The King’s Head, the Court House, the Fleece (opposite Chalford Hill Post Office), the Duke of York at the top of Marle Hill, one along Silver Street, that is the Wheatsheaf, the Mechanics.
Anne Sutton (born 1927)
Further along the valley there was the Red Lion.
On Chalford Hill, the Mechanics Arms, called the Old Neighbourhood now.
They drank at home mostly not at the pubs. These barrels (cider) were in the coalhouse with cups there. Lots of people had orchards in them days. There was a lot of cider trees. They used to take all these apples to this place at Cainscross to make the cider and they’d bring back 60 gallon wooden barrels that were old whisky barrels.
Cynthia Gleed (born 1933)
There was three pubs (Bisley) but I was told there was 7 years and years ago. One was called the White Hart which has been closed for years. A lady doctor who lived there she ran a girls’ club for us there 11/12 year olds.
Grace Banyard (born 1930)
The George was where the shop is now (Bisley), the Stirrup Cup and the Bear. They sold The George and made it into a shop.
In France Lynch there was only the King’s Head.
Ron Smith (born c. 1940?)
Course there was a pub at Brimscombe station we used to frequent, The Victoria. She done bed and breakfast in them days and there was stables out the back for the horse and cart.
When we were on the ambulance and had to go to France Lynch, we always went into the King’s Head to turn round and we always had a drink there. Night or day, ‘cause you didn’t know when you’d get another.
Vesta Rock (born 1934)
The Bear at Rodborough was basically our nearest pub (during the War) but when the black soldiers were in there they would have to leave if the white soldiers arrived.
They (Americans) were there (on the common) and we were here. They all used to go to the, what was it, the Duke of York pub? By the shop at the top of Marle Hill and opposite there was a big house which was a pub. They all used to go up there. You could hear them coming away, at 11 o’clock when I was in bed, singing their hearts out.
Shirley Bushell (born 1943)
Just past Jenny Tann’s house was another public house, the Bell Inn. I can remember the people that were there but I can’t remember it coming down. I can remember the way you got to it from the canal. The bargees used to walk over there. The New Red Lion was there too. Two pubs side by side. It was the same here because over the river from us was the Coffee Tavern – and just down the road you had the Companies Arms, which is now Chalford Place. And actually this row (Bliss Cottages) was once a public house! It was called the Old Inn. Because the man in there, a Mr. Dangerfield, had a stick factor and he belonged to the Temperance Society and he objected to all his men being paid and having all these pubs to go into so he actually bought this row and had it made into cottages! About 1900.
The Companies Arms, Chalford Place – I can remember the pub but I think it closed somewhere in the 60s. It was very run down in the end .
Right at the end of the High Street was another public house, the Valley Inn – and the Anchor Inn. People were supposed to have no money years ago!
I don’t remember the Old Red Lion, which was across the road.
We often walked up along the canal to the Daneway. It was very much like it is today. Another inn for the barge people.
Margaret Mills (born 1934)
There were plenty of pubs. The Valley Pub ( Inn) by Ashmeads by the playing fields, The Red Lion, opposite where I lived, and up here (Chalford Hill) there were quite a lot of pubs. Only about two up here now. The Duke of York was quite near where we lived in the bungalow. We weren’t pub people.
John Hemmings (born 1936)
There was a pub, The Railway, down the bank. Everyone got off the train at Brimscombe and walked up Brimscombe Bank to get home and walked past the pub, which is why it’s called ‘The Railway’. It closed about 20 years ago. You see Chalford should never have been a village because it’s far bigger. You started at St. Mary’s then the Companies Arms but there was another one then one by the Post Office but long and short we had 9 pubs and 9 churches. We must have been such a bad lot we needed the churches too.
Derek (born 1938) & Beryl (born 1941) Freebury
(Beryl) My father would never go to the Lamb except on a Monday night when they picked the football side. They had a committee meeting in the snug where the kitchen is now. In recent years it’s changed a lot. For years the pub stayed the same. I had a maternal uncle …….and they lived in Poole. He used to come up and visit his parents but he hadn’t been up for some time after they died and when after 15 years or so he came and went to the pub, he said it hadn’t changed – still the same wall paper! Now it’s popular and has changed.
My mother used to work as a waitress up at the pub by Thomas Keble. We have photographs of her in her hat and her little apron and dressed in black.
(Derek) There was also the Red Lion and there was one up the top on the corner where St. Elizabeth’s is now. You go up by the side of the church and just before you get to Thomas Keble School there is a big old house. I can’t remember either of them being used.
May Smith (born 1924)
I was born at The Bunch of Nuts in Chalford Hill in June 1924. My parents were Walter and Edith Davis. My father couldn’t do very much because he had his arm shot off during the First World War. When he come home he done a paper round and we moved from the Bunch of Nuts. We moved along to the Wheatsheaf along the village when I was about 9 or 10. It was up a little lane. It’s pulled down now. They’ve built houses.
