History of the Fox Inn at Hurst Street and Inge Street in Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire. Research is augmented with photographs, details of licensees, stories of local folklore, census data, newspaper articles and a genealogy connections section for those studying their family history.


Fox Inn
Fox Inn

Some History of this Pub
This pub tended to be included within records for Inge Street for much of its early history, though it had an address in both Inge Street and Hurst Street in later years. I am listing it in both streets to avoid further confusion.

The photograph below was taken around 1937, some three years after it became part of the tied estate of Ansell's. If you compare this image with a more recent photograph then you'll see that, apart from the loss of some fittings and a different paint job, little has changed on the exterior. The removal of the large lanterns has detracted from the building's character somewhat. The interior of the pub has been drastically altered though a few fixtures and fittings remain from the Victorian period.

The Fox Inn on the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street [c.1937]

You'll also notice on the 2002 photograph that the pub is called the Old Fox and that a logo on the fascia states that the pub was established in 1891. This is a curious thing to display on the pub's frontage because, firstly, construction on the Fox you see here was not started until the following year and, secondly, the original Fox Inn dated back to at least 1808, and possibly the latter years of the 18th century. Perhaps they mean the relationship that the pub has enjoyed with the Hippodrome Theatre - but even this date is incorrect.

The Fox Inn on the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street [2002]

The term 'Old Fox' is not new to the pub - the original building was trading under such a name in 1828 when James Lawley was the publican. However, this seems to have been shortened to The Fox in later years, with the appendage of inn and hotel to reflect the pub's status.

Indeed, the pub is marked as the Old Fox on a plan dated 1808 [below] which shows that the building faced onto a small square. Notice the Ladywell Pleasure Bath a few yards to the east of the Old Fox. A cold water spring arose here and the water's clear, soft qualities led to the pool being named in honour of the Virgin Lady Well. The Parsonage for St. Martin's is clearly marked on the map as, indeed, are the moats that surrounded it.

Plan showing the Fox Inn and Ladywell Pleasure Bath in Birmingham [1808]

The Fox was ideally positioned to offer complementary refreshments for those visiting the nearby Ladywell Baths. In 1831 the baths were extensively refurbished and improved by the owner Mr. Monro who advised the public that a new powerful steam boiler had been installed that could "accommodate patrons with just five minutes' notice with Baths in either Wood or Marble, of the artificial Waters of Cheltenham, Harrogate, Leamington. Salt Water, Shower Bath etc." The business seemed to promote the healing properties of the baths as opposed to the uplifting or enriching experience for the consumer.

James Lawley was the publican of the Fox Tavern, as it was then known, by 1824. He is recorded as the licensee in an article that reported the death of his son George, aged 17, who passed away after a lingering illness. Later in the same year James Lawley re-married at Aston on November 23rd to Miss Payton of Bromsgrove Street. The publican suffered another tragedy in January 1829 when, Phoebe, his eldest daughter, died aged 25.

William Brookes took over the Fox Tavern in 1828. In February of the following year he was married at St. Martin's Church to Ann Hughes. She was the daughter of James Hughes of Carrs Lane.

The Fox Inn passed to other members of the Hughes clan in 1839 when Erdington-born Richard Greensall took over the licence. Two years earlier, on May 24th, 1837, he had married Mary Hughes at Solihull. The couple kept the Fox Tavern for a few years before moving out to Great Barr to run the Bull's Head, a business in which the couple combined the public house with a farm.

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The members of the Tantivy Court of Foresters' used to meet at the Fox Tavern and publican Joseph Brookes was once a Chief Ranger. In 1849 when he departed as publican he was presented with a "handsome silver snuff box, in testimony of his services, and as a memorial of their friendship and esteem."

A controversial figure from Worcester took over at the Fox Tavern in the late 1849, by which time the pub was being listed as the Old Fox. Emanuel Maiden had moved to Birmingham with his family to rebuild his life. He had faced deportation, or transportation as it was known, when he was found guilty of manslaughter whilst publican of the Shakespeare Hotel in Worcester's Angel Street. After moving to Birmingham he became involved in local politics. In April 1849, and as publican of the Old Fox, he was elected a member of the Guardians of the Poor. He was also elected to the committee of the Birmingham Licensed Victuallers Asylum.

