As in most Black Country towns the public house has been at the centre of people's social lives for many generations. The buildings often bring back fond memories of days gone by, or old friends.

I have attempted to include a list (which is possibly incomplete) of the towns past and present public houses. If anyone can add to the list or make any corrections please send me an email.

Albert Street The Crown   Holyhead Road The Britannia Inn
Albert Street The Fox and Dogs   Holyhead Road The Cross Keys
Albert Street The London & North Western Hotel   Holyhead Road The Dartmouth
Alma Street The Village Inn   Holyhead Road The Ocean House
Alma Street The Vine   Holyhead Road The Queen's Arms
Bilston Road The Cottage Spring   Holyhead Road The Railway Tavern
Bilston Road The Cross Guns   Holyhead Road The Station
Birmingham Street The Acorn   Holyhead Road The Stores
Bridge Street Coach & Horses  then the Coachmaker's Arms   Holyhead Road The Three Crowns
Bridge Street The Fountain   Holyhead Road The Three Swans
Bridge Street The Hare & Hounds   Hydes Road The Croft
Bridge Street The Red Lion   King Street The Royal Oak
Bridge Street The Ship   Leabrook Road The Boat Inn
Bridge Street The White Horse   Leabrook Road The Britannia Inn
Bridge Street The White Swan   Leabrook Road The Bush
Brunswick Park Rd. The Isle of Man   Leabrook Road The Golden Cups
Brunswick Park Rd. The Queen's Head   Leabrook Road The Jolly Colliers
Camp Street The Joiner's Arms   Leabrook Road Lea Brook Tavern
Camp Street The Jolly Brewer   Leabrook Road The Plough & Harrow
Camp Hill Lane The Bull's Head   Leabrook Road The Railway Tavern
Church Hill The Rosehill Tavern   Lower High Street The Coach & Horses
Church Street The Market House Tavern   Lower High Street The Duke of York
Church Street The Woden Inn   Lower High Street The Nag's Head
Cobden Street The Borough Arms   Lower High Street The Turk's Head
Cobden Street The Forge   Market Place The Green Dragon
Coronation Road The Windmill   Market Place George & Dragon
Crankhall Lane The Brunswick   Market Place The Pig & Trumpet.
Originally Old Golden Cross
Crankhall Lane The Canal Tavern   Market Place The Talbot Hotel
Crankhall Lane The Friar Park Inn   Market Place The White Lion
Cross Street The Smith's Arms   Meeting Street The Jolly Collier
Dale Street The White Lion   Meeting Street The Old Royal Oak
Dale Street The Woodman   Mill Street The King's Hill Tavern
Darlaston Road The Fortune of War   New Street The Noah's Ark
Darlaston Road The King's Hill Tavern   New Street The Why Not
Darlaston Road The Oddfellows   Old Park Road The Black Horse
Darlaston Road The Old Barrel   Oxford Street The Foresters Arms
Darlaston Road The Old Park Hotel   Park Lane The Myvod Inn
Darlaston Road The Rose & Crown   Portway Road The Gladstone
Darlaston Road The Scots Arms   Portway Road The Grapes
Darlaston Road The Talbot   Portway Road The Nelson
Darlaston Road The Three Crowns   Portway Road The Royal Exchange
Dudley Street The Elephant & Castle   Portway Road The Spread Eagle
Dudley Street The Greyhound Inn   Piercy Street The Rising Sun
Dudley Street The Lea Brook Tavern   Queen Street The Queen's Head
Dudley Street The New Pack Horse   Ridding Lane Dog & Partridge
Dudley Street The Old Pack Horse   Rowley View The Highgate Arms
Dudley Street The Plough and Harrow   Russell Street The Town Hall
Earps Lane The Blue Ball   St. Paul's Road The Forge Arms
Elwell Street The Mazeppa   Spring Head The Standeford Hotel
Elwell Street The Museum Inn   Terrace Street Oakeswell End Tavern
Elwell Street The Royal Oak   Trouse Lane The Fortune of War
Elwell Street The Stores   Trouse Lane The Junction Inn
Franchise Street The Cottage Spring   Trouse Lane The Rising Sun
Franchise Street The Forge Tavern   Union Street The Three Tuns
Franchise Street The Horse & Jockey   Union Street The Rose Inn
Friar Park Road The Coronation   Upper High Street The George originally
The King's Head
Great Western St. The Brunswick   Upper High Street The Grapes
Great Western St. The Railway   Upper High Street The Lamp Inn originally
The Midland Vaults
Great Western St. Great Western Hotel   Upper High Street The Royal Exchange
Hall End The Old Blue Ball   Vicarage Road The Rose Hill Tavern
High Bullen The Crown & Cushion   Vicarage Road Ye Olde Leathern Bottel
High Bullen The Elephant & Castle   Victoria Street The Prince Regent
High Bullen The Horse and Jockey   Walsall Street The Bell
High Bullen The King's Arms   Walsall St. corner
of Windmill St.
The Castle Inn
High Bullen The Samson and Lion   Walsall Street The Park Inn
Holloway Bank The Fountain Inn   Wood Green Road The Cottage Inn
Holloway Bank The Globe Inn   Wood Green Road The Horse & Jockey
Holyhead Road The Anchor Inn   Wood Green Road The Star Inn
      Wood Green Road The Woodman

