New chapter for historic Carlinghow public house
IT’S hosted inquests, watchmakers’ meetings and even druids’ gatherings. Now this historic pub has been given a new lease of life by its latest owner.
After years of being owned by national breweries, the Victoria Hotel has been bought by Richard Sharp, who has returned it to a free house.
It will be run by new landlord Dave Pickering.
With the help of pub historian Rod Kaye, Richard has looked into the building’s history.
The Carlinghow drinking hole dates back to the late 1860s, when it was built by stonemason William Preston.
Rod has unearthed the original deed of the ‘beerhouse’ – then called the Victoria Inn – in Bradford Road, which records the mortgage between Mr Preston and the pub’s first landlord, or beerhouse-keeper, Richard Bird in 1869.
The following year, Mr Bird applied to the Brewster Sessions for a spirits licence.
In his application he said the premises comprised of a large concert room, a taproom, a snug and other rooms which were all ‘large and commodius’. There was also stabling for three horses.
He said he dined around 20 to 30 people each day, but was unable to serve them spirits or wine, which they often asked for.
Mr Bird was denied his spirits licence on several occasions.
He died in 1877, leaving the inn to his widow, Mrs H Bird.
Two years later Mrs Bird got married to Joseph Kemp, who took over ownership and running of the inn. He secured a spirits licence on the grounds that he only open six days a week, not trading on a Sunday.
Mr Kemp died on May 22, 1895, when the Victoria went into the hands of Tetleys Brewery.
The pub was managed by landlords in the Andrews family until 1906.
Rod’s research shows the Victoria’s longest serving landlord was John William Reed, who was there from 1939 until 1964.
Mr Reed was previously the steward of Soothill Working Men’s Club, and was president of the Dewsbury and Batley District Licenced Victuallers’ Association from 1955 to 1960.
After countless applications had been refused over the decades for a seven-day licence, the Brewster Sessions obliged in February, 1951.
Over the decades, the Victoria has hosted many groups’ meetings – some more unusual than others.
It was once the headquarters of the Loyal Victoria Lodge, number 611 of the United Ancient Order of the Druids, and in the late 1800s heard meetings of the Batley Working Men’s Conservative Association, Sykes and Ingram’s Watch, Clock and Jewellery Club and the Drivers, Conductors and Yard Men employed by the Dewsbury, Batley and Birstall Tramway Company.
There were also some grim meetings held there. Rod said on January 20, 1881, an inquest was opened for 13 people killed in a boiler explosion in White Lee the previous afternoon. It was held with the bodies in view.
Richard, 26, has completely refurbished the pub, but said he had tried to keep some of the pub’s original features.
“We want to make it back into a real ale pub,” he said.
“We’ve managed to keep it so it’s modern, looking nice and airy, but still keeping all of its character. There’s an old stone floor, and we found some really old tiles which we’ve cleaned up and put on display.”
Richard said one interesting thing he and Rod had come across while looking into the history was that the pub was named before the death of Queen Victoria.
“Batley was granted its township by Queen Victoria in 1868, so I’m assuming that’s why it was named The Victoria,” he said.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to about the pub seems to think most pubs were only called The Victoria after she died. She was still on the throne when this opened.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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