Advertisement for the Fox Inn by Emanuel Maiden [1849]

There was quite a house-warming when Emanuel Maiden became the tenant of the Fox Inn. His signing of the lease was "celebrated by a very convivial party and the dinner was as good as could be supplied, and the wines and dessert excellent. J. B. Payn, Esq., presided, and Mr. John Roderick filled the vice-chair; there were also present Messrs. T. Harding, H. Hawkes, T. Powell, Campbell, and upwards of fifty guests. The hilarity of the evening was much enhanced by a selection of glees sung by Messrs. Smith, Betts, Fellows, and Mackain, and Mr. Herbert Hudson."

Emanuel Maiden kept the Old Fox with his wife Kezia. The couple employed the aptly-named Thomas Drinkwater to produce the homebrewed ales sold in the pub. Ill fate struck, however, shortly after the Maiden's had settled in properly. Kezia died in October 1851. Emanuel himself fell ill and this forced him to sell his interest in the Fox Inn.

Sale Notice for the Fox Inn at Hurst Street [1852]

The above advertisement appeared in the local press during June 1852. It details the business and turnover that the pub enjoyed in the past.

Fox Inn Purchase Notice by Samuel Bartholomew [1852]

Samuel Bartholomew acquired the 11-year lease on the Fox Inn and proposed to run the house and continue in his business as a painter, plumber and glazier. His premises were located in Allison Street. Here he had a yard and employed men to undertake the work on site around the town.

Just over a month of the sale, at the age of 46, Emanuel Maiden died on August 20th, 1852.

Fox Inn Supper Club Advertisement [1858]

In 1870 the pub was trading as the Fox Inn and Freemasons' Tavern. In December of that year Police Constable Bird entered the building and arrested one of the customers, James Swigg, who was wearing a new-looking coat and waistcoat. He was a suspect in the case of a burglary at the house of Paulina Newman, a second-hand clothes dealer in Lower Hurst Street. Thieves had broken the cellar window chain, entered the shop and stole goods valued at £7. A resident of Barford Street, Swigg clearly had little gumption - he left his old clothes in the shop during the raid. When arrested in the Fox Inn, he said that "he supposed he should have to suffer for it". He was charged and committed to the Assizes.

John Binns was the licensee at this time. He kept the Fox Inn and Freemasons' Tavern with his wife Jane. The couple had previously run a shop at the top end of Hurst Street, where John Binns worked as a carver, gilder and picture-frame maker. The couple's shop was the scene of an arson attack in 1864 when William Shipley, a former employee set fire to the premises. He considered that he had been wrongfully dismissed and determined to take revenge on the proprietor. Fortunately, the fire brigade attended the scene quickly and the fire was subdued before too much damage was done.

John Binns continued to operate the shop whilst holding the licence for the King's Arms in Great Barr Street. John and Jane Binns lived on the premises when they were custodians of the Fox Inn. They lived above the pub with three children, John , Sarah and George. Other older children had made their own way by this time. The couple employed Jane Harris as a domestic servant. The Fox was still a homebrew house at this point for John Binns employed George Stone as a brewer.

John Binns was a carver and gilder of some note. In 1869 he worked on the gilding of the Crystal Palace Concert Hall. He was also the licensee of a number of Birmingham's public houses. After running the Fox Inn, he was the landlord of the Plough and Harrow at Highgate in the early 1870's. He later moved to the Woodman Inn on Little Ann Street where he succeeded James Howe in 1875. He had also tried to acquire the Queen's Arms in Bradford Street.

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Ann Jones took over as the gaffer behind the counter of the Fox Inn. Born in 1803, she also worked as a butcher. The lease of the building however was owned by Thomas Guest. A rate book for 1871 details a licensed public house, brewhouse, stabling and premises. Ann Jones paid an annual rent of £56.0s.0d. and her rates totalled £3.15s.10d. She was helped at the Fox Inn by her daughters Harriet and Ellen.

Not long after James Greaves took over the reins of the Fox Inn, he applied for permission to convert a smoke room and parlour into a shop, and construct a door into the street. The publican later moved to the King's Head on Bell Barn Road.