The oldest pub in Wednesbury is Ye Olde Leathern Bottel in Vicarage Road which is believed to date from 1510.  The White Horse in Bridge Street used to be one of the places where the magistrates met until 1846 when the Staffordshire Quarter Sessions built a courtroom in Russell Street. The Wednesbury terminus of the Birmingham trams was also known as the White Horse because it was next to the pub.

Before the coming of modern public transport, in the form of railways, trams and buses, people travelled from town to town on the horse-drawn coaches that called at coaching inns, where the horses could be changed, passengers could be fed, or obtain overnight accommodation. Coaching inns tended to be on, or near the main thoroughfares, and were often the most successful public houses of their day. The main road through Wednesbury was the Holyhead Road, part of which is Bridge Street, named after the bridge that crosses the River Tame. One of the town's leading coaching inns, the Red Lion Hotel stood at 39 Bridge Street.

It became a successful coaching inn after the building of the Wednesbury section of the Holyhead Road in 1826, and deprived the Turk's Head in Lower High Street of much of its coaching traffic. Prior to the building of the new road, when the inn was kept by Elizabeth Houldcroft, it had no coach traffic at all. By the 1830s when the landlord was Richard Davis, passengers from the London to Liverpool coaches were catered for, while the horses were being changed. In the 1840s the London to Holyhead Royal Mail Coach stopped there, as did coaches to Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury and Stoke-on-Trent.

Horse-drawn omnibuses also stopped at the inn, including an hourly service to Birmingham, and services to Wolverhampton, Willenhall, and Darlaston. In the late 1820s and 1830s Richard Davis held an annual ball at the Red Lion which was well attended and attracted visitors from as far afield as Shropshire and Warwickshire. In the 1850s Edwin Richards became landlord, followed by Thomas Mills in the early 1860s, and Joseph Robert Madeley in the early 1890s. By this time the coaching traffic had ended thanks to the railways, and the frequent tram service. Madeley then advertised himself as a cab and car proprietor.

The Horse and Jockey, on the corner of Wood Green Road and Hobs Road, was built in 1898 and designed by Wood & Kendrick. It was Grade II listed on the 9th July, 2020, mainly because of its ceramic bar counter, which is one of only 14 left in the UK. The painted bowling green sign on the right refers to a bowling green that was replaced by the car park in 1964.

The Red Lion featured in what must have been the town's first balloon flight. It was reported in the edition of the Wednesbury Herald that appeared on 30th January, 1898. The unsuccessful ascent, made in the first quarter of the nineteenth century was remembered in the article by an old man, who remembered seeing the flight as a child. It was made by James Sadler (1753-1828), the first English aeronaut.

A balloon ascent was advertised to take place from the Red Lion and caused the greatest excitement, as such an exhibition was considered far before the age when "Rough-Mo," "Old Bonker" and others of their fraternity, understood no class of amusements, beyond cock-fighting, pigeon flying and bull-baiting. The three prominent aeronauts were Sadler, Green, and Graham. It was Green who ascended from the Green Park in London at the Coronation of George IV for the first time with coal gas. Sadler was subsequently killed I believe. Sadler was the aeronaut to ascend from Wednesbury. As may be supposed the excitement was intense, every prominent position being crowded, while the balloon was clearly visible in the process of inflation. The supply of gas was, however, insufficient, and the aeronaut, in announcing the fact, was met with hooting derision and threats. He became alarmed for the safety of himself and his machine, and decided at all hazards to risk the ascent as the lesser evil. Getting into the car, he gave orders to release the balloon; it seemed reluctant to leave terra firma, but it rose sufficiently high to clear the opposite houses in Bridge Street, and deposit itself in The Mounts - fortunately without injury to either the aeronaut or his balloon.

