History of Warwick Pubs

Written by John Crossling (JohnCrossling@aol.com).

By way of complete contrast The Sarah Siddons is a modern pub opened in 1978 and was built 
specifically to serve the residents of the newly built Woodloes housing estate. 
It is situated in the small shopping centre and despite lacking any great character serves the purpose 
for which was designed perfectly well. It is a typical open plan pub with the ubiquitous pool table.
This pub is known only from one reference on the 1851 map of Warwick where it was shown as 
existing on Parkes Street that is off the Saltisford near Sainsbury's. 

This fine old building is situated at 50 Friars Street, down towards the racecourse. 
It first appears on the 1806 map of Warwick but the building, which shows relics of a 
half-timber construction, is far older than that. 
In 150 years that licensees have been listed for this pub only 9 names are recorded which is quite remarkable. 
1806-1822 Richard Fenton				1828 John Bickley 
1874-1887 Joseph Barratt				1888-1911 Mrs C. Barratt 
1912-1916 E. J. Barratt				1917-1920 Mrs Barratt 
1921-1924 E. J. Barratt				1925-1934 Alfred S. Robbins 
1935-1953 William Edward Vaughan Kendall		1956-1959 Robert Woodward 
For 50 years this humble beerhouse was in the hands of one family that must be almost unique. 
It passed from husband, to wife, to son, to his wife, and back again. It is my guess that the Great War 
triggered the latter sequence of events. I believe that E.J. Barratt went of to sign up in 1917 and was 
one of the lucky few who actually came back again albeit slightly late in 1920. His wife took on the licence in his absence. 
The first Mrs. Barratt probably took on the pub when her husband died and was there for 23 years. 
It is interesting to note that records of long standing licensees and the transfer of licence down 
the family is often associated with the basic Beerhouses. 
This is the lowest classification of pub with no spirit licence. 
Margins must have been low and a fierce loyalty and commitment to the pub is in 
bread in the owning family in order to make the business succeed. 
When I first arrived in this area in 1985 this was the real ale pub in the area. 
The pub was packed and the changing range of excellent ales was enormous. 
Years later the landlord changed and priorities changed. It became more food orientated for a 
while and more recently has been turned into a bed and breakfast establishment. 
Originally there were two drinking areas and a fine garden for the summer. 
Recently only one room was open to the public and then all real ale was removed. 
It has reached the state where it can barely be called a pub at all today which is a 
great shame considering its fine history. 

There is only one reference to this pub and that is in Kemps book published in 1905 entitled 
"History of Warwick and its People". In it he states that the Shakespeare Inn 
stood in Theatre Street and was the lodge of The Firs. 

The only reference to this pub is in the Select Committee report of 1833 when 
it was run by William Clark

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Created & Maintained by Pickard Trepess     Revised: 27 February 2005
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