20: Return of licensed premises 1903;
- WL800/5: Image in photograph album c.1925;
- WL801/31: Glass plate negative c.1925;
- DV1/CR157: Valuation Act Rating Book 1927.
- PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
- PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980.
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.
1847: John Lovell;
1853-1854: Elizabeth Lovell;
1861-1869: James Thompson;
1871-1891: Alice Thompson;
1903-1911: John William Field;
1927-1931: William Urquhart;
1936-1952: Arthur William Usher;
1957-1959: Peter Kenneth Marshall;
1959-1977: William George Paverley;
1977-1981: Terence Charles Rutt;
1981-1984: Thomas Simpson;
1984-1987: Norman Neil Nicholson;
1987-1991: Leslie Royle Henman;
1991-1992: Anthony Alfred Holt;
1992: Anthony William Thornton.
Public house closed 1992.