Even though the Red Lion had a fine bowling green, trade suffered in the twentieth century. By the 1920s the landlord was T. Wood. In the 1970s the pub closed, and was demolished around 1980.

The Black Horse in Old Park Road.

An advert from 1917.

Many of the pubs got a lot of their customers from nearby factories. The Plough & Harrow in Leabrook Road is a good example. It would have greatly benefited from being next door to the Patent Shaft.

An advert from 1921.
John Brown and his wife Charlotte. John owned the
Bell Inn, Walsall Street in
the 1920s.

Courtesy of their great granddaughter, Christine Paterson.

John Brown and his chickens.

Courtesy of Christine Paterson.

The Talbot Hotel

The Talbot Hotel, 27 Market Place, on the corner of Spring Head was built in 1879 to replace an old inn of the same name, dating back to Elizabethan times. The old pub featured in the colliers and miners riots in August 1824 when a company of regulars from the Staffordshire Yeomanry were mounted in the yard to control the rioters. At the time around 30,000 striking colliers were assembled in the Turk's Head field. They had been forcibly ordering the miners who were still at work to join them. Many colliers were detained and tried at the Petty Sessions in the Turk's Head. Some were committed to Stafford, from where twelve or so were transported for life.

The Talbot Hotel, as it is today.

Another view of the old Talbot Hotel.

In 1818 Joseph Hateley was landlord and a maltster. By 1828 Edward Nightingale had taken over, and in 1851 the licensee was John Guest. The new Hotel was built by wine and spirit merchant John Taylor Duce to house the pub and his business.

The pub had an unexpected and interesting tenant in the form of Sidney Webb the undertaker, who started his business in the cellar of the hotel. He founded the business in 1894 and later moved to Willow Mews in Meeting Street, before opening his establishment in Upper High Street.

John Taylor Duce became a wealthy man. In 1881 at the age of 56 he lived at Dunston House, Dunston, which is on the A449, just over halfway between Penkridge and Stafford. The late 18th century house is still there today, opposite Dunston Parish Church. John lived with his wife Harriett; daughters Ellen, Selina, and Charlotte; sons William and James; and a housemaid, parlour maid, scullery maid, and a cook.

An advert from 1916.

By the early years of the 20th century the hotel had been taken over by Hickman & Pullen Limited who brewed the range of 'Entire' ales at their High Bullen brewery.

On 8th July, 1918 the front part of the building in the Market Place became Wednesbury Labour Exchange when the Local Employments Committee took out a twenty one year lease on the property at an annual rent of £300. The committee had the following members:
Chairman A. E. Pritchard, J.P.; Vice-Chairman C. W. D. Joynson, J.P.; Secretary Mr. A. S. Morgan; and Assistant Secretary H. W. Bayliss.
The Manager of the Labour Exchange was Mr. A. S. Morgan.

In 1927 Hickman & Pullen Limited decided to sell the building. At the time the front part facing the Market Place was occupied by the Labour Exchange, and the part in Spring Head had become the 'Standeford Bar' under the management of Mr. O. T. Ayre. It consisted of a bar-smoke room and a children's room. In the cellar was a large bottling stores with a bottle and bottle washing department with brick bins, a labelling room, a stacking room, and stores. On the Spring Head side there were also two large rooms which had been used as stores, but were advertised in the sale as capital assembly rooms. In the yard were stables, a garage, and toilets.

The building, which later became a furniture shop, is now used as a post office, an undertakers, and a hairdressers, which is in Spring Head.
The King's Arms, High Bullen

Hickman & Pullen Limited also owned the King's Arms pub on the High Bullen and the adjacent brewery and maltings. In May 1927 it all went for sale at an auction held at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham. At the time the licensee was Mr. W. Beddow.

The pub consisted of a bar, front and rear smoke rooms, a snug, an outdoor, and a public dining room and kitchen. The first floor contained a large assembly room, three bedrooms, a box room, a store, and toilets.

There were two brick-paved cellars with brick stillaging, a wine cellar, and a rolling way from the yard. Outside at the back were toilets, a pleasure green and a garden.

