The principal source of leisure in the town was, and still is, the public house. I have attempted to produce a complete list of pubs that have existed in the town over the last 150 years. The ones marked in yellow no longer survive, although the building may still exist. If anyone can add to the list or make any corrections please send me an email.
Albert Street The British Queen   James Bridge The Globe Inn
Aldridge Street The Bee Hive   James Bridge The Railway Tavern
Bell Street The Engine Inn   James Bridge The Royal George
Bell Street The Old House At Home   King Street The Dog & Partridge
Bell Street The Vine   King Street The New Inn
Bentley Road The Boat Inn   King Street The Queen's Head
Bentley Road The Bridge   King Street The Waggon & Horses
Bentley Road The Lord Nelson   King Street The White Lion
Bentley Road North Bentley Green   King Edward Street The Crown
Bilston Street The Bolt Makers Arms   Little Cross Street The Spread Eagle
Bilston Street The Bradford Arms   Moxley Road The Duke of York
Bilston Street The White Dog   Moxley Road The Golden Cup
Birmingham Street The Acorn   Moxley Road The Magic Lantern
Blakemore's Lane The Woodman   Moxley Road The Red Lion
Blockall The Scott Arms   Moxley Road The Swan
Blockall The Dog & Pheasant   Moxley Road The Three Fishes
Booth Street The Royal Oak   New Street Sir Robert Peel
Bull Stake The Old Castle Hotel   New Street The Crown & Cross Guns
Bull Stake The Three Horse Shoes   Old Park Road The Black Horse
Bull Street The Cottage of Content   Pinfold Street The Bird In Hand
Bull Street The Engine   Pinfold Street The Black Horse
Bush Street The Old Bush   Pinfold Street The Manchester
Catherine's Cross The Mineborer's Arms   Pinfold Street The Noah's Ark
Catherine's Cross The Nelson   Pinfold Street The Trooper
Catherine's Cross The Royal Exchange   Pinfold Street The Union
Catherine's Cross The Staffordshire Knot   Queen Street The British Oak
Church Street The Bell   Rough Hay Road Rough Hay Tavern
Church Street The George   St. John's Road The Traveller's Rest
Church Street The Green Dragon   Smith Street The Fortune of War
Church Street The Red Lion   Station Street The Anchor
Church St. Moxley The Struggler   Station Street The Junction
Churchill Road The Old Hall   Station Street The Royal George
Cock Street The Bull's Head   Station Street The Vine
Cock Street The Dartmouth Arms   The Green The Cottage of Content
Cock Street The Rose and Crown   The Green The Fox
Cock Street The Three Crowns   The Green The Freemason's Arms
Cramp Hill The Old Crown Inn   The Green The Green Man
Cramp Hill The King's Arms   The Green The Nag's Head
Cramp Hill The Spread Eagle   The Green The New Inns
Cross Street The Barley Mow   The Green The Royal Exchange
Cross Street The Greyhound   The Green The Why Not Inn
Cross Street The King's Arms   The Leys The Duke of Wellington
Dale End The Red Cow   The Leys The Seven Stars
Darlaston Road King's Hill Tavern   Victoria Road The Swan
Darlaston Road The Dog   Walsall Road The Cellar
Darlaston Road The Golden Cup   Walsall Road Fallings Heath Tavern
Darlaston Road The Old Barrel   Walsall Road The Fountain
Darlaston Road The Rose & Crown   Walsall Road The Horse & Jockey
Darlaston Road The Swan Hotel   Walsall Road The Prince of Wales
Eldon Street The Dun Cow   Walsall Road The Spring Head Tavern
Forge Road Herberts Park Tavern   Walsall Road The Star Music Hall
Forge Road The New Junction   Walsall Road The Victoria Inn
Foster Street The Castle   Walsall Street The Bee Hive
Foster Street The Oak Tree   Walsall Street The Red Cow
Foster Street The Scott Arms   Willenhall Road The British Oak
Foundry Street The Lamp Tavern   Willenhall Road The Green Man
Great Bridge Road, Moxley The Traveller's Rest   Willenhall Road The Forge
Great Bridge Road, Moxley The Fiery Holes. Now The Fiery Grill and Curry   Willenhall Street The Frying Pan
Great Croft Street The British Legion   Willenhall Street The Golden Cup
Great Croft Street The Royal Oak   Willenhall Street The Greyhound
Heath Road The Forge Hammer   Willenhall Street The Rolling Mills
High Street, Moxley The Old Britannia   Willenhall Street The Sports & Social Club
High Street, Moxley The Moxley Arms   Wiley Avenue The Aladdin's Lamp
High Street, Moxley The Rose & Crown   Wolverhampton Road West The Red Lion.
Now The Keymaster
Holyhead Road Highgate Arms   W'ton Road West The Lane Arms
Holyhead Road The George   Wolverhampton St. The George
Horton Street The Barrel   Wolverhampton St. The White Horse Inn
Hughes Rd. Moxley The Royal George      
There were also several clubs such as the Darlaston Ex-Servicemen's Club in Campbell Place, The Free Gardner's in King Edward Street (now The Crown), Bentley Labour Club in Bentley Road North, Darlaston Labour Club in Willenhall Street (now the Sports and Social Club), and Darlaston Conservative Club, which was in Church Street and is now in Little Cross Street.

