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.