The six-quarter brewery consisted of beer, sugar, and malt stores, fermenting, cooling, and malt crushing rooms, a boiler house, and a cask washing shed. Outside stood the cooperage, the bottle washing room, a spirit stores, and a general store.

The ten-quarter maltings included a malt kiln, a drying kiln, steeping and drying stores, a basement store, and a stoke hole.

There was also a two-storey office building with a general office and a manager's office.

The Coachmaker's Arms, Bridge Street. Courtesy of Brian Groves and John Hellend. 

Another view of the Coachmaker's Arms, Bridge Street. Courtesy of Brian Groves and John Hellend.

The Midland Vaults, Upper High Street. Courtesy of Brian Groves and John Hellend.

The White Horse Bridge Street. Courtesy of Brian Groves and John Hellend. 

The Great Western Hotel. From an old postcard.

The Anchor Inn in Holyhead Road, now a nursery and the Livingston Academy.

An advert from 1922.

An advert from 1922.

The Turk's Head in Lower High Street.

This lovely photograph of the Queen's Head in Queen Street was kindly sent by Bill Townend. It shows his great grandfather William King Townend, with his grandson of the same name.

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.

George Golcher behind the bar at the Old Barrel. Courtesy of David Adams.

A trip from the Old Barrel to Wolverhampton. Courtesy of David Adams.

I have to thank Keiron Parton for sending the three lovely photographs below. The first is of the Cottage Spring in Franchise Street, the second is of the landlord, William Whitehall, and the third is of his second wife, Sarah, who sadly died in 1918.

The Whitehall family ran the Cottage Spring from 1908, when it was acquired by William Whitehall. It remained in the family until 1965 when it was sold to Holden's Brewery. At one time it had its own brewery.

William was born in 1858 and died in 1938. His estate and business was left in trust for the benefit of his remaining family. He had previously been a Gun Lock Forger. He had a large family, with 11 children from his first marriage, and 3 from his second marriage, this being to Sarah Wakefield of Oldbury.

A framed copy of the photograph below, was presented to Holden's, at the Cottage Spring, on Sept 8th, 2013 by Sheila Whitehall-Martin during her visit from Australia. Fourteen family members were present, including grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren.

The Cottage Spring in about 1934. Left to right: Tommy Brookes jnr. (Leslie Whitehall's cousin),  Jack Ward, Leslie Whitehall (Williams’ youngest son), and Bernard Mooney.

William Whitehall in the Cottage Spring garden.


William's second wife, Sarah Wakefield.

The Old Blue Ball in Hall End, on the side of Church Hill, dates back to the late 18th century. The first licensee was Jonah Spittle in 1786.

From 1860 to 1868, and again in 1870 the licensee was Joseph Brittain who issued the token, seen below.

Courtesy of Jean Brittain.

The Brittain family are listed in the 1861 census as follows:

Joseph Brittain age 49, publican.

Ann Brittain age 48, wife.
(maiden name Whitehouse)

John Brittain age 23, gas tube maker.

William Brittain, age 21, brewer.

Ann Maria Brittain, age 14, scholar.

Joseph Brittain, age 12, scholar.

James Brittain, age 10, scholar.

Ellen Spooner, age 20, general servant.
The Brittain family left Wednesbury and moved to Scotland in the late 1800s. On the right is Ann Maria Brittain, born in Wednesbury around 1847. The photographer was J. Hopwood, Market Place, Wednesbury.

The Brittain family kept other Wednesbury pubs. William was licensee of the Old Royal Oak Inn, in Meeting Street from 1849 to 1870. His son Thomas kept the Cross Guns in Bilston Road from 1860 to 1873. Another member of the family, Henry Brittain became an engineer and went to Spain, where he became a bull fighter.

Courtesy of Jean Brittain.

Courtesy of Jean Brittain.

Jean Brittain has kindly sent the image opposite, which shows an example of the work of her great grandfather, James Philip Brittain (1850-1913) when he was 14 years old. He was studying under the tuition of Mr. E. J. Morris, B.A. At his Classical, Mathematical and Commercial Academy, Holyhead Road, Wednesbury.

A transcription of the text in the image oppoasite:

This Tablet of
Is Dedicated to the

The Rose Inn in Union Street in the 1890s.

I would like to thank Tricia Swinnerton-Cooper, Adrian Powell, and Joy & Jacquie for their help with some of the pub names.

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