History of the Vine Inn on Burbury Street in Lozells, Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire.


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Some history of the Vine Inn on Burbury Street

The Vine Inn, sometimes listed as the Vine Tavern, was a relatively small beer house located between the two fully licensed houses on Burbury Street. When the tenancy of the Vine Inn was advertised in February 1863 the boozer was described as a "snug and compact house, doing an excellent trade." It was stated that the incumbent, Samuel Baylis, had a "very satisfactory reason for leaving." The jeweller and beer retailer may have been responsible for a licence being awarded to the property as the 1860 Post Office Directory does not indicate a beer house but lists the gilt toy manufacturer Abraham Heath. However, in the following year Samuel Baylis was combining his work as a jeweller with selling ale in the evening. During the day his wife Ann would have managed the Vine Inn. The couple had earlier lived in Hatchett Street. Samuel Baylis appeared before the magistrates in June 1861 after being nabbed for serving after hours. The publican was fined 2s.6d. by the bench.

William Davis responded to the advertisement for the Vine Inn but only remained for a couple of years before another advertisement appeared for the beer house. The incoming capital required had risen by £20 to £120 for the "very desirable and well-situated retail tavern transacting a good lucrative trade." In his time at Burbury Street, he was robbed of his cash box in the pub [see newspaper article].

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Former glass cutter Peter May was recorded as a retail brewer in the 1871 census, suggesting that the Vine Inn, along with the neighbouring Queen's Head, had become a homebrew house. He was another publican to land himself in trouble with the magistrates for selling ale out of hours. In November 1867 the bench slapped a fine of five shillings on the publican, along with costs. Following the death of Peter May the licence was transferred to his son Charles in April 1874. The former jeweller had learned some brewing skills from his father and he continued as a retail brewer at the Vine Inn until he was succeeded by Joseph Jones on March 2nd 1882. This was the first transfer of the licence during a year of turbulence for the Vine Inn. John Hardiker held the licence for the briefest of spells which is curious. He brewed for his father who was the publican of the White Swan on the corner of Farm Street and Villa Street.

On October 5th 1882 the licence of the Vine Inn was transferred to Samuel Yates. No sooner had he settled in with his wife he found himself hauled before the magistrates on a charge of being drunk and disorderly at the Vine Inn. A police constable went into the pub at 10 o'clock one Thursday night in May 1883 and found the publican fighting with his wife. He was bleeding profusely from a head wound but managed to tell the policeman that he had "sold the house and was in an excited state." He was fined ten shillings plus costs.

James and Elizabeth Birch were mine hosts of the Vine Inn during the First World War, a conflict which cost the lives of two of their children, Bertie and Howard. At the turn of the 20th century the family were running the Walsall House, a beer house in Bank Street, Walsall but had moved down to Birmingham via a spell in Handsworth. The family were devastated when Howard Birch was killed in action during 1917. Cruelly, they also lost his brother Bertie just before the end of the war. Corporal Bert Birch was their youngest son who had joined the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He enlisted in September 1914 and had been three times wounded. Following his death in August 1918 his officer wrote : "The work he has done is worthy of the highest praise, and is greatly appreciated by us all. He was in every way a true soldier and a splendid man in action. We all deplore the loss of one of our best."

Holder's Brewery leased the Vine Inn from Amy Smith and, following the company's takeover by Mitchell's and Butler's in 1919, the Cape Hill brewery took the old beer house under their umbrella. Mitchell's and Butler's acquired the freehold of the property on January 20th 1921 when paying Amy Smith the sum of £1,050.

The Vine Inn was closed on December 31st 1936 which possibly resulted in a send-off on New Year's Eve. The brewery received £3,000 for the loss of the licence and resulting business. In the following October, the company sold the property to Joseph Lucas Ltd. for £530.

Brummagem Boozers

Licensees of this pub

1861 - 1863 Samuel Baylis
1863 - 1865 William Thomas Davis
1867 - 1874 Peter May
1874 - 1882 Charles May
1882 - 1882 Joseph Arnold Jones
1882 - 1882 John Hardiker
1882 - Samuel Yates
1887 - John Jones
1892 - John Hinks
1918 - James Birch
1921 - William Roberts

Holder's Ales and Stout

This ceramic wall badge is taken from another public house in Birmingham. It is unlikely that the Vine Inn had such tiles on the building's frontage but it is included here for illustration purposes as the Aston-based brewery operated this pub for a period.

Genealogy Connections

If you have a genealogy story or query regarding the Vine Inn you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Birmingham Genealogy.


Map Showing Pubs of Burbury Street in Birmingham [1912]

This map shows the locations of Burbury Street's pubs. The Lucas Factory on Great King Street is marked as a Cycle and Motor Bell and Lamp Works. This site had previously been occupied by a rows of terraced houses with courts, similar to that on the southern side of the thoroughfare.

Related Websites

Aston Brook through Aston Manor
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham History Forum
Birmingham Places and Place Names
Carl Chinn Archive
Handsworth History
Ladywood Past and Present
Perry Barr and Beyond
Winson Green to Brookfields

Have Your Say

If you would like to share any further information on this pub - perhaps you drank here in the past? Or maybe knew a previous publican? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or gossip. Simply send a message and I'll post it here.

Mitchell's and Butler's Blotter Front Cover [1936]

Mitchell's and Butler's Plate

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"The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust."