In the 19th century, many beer houses opened in people's front rooms, where beer was usually dispensed from a jug. Most were never named, but some were, just like public houses. Several of the more successful establishments eventually became conventional pubs. Within a few years of the Passing of the Beer House Act in 1830, Darlaston had more beer houses than fully-licensed pubs. White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, published in 1834 lists 17 pubs in the town, and 34 beer houses. The 1851 edition lists 20 pubs, and 73 beer houses.

Some of the named beer houses were as follows:

Blakemores Lane The Woodman   Heathfield Lane The Bridge
Bentley Road Brook Tavern   King Street The Queen's Head
Bilston Street The Bricklayer's Arms   Moxley Road The Black Horse
Catherine's Cross The Blue Pig   Moxley Road The Three Perches
Catherine's Cross The Hen & Chickens   New Street The Cross Guns
Catherine's Cross The Sycamore Tree   New Street The Lamp
Catherine's Cross The Unicorn   Pinfold Street The Ancient Briton
Cock Street The Bull's Head   Pinfold Street The Black Horse
Cock Street The Cottage Spring   Pinfold Street The Hop & Barleycorn
Cock Street The Jolly Crispin   Pinfold Street The Noah's Ark
Cock Street The Seven Stars   Pinfold Street The Union
Cock Street The Thatched House   The Green The Fox
Cramp Hill The Rose & Punchbowl   The Green The Green Man
Cramp Hill The Vine   The Green The Plough
Eldon Street The Earl Grey   The Green The Vauxhall
Foster Street The Junction Inn      

Some of the unnamed beer houses were run by the following people:
Bilston Street John Stokes   Cock Street James Foster
Buttcroft Benjamin Baker   Cock Street Thomas Wood
Buttcroft William Partridge   Great Croft Street George Wilkes
Catherine's Cross Richard Butler      

One of Darlaston's named beerhouses was at 34 Foster Street, at the junction of Slater Street and Walsall Street. The details of the beerhouse and the licensee were kindly sent in by Bud Flanagan, whose family lived at 34 Foster Street, until the mid 1950s, when the house was demolished.

This part of Darlaston grew rapidly in the middle of the 19th century. It had not suffered as much as other parts of the town from the digging of copious bell pits, and so was an ideal area for housing. Joseph Welch's 1838 map of Darlaston shows the old field boundaries between Walsall Street and Foster Street, suggesting that up to that time the land was used for agriculture. The area, previously known as Wilkes's and Shale's Crofts was owned by Charles Foster, who ran the Bell public house. He had the local roads built, including Foster Street which is named after him, and sold measured building plots to would-be house builders. The land was sold at auction, at the Bell, on 2nd May, 1836. Within a few years the area began to build-up with terraced houses, courtyards, and back yards with small workshops. The houses were badly needed because of the rapidly rising population, caused by large numbers of people moving into the area to take advantage of the jobs that were on offer in the growing industries.

This was an ideal area for a beerhouse, serving a large local population. Unfortunately the business does not appear to have been a success, possibly because of competition from the other local beerhouses and public houses. It must have opened before the introduction of the Wine and Beer House Act of 1869, which prevented the opening of new beerhouses, and tightened local magistrates' control of the industry. It survived until 1879 and so must have been in business for at least ten years.

