Pubs that have disappeared
Although there are still some well establish pubs in the parish, such as The Crown and Horseshoe, The White Hart, The Dolphin, The Upton Inn and The Swan, the area has also lost many, but the reputation of each and its memory lives on.
Perhaps the best known is the recently closed Queens Head at Willsbridge, which was an important establishment in our local history because of its use as a meeting house, including a significant meeting that led to the enclosure of local common land and with that the further impoverishment of local people in the early 19th century. Recently, we lost The Cherry Tree in Oldland Common. These two pubs had survived, despite the loss of a significant number of pubs in the 50s and 60s, at a time of significant social change and the spread of TV. The Greyhound, The Railway Inn, The Rising Sun, The Old Barge and The Railway Tavern were all lost during that period.
The Colliers Arms, Oldland Common
The Cowhorn Hill pub was run by Alfred Lear 1883-88 and was used in 1898 for Miners meetings. In January that year James Haslam from Derbyshire met with miners over wages. The Boot and Shoe Union held a meeting in March 1895 about how the owners were trying to smash unions and a Mr Bigwood and Mr Haskins were arrested for trying to sell stolen hay for 10 shillings to the barman in May 1918.
The pub closed in 1921 and became a private house.
The Olde Bath Barge, Swineford
ane Bell, a widow, aged 36, was the publican of The Olde Bath Barge in 1881. She subsequently married Edward Hillman and the pub remained in the family until at least 1901. The pub is now a private house, ‘Somerset House’.
The Railway Inn, Willsbridge
The Railway Inn at Brockham Hill, Willsbridge stood where the roundabout now is leading to Keynsham, Bitton or Longwell Green. It became an Off Licence in the 1950s (George’s Off Licence and general store) and was demolished in 1972. At the beginning of the 20C Willsbridge was thriving place with a dame shool, boarding school at the Querns, a post office and grocery store at Speedwell Cottage and Bence’s butchers and slaughterhouse. There was also a coal merchants, wheelwrights a sweet shop and ice cream shop.
The Rising Sun, Bitton
The Rising Sun was owned by Bath Breweries until 1923. It closed in 1955 and is now a private house.
The Greyhound, Oldland Common
The Greyhound was in West street Oldland Common. Built in the 1850s probably from a rank of cottages that stood on the site. Shortly after there was a tragedy as the 82 year old landlord Moses Short was found in the outhouse with his throat slit.
By 1881 the landlord was John Gerrish who was a butcher and also had a smallholding behind the Inn. It remained in the Gerrish family until Joseph Isaac took over the pub in 1910, remaining the publican until at least 1939. In 1910 it was used by Oldland AFC for their changing rooms.
The pub closed its doors in 158 and was demolished in 1962.
The Queens Head, Willsbridge
The Queens Head was originally aprivate house, built from local stone about 1660. It was licensed in 1719 and probably brewed beer with water from Goldwell spring or Mill Clack Brook. The rank of buildings that adjoined the pub was built around 1790 and included a hat making business run by George Burgess and a slaughter house.
The Queens Head was important in our local history – here was held vestry meetings (local administration, poor relief and the Court Leet (a poor man’s court). A meeting was hel here on the Enclosure Act of 1819, which enclosed Oldland Common, North Common, Cadbury Heath, Longwell Green and Hanham Common, thus leading to the further impovrishment of many local people.
In the early 1900s the disused slaughter house was used by Brockham Rangers as a changing room – the team played on the field behind the pub. A World War II Spitfire crashed in the field behind the pub during the war.
The pub finally closed in 2011, after playing a significant role in our local history for over 300 years.
The Railway Tavern North Common
The Railway Tavern was in Poplar Road, North Common; built around 1820. It closed in the 1960s becoming a private house named ‘Old Tavern House’. PC Meadows was assulted here in 1914 and Alec Palmer was arrested in 1918 for disorderly conduct – breaking chairs and glasses.
The Union Inn, Oldland Common
The Union was built around 1850 and was replaced by The Cherry Tree. It was known locally as Whitelocks after the landlord William Whitelock 1923-1960. Jose Lawrence recalls the pub in her story , which can be downloaded by clicking on the link: ‘War Its Aftermath’:
The Chequers pub was run by George and Mary Hook in the 1820s. At that time it was frequented by Thomas Worlock and it was here that beer was purchased by the 11 year old Mary Ann Worlock that was used to mask poison that was added by Rebecca Worlock. This led to the painful death of her husband and her subsequent trial and execution at Gloucester Gaol. See the link -> https://www.bittonhistory.org.uk/rebecca-worlock/
The research for this page was kindly carried out by Pete Davies. If you can add any further detail or memories, please contact us.