We had to move from the Wheatsheaf because they were going to close some of the pubs around Chalford Hill because they said there was too many. We were on the list to move to The Fleece Inn, where we went when I was around 13. Mum and dad built the trade up and the brewery wanted the licence back again, so mum and dad bought it off the brewery and called it Fleece House. I loved it there but didn’t like going up to the attic.
My mum used to take in lodgers there, four at a time sometimes. Quite a few worked up on the aerodrome. Dad used to keep the beer barrels in the long cellar and mum used to cook round there and there was a pantry by the side. The men used to come in at night and have their pints of beer in the long room. I got married from there when I was 23 and then moved to Eastcombe. I had my second baby over there, Michael, at the Fleece.
The public houses back in those days were rather like meeting places. On Sundays families would go out walking after tea with friends and families and would inevitably stop off at a pub. The adults went inside and the children were left outside with a bottle of pop and would play together. The adults would check on them from time to time and replenish their drinks. With most people knowing each other, it was a well-known custom for a sing song to take place. After this the walk back home would begin usually taking a different route from the one taken to get to the designated pub.
The main contenders were: the King’s Head, France Lynch, The Mechanics (now Old Neighbourhood Inn), The Valley Inn (now closed), The Red Lion, The Companies Arms (now owned by Damien Hurst), The Duke of York (now closed), The Butchers (Oakridge), The Stirrup Cup and The Bear Inn (both Bisley.
There was also a pub called The Court House (now closed) in France Lynch.
The Companies Arms (so it is said) once played host to John Halifax Gentleman and also Dick Whittington is reputed to have stayed here to break his journey to London.
Judith Newman (born 1943)
There were many more pubs in those days and, before us, many more than that too. When we came, there was The Carpenters’ Arms, which was along St. Mary’s past the big silk mill. There was The Company Arms which is now Chalford Place. There was The Red Lion, which is still there. There was The Valley Inn which was right down by the playground there. There was The Duke of York which was my father’s favourite. The Mechanics, The King’s Head, I think that’s it. The Mechanics is what is now The Old Neighbourhood. You can see buildings that had been pubs before that, several on the High Street. The Bell Hotel, that was there, I remember that being there but that was demolished, I don’t know why it was demolished, they didn’t widen the road or anything. I remember children living there and they used to come to their door, watching us go to school. You could see The Bell Hotel from the canal path opposite, it was a big building but it wasn’t a hotel in my day.
Peter Clissold (born 1931)
Most of the inhabitants of The Ram in those days (WW2) would have been people off the farms mainly. They’d work until dark some nights then go down The Ram on the way home. It was all virtually open fields all the way through (Bussage to Bisley).
The Ram was also a farm, you see. Bill Pincott had the farm there. The thing that always used to tickle me was that the milking shed was up round the back, and the place where the dung heap was was immediately outside the door of the dairy, and when they were milking all the flies were coming up and straight into the pub, and I thought gosh! What would the health and safety people say today!
My mother, Lilian Aldridge, was from Chalford and she was very musical and she always liked to be in all the WI plays and that kind of thing. She was brought up in a pub call The Wheatsheaf that was on Silver Street. My mother was married from there, at the Baptist chapel.
George Rowles (born 1928)
In the village (Brownshill) we had a shop, we had a pub. The pub was down the pitch at the end, you go down the pitch and it’s on the right hand side, it’s called the Railway Tavern. An accountant, I’ll remember his name in a minute (Mr. Birlingham?), but anyway he was a charming gentleman, ran a Friday Club, A Saving Club. So every Friday we used to go down, put a few pence in and then, at Christmas, we’d draw it out you see. We had interest, he run it quite professionally ‘cos the money he put away he invested it, then we had, not a huge amount, but we had money to get; well it was hardly anything, but then there was that. So it used to be quite busy on a Friday ‘cos lots of people used to go down; but they didn’t have any pumps, you know, when you pump the beer in, but what they had the barrels on the( I’ll remember the name in a minute), on a tram, you know where they’d put the barrel on, on a tap and if you wanted a pint of beer, you’d put the glass under the tap and turn the tap on, and then you’d have to wait; but well he was a bit lazy, well he wasn’t lazy, but he didn’t… Stella was the name of the lady, his wife, she used to do all that. But in those days most pubs, because I worked at the Brewery for twenty some odd years, most pubs in that area, the landlord went to work and it was only a second income for him. Today it’s a twenty four hour job, a pub.
They used to be down there, you know, and I remember there used to be a man come and he had a tame fox he used to bring the fox, he smelt a bit mind. And he used to come and bring it into the pub. I think it must have been on a lead, but he never, once he was in the pub, he didn’t hold the lead in the pub.
I didn’t go there more than just on Fridays. I couldn’t afford really, I never drunk much though I worked for a brewery for twenty some odd years. But I used to go down there for a game of darts or something like that. It was more of a social thing.