The location of the Junction Inn. I have included the Central Schools (later Slater Street Secondary Modern) on the map because they were a well-known landmark. The school was built in 1885, six years after the closure of the Junction Inn, and nine years before the building of Waverley Road, completed in 1894.
The licensee, Thomas Bradbury, was a man of many talents. He not only ran the beerhouse, but must also have brewed the beer because the back yard contained a malthouse. He also worked as a locksmith, possibly in a workshop in one of the outbuildings. The following two notices, one of his bankruptcy, and another of the sale details, indicate that the beerhouse must have closed at this time. Because he was declared bankrupt in 1879, ten years after the introduction of the Wine and Beer House Act, it would not have been possible for the new owner to obtain a beerhouse license. By the 1920s it was owned by H. Purcell who is listed as a general dealer, so it became what we now call a corner shop.

The Bankruptcy Act, 1869,
In the County Court of Staffordshire, holden at

In the matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Thomas Bradbury, of No. 20, Shepwell Green, Willenhall, in the County of Stafford, Locksmith, but recently of the Junction Inn, Foster Street, Darlaston, in the said county of Stafford, Beerhouse Keeper, and Locksmith.

Notice is hereby given, that a First General Meeting of the creditors of the above-named person has been summoned to be held at the offices of Mr. George Baker, Solicitor, 63 Walsall Street, Willenhall, in the said county of Stafford, on the 30th day of May, 1879, at eleven o’clock in the forenoon precisely. Dated this 14th of May, 1879.

George Baker, 63 Walsall Street, Willenhall, Solicitor for the said Thomas Bradbury.

Courtesy of Bud Flanagan.

Wednesbury Herald 9th April 1881

Mr. D. W. Lees has received instructions from the Mortgagee to offer for sale by Auction the following valuable freehold property on Tuesday, April 19th, 1881......All that Beerhouse known as the Junction Inn, situate in and being numbered 34 Foster Street, Darlaston, with the Yard, Malthouse, and Outbuildings thereto belonging; now void, but when last tenanted produced a nett rental of £13.0s.0d. per annum.

Courtesy of Bud Flanagan.

Read about the history of pubs,
how they evolved, and many of
the interesting pubs in the town

From an old postcard.

A receipt from the Old Castle Hotel, dated 1874.

The Three Horse Shoes in Pinfold Street, sometime after 1920. Left to right: unknown, Arthur Wilkes, Christopher George Wilkes, George Henry Wilkes. George Henry Wilkes ran the pub from around 1920. Christopher (known as George) was his son, and Arthur his brother, who became the manager of Bishop & Marston's furniture shop in Church Street. George's brother Ernie kept the Royal Oak in Booth Street, which became known as "Wilkies". Courtesy of Dave Wilkes.
The Red Cow in Dale End.

The photo, dated June 1913 shows landlord George

Henry Wilkes holding his son Christopher George Wilkes.

Courtesy of Dave Wilkes.


After closure in the late 1920s the Red Cow became a private residence, and remained as such until its demolition in the early 1970s. The following memories of the building's later years were kindly supplied by Dave Bourne:

The Red Cow was de-licensed, and sold at auction around 1928/29 by the brewery that stood just around the corner in Church street. It was bought by William Samuel Butler, a wonderful man who my mother says was always like a grandfather to her. I can remember seeing an old photo of him, an imposing chap, complete with suit & waistcoat, starched collar, tie, hat, full-hunter watch and guard, walking stick etc., not forgetting his handlebar moustache! A proper Victorian type of gent.

William Butler moved into the property, and employed my gran; Annie Spruce, nee Gibbs, as his house keeper. A short while later, my gran, granddad Thomas, and three children, Elizabeth, Thomas and Kathleen, all moved in with him. On the 15th of May 1930, Freda, my mother, was born at the property.

Following Mr. Butler’s death, the house was then owned outright by my gran & granddad, because Mr. Butler had left it to them in his will. A coal yard was then opened at the side, which operated for a number of years, before my grandfather sold out to Hodson`s coal merchants of Willenhall. My mother says that my gran nearly belted my granddad around the head with a frying pan when he told her what he had done, as she knew nothing about it! They also kept pigs and chickens in the yard of the property, and slaughtered them there as well. I can still remember the old brick-built pigsties as a young child.

The original building was eventually demolished in 1971/2, after the new house which stands there now, had been built at its side, and my Aunt Kathleen Sheldon, her husband and two children moved into it. It had been intended to renovate the old place, but it was found to be in too poor a state, hence its demolition.

The house finally went out of family ownership in 2003 following the death of my Aunt Kath. Around the time the new house was built, its number was changed by the Council from 17 to 37 Dale End, as a development of new low-rise flats was built to the side, and off Church Street.  