Newspaper Articles

"At the Public Office yesterday, before Messrs. T. Phillips and W. Gough, William Phillips, 27, described as jeweller, residing at 36, Smith Street; Charles Cutler, also a jeweller, residing at 17, Burbury Street, and Harriet Cooper, a boot binder, residing in the same street, were brought upon remand charged with stealing a cash box, containing about £l2., from the house of William Thorans Davis, retail brewer, "The Vine," Burbury Street. Mr. J. W. Cutler, prosecuted, and Mr. J. Powell, defended the prisoners. It appeared from the evidence of several witnesses that a few minutes before eleven o'clock on the night of Thursday last the two male prisoners, in company with two other men, went to the prosecutor's house and called for something to drink. They sat for some time drinking in the tap-room with the rest of the company, amongst whom was the prosecutor. The prisoner Phillips, complaining that he was ill, went out into the yard several times, and on one occasion he was followed by the prisoner Cutler, who returned, and shutting the door which communicated between the tap-room and the bar, placed his back against it. Thus the prisoner Phillips would have opportunity, it was stated, of gaining access from the yard to the bar, where the prosecutor had previously placed the cash box, containing about £16. in gold and silver moneys. No notice was however taken of the prisoner Cutler's conduct at the time, and directly afterwards the prisoner Phillips, coming into the tap-room from the yard, said he should go home, and the prosecutor accordingly let him out at the gates leading from the yard into the street, it being past closing time. Shortly afterwards the prisoner Cutler also left the house. The next morning the cash box, with the contents, were missed, and suspicion was at once attached to the two male prisoners, and a man named Merit, who manages the prosecutor's business, gave information to the police. On the afternoon of Friday the prisoner Phillips again came into the prosecutor's tap-room and called for a pint of fourpenny; and the loss of the cash box and contents having become known in the neighbourhood, he said to the man Merit, "What a bad job it is, your losing the money!" As he was speaking, a woman of the name of Smith, with whom the female prisoner lodges, came in, and calling to Merit, asked him to go to her house. Upon arriving there the woman's husband took Merit stairs, and pointed out to him a box belonging to the female prisoner, and there, concealed in the lining of a muff, he found upwards of £10. in gold and silver. The woman Smith stated that the prisoner Phillips had been keeping company with the female prisoner for about two years, and was in the habit of calling at the house nearly every morning. He had called that morning, and had been alone with the female prisoner for a few minutes, and they afterwards went out, she to her place of work, he accompanying her as usual. After they were gone the woman Smith, having heard the rumour of the loss of the cash-box and contents, and that suspicion of stealing it was attached to the two male prisoners, went upstairs, and searched the female prisoner's box. There she found the muff, which appearing to contain money, she at once went and called Merit. Amongst the money found in the muff was a crown piece which, from being bent and having been in the prosecutor's possession for some years, he was enabled to swear to as having been in the cash-box on the previous evening when the two male prisoners entered the house. Returning to the prosecutor's house Merit found that the prisoner Phillips had left, having upon being accused of stealing the cash-box, run into the yard and jumping the wall got into the street. Upon this Merit went to Kenion Street police station, and, informing Police-Sergeant Heverin of the discovery that had been made, the latter went to the shop of Mr. Brown, shoemaker. New Street, where he apprehended the female prisoner, she being employed there. Upon hearing the charge, after some little hesitation she stated that the prisoner Phillips had that morning brought the money to her lodgings, and asked her to take care of it for him. In the meantime, Merit was returning from the Police Station to the prosecutor's house, and whilst passing along Wills Street the prisoner came from the door of a public house and called him in. Upon him going in the prisoner Cutler asked him what he was going to stand, and as he had declined to pay anything the former called for a pint of ale, for which he paid. Then they went into the tap-room to drink it, when the prisoner Cutler asked if the cash box had been found, and being replied to in the negative coolly said, "I had it in my hands last night and that's part of the money that was in it with which I paid for that ale." He followed this statement up by putting his hand into his coat pocket and pulling out a handful of silver and a sovereign, and said, "And that's some of the money I had out of the cash box," and further pointing to a case of stuffed birds and a packet of brooches which were on a table, he said, and I purchased those with the money." The prisoner Cutler was rather intoxicated at the time, but after his cool statement the man Merit, seeing Police-Sergeant Sullivan passing the public-house window, called him in and gave the prisoner Cutler into his custody, and he was taken to the police station. Upon being charged with the robbery, he at first denied but then admitted that he was with the prisoner Cutler at the prosecutor's house on the previous night. He was then searched, when a sovereign and ten shillings in silver were found in his pockets. The two prisoners, Cutler and Cooper, were brought before the magistrates on Saturday, and remanded until yesterday [Monday], in order to give the police an opportunity of apprehending the prisoner Phillips. Nothing, however, was discovered as to his whereabouts until yesterday morning Police-Sergeant Heverin found him sitting amongst the witnesses in waiting in the first court. He at once apprehended him, placed him in the dock, and charged him with stealing the cash-box in company with the prisoner Cutler. He stated that he had come that morning for the purpose of giving evidence in favour of the female prisoner, Cooper. As to stealing the cash-box, he declined saying anything about it. Mr. Powell having addressed the Bench on behalf of the prisoners Cooper and Phillips, they were committed to the Sessions for trial. The prisoner Cutler was discharged, there being no evidence against him, except his own statement, and Mr. Powell having called witnesses who accounted for his having the money and other articles in his possession."
"Singular Case of Stealing a Cash Box"
Birmingham Daily Gazette : March 25th 1863 Page 3.