THE QUARTER HOUSE

Robert Hanley


"The Quarter House" is not an uncommon name.  It refers to the "quarter days" - Lady Day (March 25th), Midsummer Day (June 24th), Michaelmas (September 29th) and Christmas (December 25th) - on which tenants paid their landlord the rent due on their farms or houses.  The pub in which the landlord or his agent sat to collect these rents became known as the Quarter House.

My late father in law, Tom Hough, kept the Quarter House on Compton Road from 1950-1964 when he retired. He was one of the old style gentleman landlords, not like the landlords we get to-day!  This photo shows him outside the Quarter House, sometime after Bank's had taken over - you can just see the sign on the wall.

From 1939-1950 he had kept The Queens Head in Dawley, which was also one of Bill Phipps' pubs. 

My brother in law kept the Wrekin View in Dawley. When I left the Wolverhampton police force in 1964 I followed in father in law's footsteps and kept The Queen's Head from 1964-1973.

In my time Bill Phipps was running pubs for the JPS brewery. The brewery had a rather complicated history but it had been established by J. P. Simpkiss in Brierly Hill and expanded from there, buying up pubs along the way.   In 1955 they amalgamated with the Johnson & Phipps Brewery whose offices were at 43 Lichfield Street and whose brewery was in Fryer Street.  The combined firm was called JPS Brewery.  Johnson & Phipps had had a compulsory purchase order put on their premises by the Wolverhampton Borough Council.  This went through and the brewery was demolished.  So all of the JPS Brewery's brewing was done at Brierly Hill.  But the two amalgamated companies retained their own identities and the Wolverhampton end retained control of their 17 Wolverhampton pubs.  When Alan Phipps retired in 1969 most of these pubs, including the Quarter House, were sold to Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries.

Before it was rebuilt the Quarter House must have been considered as a very interesting feature on the Compton Road as it appears in a number of postcards and in one or two paintings.  It also seems to have attracted the photographer' attention after it was rebuilt.  Below are some of these paintings and postcards as well as some photos from my family album. 

An old postcard from round about 1900, with Holy Trinity Church beyond it.  The large lamp above the door says "Quarter House Inn" but, unfortunately, the sign above the door cannot be read.

Two horse drawn vehicles have paused for refreshment on their way down Compton Road.

Another old postcard from about the same date.

And another postcard from that time, this one showing a winter scene.  The carter may have stopped to get warm before the fire.
This is a picture of the painting that hung in the bar.

Mr Phipps took this with him to the Isle of Man when he sold up and retired.

Mr. Phipps has since died. The painting is still in his family and now resides in Brighton.

This is the mural that hangs in the pub today.  Wolverhampton had a thriving market until fairly recent times and the scene shows sheep and a heavily laden cart coming back from the market.  Note that the building on the left was in use as stables.  Inns usually had stables even if they were not post houses or coaching houses.
The Banks' sign occupies a prominent position.

Another view of the new Quarter House, from the opposite side of Compton Rad.

Snow on the roofs.    

Snow all over!  These photos were taken some time in the early 1950s.
Sunnier times for the Coronation, with the Quarter House decorated with flags and bunting.

The spire of Holy Trinity seems to be attached to the pub in this photo (from round about the same time).

This photo was taken in 1963.  That's me in the front but I have included the photo because it shows the old Johnson & Phipps sign at the back.

All the above was written a year or two back.  But in late October 2008 I was passing through Wolverhampton and for old times sake I drove passed the old Quarterhouse.  I was horrified at what I found:
The front was all boarded up and fenced in, ready for demolition.

And the rear showed the same signs.    

I understand that since then demolition has actually taken place and planning permission has been given for houses on the site. 

I am still trying to find out more about the history of this pub.  If anyone knows anything else about it, or about the Fryer Street brewery, I would very much like to hear from them. Contact the webmaster.


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