I have many fond memories of the ramshackle and sprawling old house/Red Cow, and indeed the one that stands there now. My favourite place was always the top attic, which had previously been my mother’s and Aunt Kath`s bedroom. My mother, Freda, still lives in the Darlaston Area, and is 79 soon. She is a real font of local knowledge, and we have many conversations about old Darlaston town and its long forgotten buildings and people.

Dave Bourne. May 2009

The Old Barrel. Courtesy of David Adams.

David Adams has kindly allowed me to include his photographs of the Old Barrel which stood in Darlaston Road, King's Hill.

In 1921 the licensee was A. Blakemore, who was followed by David's grandfather George Golcher. This photograph was taken in 1922 and shows George Golcher on the left, with his friend Mr. Harvey.

George Golcher was licensee of the Old Barrel for about twenty four years, until his death in 1947, when it was taken over by his son, Alfred Adams, who ran it for two years.

George was known as the landlord who never called time. When drinking-up time came, he indicated it by putting on his straw hat.

David Adams spent the first eighteen years of his life at the the Old Barrel.

The pub had many sporting connections. Jimmy Driscoll the boxer trained there, and it was home to a pigeon flying club, and a cycling club.

The Old Barrel stood in Darlaston Road, on the corner of what is now Parklands Road, where the flats now stand.

Another view of the Old Barrel with George Golcher stood in the doorway, wearing his straw hat. Courtesy of David Adams. The photograph was taken by David's father Alfred Adams.
The photo on the right, courtesy of David Adams, shows George Golcher and his straw hat.


The obituary on the left, also courtesy of David Adams, is dated 21st June, 1947.

The Greyhound in Cross Street. For sixty years from 1891 until 1951 it was kept by my great grandfather John Garner Parker, and his daughter Mary Ann Parker.

Another view of The Greyhound, which stood near the end of Cross Street and the junction with Willenhall Street. The factory in the distance is part of David Etchells and Son Limited.
View some photographs of
Darlaston pubs past and present
The Black Horse pub on the left was the oldest public house in the centre of Darlaston, dating from the late 18th century.

It was once the headquarters of the town's horse racing fraternity, and is shown here just before demolition.

Members of staff standing outside the Black Horse in Pinfold Street. Courtesy of Tony Highfield.

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Newton of the Black Horse photographed in 1922 at the age of 80.

At the time they had been running the pub for 36 years.

When they started at the pub it was owned by the Bloxwich Brewery Company which became part of W. Butler & Company Limited in 1923.

Bowling Clubs

The Railway Tavern in the mid 1990s.

An advert from 1989.

The Railway Tavern Bowling Club in 1927 when the pub was owned by W. Butler & Co. Ltd.
From the April 1927 edition of Butler's magazine:

Railway Tavern Bowling Club

Rapid Progress made in Two Years

The second annual dinner in connection with the Railway Tavern Bowling Club, James Bridge, Darlaston, was held on Wednesday evening, March 2nd, when Mr. W. Reynolds, chairman of the club, presided. The club did exceptionally well last season, winning the Darlaston Central League, Wednesbury and District League B. Section, the "Forsyth" Hospital Cup, while they were the semi-finalists in the Staffordshire Cup Competition.

A capital repast was provided by Mr. F. A. Wadsworth, of Wednesbury, which was thoroughly enjoyed. After the toast of "The King" the Chairman said how pleased he was to see so many present. He regretted the absence of the President, and hoped they would see him at the opening of the green.

The balance sheet was presented by Mr. Davies, and showed that the income was £46 19s. 3d., including a balance brought forward, while they finished the season with £4 12s. 3d. in hand. Mr. G. Smith, in proposing a vote of thanks to the visitors, said how pleased they were to see Mr. Rubin, and hoped he would be with them for many years, also Councillor C. Simmonds, Mr. Bignell, and Mr. Bratt.

In responding, Mr. Rubin said he was delighted to hear the progress the club had made during the two years of its existence, and it was a source of surprise to him to hear they had lifted all the cups available in the district. Mr. Smith had remarked that he hoped during the summer they might get a challenge cup, but there was no need to wait until then as he would give one right away. Mr. E. Whitehouse said he would be pleased to give a medal to go with the cup.

Councillor Charles Simmonds also briefly returned thanks, and said how very pleased he was to know the club had been so successful. Mr. Harold Rubin then presented medals to the following: Messrs. J. Shaw, J. Whitehouse, J. Williams, I. Morris, G. Plant, R. Watkins, W. George, T. Fereday, R. Griffiths, B. Darby, H. Blakeway, J. Cotton, P. Holder, J. Davis, S. Smith, J. Hewitt, J. Griffiths, G. Humpage, A. Richards, A. Yates, and A. Hales. Thanks were accorded to the donors of prizes, the Host and Hostess (Mr. and Mrs. Alcock), and the artistes.

