Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cromwell Brewery tied houses

I sometimes I take a step back, pull in a deep breath and look hard at what I'm up to. Is it totally crazy? If the answer is yes, then I carry on. I had such a moment when researching this post.

I you remember, the Cromwell Brewery traded as Howe & Alexander for a few years in the 1880's, before Mr. Alexander went crazy and attacked his wife. An act that ultimately led to the demise of the brewery. It finally fell into the hands of Warwick & Richardson in 1892, though I'm fairly sure brewing had ceased a couple of years earlier.

I'm looking at the tied houses of a brewery that hasn't existed for more than 120 years. Is that crazy? I think you know the answer to that, so I'll continue.

I've managed to identify seven pubs in Newark which were once Cromwell Brewery tied houses. I won't claim that it's a complete list. I've taken most of the information from "Newark's Inns & Public Houses" by Rodney Cousins the revised edition published in 1991. He'd missed the Royal Oak in Stodman Street, a pub I definitely know was owned by the Cromwell Brewery, because that's where Mr. and Mrs. Alexander lived.

Of the seven, only the Queen's Head is still open. It's now a Wychwood pub. Not sure that tells us anything.

It's a shame that the Royal Oak has disappeared. The original building was from the 17th century, though it was rebuilt in the 1930's before being demolished in 1962. I think it was next door to Marks & Spencer, where there's now a pretty dismal 1960's thing. According to Cousins (page 18) it was sold for £2,450 in 1888. Was that part of the fallout of Alexander's attack on his wife? That happened in March 1888 and the brewery was sold in May that year. It sounds as if the two were sold separately as the brewery went for just £948 (Nottingham Evening Post - Friday 07 March 1890, page 4.).

Here are the Cromwell Brewery's pubs on a map:

And here's a table of their pubs:

Cromwell Brewery tied houses
Name location date opened date closed
BLACK BOY Chatham Street 1841 1911
BLACK HORSE Bamby Gate 1842 1895
OLD CASTLE (Newark Castle) Mill Gate 1792 1966
OLIVER CROMWELL TAVERN Barnby Gate 1865 1931
QUEEN'S HEAD Market Place 1560
ROYAL OAK Stodman Street 1780 1962
TEN BELLS (Royal Dragoons) Carter Gate 1851 1906
"Newark's Inns & Public Houses" by Rodney Cousins, 1991, pages 27 - 29.
Some stuff I know from growing up in the town.

Just did a bit of digging. It turns out that the freehold of the Royal Oak was held by the Duke of Newcastle, who owned big chunks of Newark. It was only leased by Mr. Howe (misspelled Hoe in the article) for £70 a year. (Grantham Journal - Saturday 30 June 1888, page 6.) The sale had nothing to do with Alexander's attack on his wife. The Duke flogged off a variety of properties at one auction, including several pubs.

The same article tells me that this is when the Queen's Hotel came into the ownership of the Cromwell Brewery. Mr. Bastow, the new owner of the brewery, snapped it up for £1,000. Most of the pubs were either bought by Joseph Richardson or James Hole. The former buying the Royal Oak in Stodman Street for £2,450. Only the Saracen's Head and the Clinton Arms, two big coaching inns on the Market Place, sent for more.

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