I can remember when my father used to go to The Ship at Brimscombe. They had lots, not lots, that’s exaggerating, but they had a few games which they played in a league, you know. They had a shove ha’penny league, and they had darts. I don’t think they had skittles then, they had cards, they used to play Crib. It was quite a social evening, you know. I used to go down there. But I went to a pub in Stroud, where I used to go dancing, at The Pelican.
Keith Weaver (born 1932)
I wasn’t really brought up to go to pubs. My Dad didn’t frequent pubs. We did occasionally for different things. When I played football at Aston Down we used to call in at Valley Pub to get some cider which we shouldn’t have been having really. If the daughter or wife were serving it was okay, we got served but we had to drink outside!
Ross Forsyth (born 1940)
The Mechanics Arms (now Old Neighbourhood) was here, the Duke of York down in Chalford Lynch – you walk from the council school the top way, bear left, down the hill and around and there is the Duke of York, at the top of Marle Hill.
Monica Ridge (born 1943)
The Red Lion was a pub in those days and I remember another pub closer to Roger and Jenny Tann’s. I think it was called The Bell. I don’t remember it being in use; I do remember it being there because on the side of the house it had ‘The Bell’ in black painted writing and then there were steps that went down.
Alan Mayo (born 1943)
If you start at St. Mary’s – right on the bend there was a pub, along a little bit farther was the next pub (with Mavis Smith).
Anchor Pub – Tom Dean used to do the Sunday papers, his Dad and his brother who was in the army. Tom had a withered arm and he was a good lad, our age. He was mad as a hatter but fun.
I remember the Valley Pub – there was a bloke called Les Nutt had it and before that it was Whitings, and their daughter Jean and her husband Mike Tanner lived there as well. It was a nice old pub.
Lots of churches and pubs! There was a pub on the bend at the bottom of Mutton Hill, then The Carpenters, then The Companies Arms. Top of the hill from the Post Office was The Bell, then The Red Lion, then The Old Red Lion, then The Anchor, The Valley Inn. That was about it.
The Old Red Lion and New Red Lion – pubs at the same time? I can only remember the New Red Lion. As kids playing football on the road or riding on our bikes, and every night you’d see people going to the pubs and walking back at 10.30, if we were still out. There was quite a nice club room off the road at the New Red Lion and you could go through onto the lawn, famous for the monkey puzzle tree, and then there’s the brook down off the garden.
Roger Dainton (came to Chalford 1970)
Valley Inn: that was a cloth, clothing house as well originally but then it was a pub, it was still open when I moved her (1970), as a pub. It was run by a dormouse! He was a lovely guy. He worked at Aston Down, because that used to be Ministry of Defence, for storage and things. And he worked there in the day and he was from Birmingham. He was a very nice guy but he was just, you couldn’t take him seriously, he was just the wrong person to run a pub. He and his wife ran it. It closed I think in ’71 and it was full, the only night that it was full was the night it closed. In the summer you could sit outside and drink your beer and it was quite pleasant, but it was hard to park there and even then that was a bit of an issue. But it was really the fact that, you know, if he had been a good landlord it would probably have been full and it would never have closed perhaps. But he was very small, you hardly saw him behind the bar, and he would pop up you know, he was very obliging but he wasn’t – well I mean, in a completely the other way like, you know, down at The Red Lion, down there it’s not exactly the best pub; you don’t feel welcome as you go in there do you really. The same sort of problem really. If you had a different landlord it would be jumping wouldn’t it?
The Red Lion: it was a hell of a lot better then; it was a guy called Ray Brown and Betty his wife, they used to run it. And he was a retired RAF guy, but I mean I’m not saying he was the ultimate landlord, but I mean he was, you know, he had lots of chat and when it was time to go he’d tell you to get out you know, he wasn’t going to mess around. But it was full, it was full of people down there; but at that time it was a Whitbread House, it wasn’t a tied house, it wasn’t a Free House. But the beer was OK and everything, and when I first came here the car park wasn’t really built then, it was just a piece of rough ground where they knocked down the houses on that car park. They were demolished before I came and they pushed a lot of it, unfortunately, into the canal, into the river, which is what made it flood, or makes it flood sometimes. And it belonged to the council and they sold it to the pub for some stupid amount of money, some small amount of money when it could have been a village car park and a pub car park as well you know, why not?
I don’t think the pub has changed much, I mean the only real major change visually was that the toilets now, that building as you go in, they weren’t there and on the edge of the car park now, you can go down a little ramp and things, well that used to be the toilets there. And they were just public toilets they weren’t to do with the pub. They were public toilets as far as I remember, pretty basic. And that’s all the toilets there were for the pub. It never was in brilliant sort of condition; at one time, it was painted on the side, in fact The Red Lion was painted the other side, actually in huge letters. I think they re-did it in the seventies, they repainted the letters, huge letters just in paint on the stone, but now it’s gone again. You know it needed re-doing and it just fell off a bit and they didn’t bother with it.