During the evening an enjoyable musical programme was gone through, the artistes including Messrs. M. Sweeney, H. Longmore, S. Booth, B. Griffiths, and H. Thorney, and Captain Dickenson, while Mr. T. Moran was the accompanist.

The 1928 Railway Tavern Bowling Club, from Butler's magazine. They were winners of the Wednesbury League, Butler's League, the Dudley Docker Cup, the Barlow Cup Competition, Wednesbury Individual Merit, and runners-up in the Walsall League, and the Forsyth Cup.

From the December 1929 edition of Butler's magazine:

Darlaston and District Butler's Bowling League

The Second Annual Dinner and Prize Distribution of the above League was held on Thursday, November 14th, at the Duke of York Inn, Darlaston. About fifty members and friends sat down to an excellent repast provided by the Host and Hostess, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholls.

After dinner the League President (Mr. J. B. Newey) took the chair. He congratulated the members on the success of the League during the two seasons it had been in existence, and said that he would do all in his power to help it forward. The League Chairman (Mr. W. Reynolds) then gave a report, during which he mentioned the deaths of Mr. G. Garratley and Mr. T. Causer, the company standing in silence as a tribute to their memory.

The auditors' report was given by Mr. E. Bradley, and showed a balance in hand of £3 17s. 3d. Mr. Bradley congratulated the secretary and treasurer on the way in which the books and accounts had been kept. The secretary then gave his report. The winners of the League Cup were the Railway Tavern B.C., who also reached the final of the Staffordshire Cup Championship, where they were defeated by the Molineux B.C., another Butler’s club. The Railway Tavern B.C. also won the Darlaston Central League Championship and were runners-up in the Wednesbury League, truly a fine record.

The runners-up in the Butler's League were the Old Bush Inn B.C., who were also runners-up in the Darlaston Central League. The Docker Charity Cup was won by the Duke of York Club. Mr. A. Dale won the Barlow Charity Cup for the second year in succession, while Mr. I. A. Weekes was chosen reserve player for the County team in the Crosfield Cup competition.

The President then presented the prizes as follows :- Cup Winners, Railway Tavern B.C.; Cup Runners-up, Old Bush Inn B.C.; Individual Merit Competition for Medal presented by Messrs. W. Butler & Co., Limited, Mr. I. A. Weekes; Individual Merit Runner-up, Mr. T. Southan; League Average (1st) Medal presented by Messrs. W. Butler & Co., Limited, Mr. W. Cooper; League Average (2nd), Mr. T. Blackhouse.

During the evening an excellent musical programme was given by the following artistes:- Mrs. Nicholls, Mrs. Brookes, Miss May Green and Messrs. Reg. Butler, Fisher, Nicholls and the two "B's " (Messrs. Beaumont and Boot).

Votes of thanks were given to all taking part, and an enjoyable evening was brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.

The George, that stood on the Holyhead Road at Moxley.

On Monday 4th May, 1987 regulars at the Staffordshire Knot pub raised £2,500 for charity after a 20 mile sponsored barrel-push. About 50 regulars from the pub pushed an empty barrel from Catherine's Cross to West Bromwich and back, via Stone Cross and Sandwell Valley. The money was divided between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Birmingham, and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at Walsall.

The barrel-pushers on the photo opposite were as follows:

Front left to right: Roy Dickinson, Tracey Adams, Paula Siverns, and Michelle Williams. Behind them left to right: Licensee Tony Devanney, resident DJ Gerald Fiddler, and Ian Cartwright. At the back left to right: Tony McManus, Dave Taylor, organiser Angela Whitehouse in the barrel, and Diane Howell. On top Susan Hingley and Valerie Howell.

The Why Not Inn before the building of the Houses in Bell Close. Taken by Richard Ashmore, Courtesy of John & Christine Ashmore.

An advert from 1975

I would like to thank Ian Baker, Paul Bridges, the late Harry Flavell, Barry Rutter, and the late Bill Whitehouse for their help in compiling the list of pubs, Irene Bishop for the photo inside the Victoria Inn, Ian Beach for the photograph and information about Martin Perry Foster, Dave Wilkes for the photos and information about the Three Horse Shoes and the Red Cow, Dave Bourne for his memories of the Red Cow, and last but not least Bud Flanagan for the details of the Junction Inn.

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