Albert Edmund Claybrook was host of the Fox Inn during the mid-1880's. He had previously kept the Crown Inn on Unett Street and the Cross Keys in Windsor Street. He was what was termed a licensed victuallers' manager so moved around quite a bit, working on behalf of those who held the licence. He had married Sarah Jane Harnett at St. Luke's Church in February 1882 but his relations with his wife became strained. He later told the court, when applying for a divorce, that "they did not get on well together and there were quarrels." He added that she "used to absent herself from home and would give no explanation" and that she "used to get drunk." She became intimately involved with Frederick Snow and they used to meet in the Anchor Inn at Caroline Street. The couple were divorced in 1891.

Building Plan of the Fox Inn for George Smith [1892]

In the late 1880's the Fox Inn was acquired by George Smith and Henry Charles Fulford. The latter was the owner of the brewery that would evolve into the Holt Brewery Company. The rapid growth of Holt's was no doubt due to the fact that Henry Fulford was a large shareholder and a member of the Town Council for Nechells and Chairman of the Markets and Fairs Committee. However, the building plans for the new Fox Inn were drawn up for George Smith - did he receive a loan from the brewery? The plans, which were approved in March 1892, show a vaults for perpendicular drinking, a smoke room for the middle classes, a private room - perhaps for the publican to entertain special guests, and a lock-up shop. There was a club room on the first floor of the building.

Detail of the Fox Inn at Hurst Street [c.1937]

A rate book for 1896 shows that ownership of the building had been transferred to the Holt Brewery Company, though I suspect that this would have been the normal 99 year lease from the Gooch Estate. The improvements came at a price. Before the rebuild the annual rental was £66.0s.0d., the annual rates £5.13s.0d. Following reconstruction these sums had increased to £150.0s.0d. and £14.6s.11d. An early manager for Holt's was Joseph Reeves. However, this ushered in the era of the revolving door manager - many came and went in succeeding years.

Interior of The Old Fox at Hurst Street [2005]

Albert Spiers stayed for a few years during the mid-Edwardian period. He was a well-known figure in bicycle racing. His speciality was the one-mile scratch race which he won on a number of occasions at Aston.

In the late Edwardian period Arthur Murcott was in charge of the Fox Inn. He was another public house manager that moved around the circuit. In 1911 he was the manager of the Plough and Harrow on Moseley Road, a pub that his father had kept during the late Victorian era.

Stained Glass at The Old Fox [2005]

David Purcocks was the manager in the 1920's. The son of an Aston chimney sweep, he was once a gymnast and was better known as Jack Pardoe of the Marvellous Pardoes. Touring the country, they were billed as the "Original and Only Human Bundle, Sensational Gymnasts and Contortionists." The licence passed to his wife Violet. She later took over the Bath Tavern in Gooch Street. It was whilst she was managing that house that her husband died in Dudley Road Hospital after suffering bronchial pneumonia.

The Fox Inn on the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street [2009]

A full list of licensees from the Second World War up until 1986 is listed in the second column. If anybody can remember them or, indeed, any publicans of more recent times then please contact me with details and/or information and I will post here. By this time the Old Fox was being operated by Ansell's as they had acquired Holt's in 1934.

I believe that the Old Fox was being operated by Chandler's Brewery Limited in 2014. This business is registered at Aston Lane in Witton. I assume that they were responsible for the pub stocking a wider range of real ales, resulting in the Old Fox being included in the Good Beer Guide in 2014-5. I know I have found it handy for nipping over the road during the interval when going to the Hippodrome.
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Related Newspaper Articles
"Last evening, Dr. Birt Davies, the Borough Coroner, held an inquest at the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, to enquire into the circumstances attending the death of Mary Jane Carregan, twenty-five years of age, alleged to have died from the effects of injuries inflicted by a young man named Thomas Langley, twenty-five years of age, a shoe riveter, living in Inge Street, with whom she cohabited, under circumstances fully reported in the Daily Post yesterday. Mr. Michael Maher appeared to watch the case on behalf of the prisoner, who was present at the enquiry, in the custody of Police Constable Graham. The Jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was adduced : Catherine Langley deposed: I knew the deceased, who came to my husband's house about six weeks ago, with my son, Thomas Langley. They stopped there a short time, and then went away together. My son did not say whether she was his wife or housekeeper. On the day previous to Good Friday, the 29th, I saw the deceased again, and she and my son slept at my house that night, going away the next day. A fortnight ago they came to my house, again, and remained there, occupying separate apartments. I don't know whether the deceased was married or single. On Thursday night last, my son came to me at the stage door of Day's Concert Hall and asked for the key of the house. He was then intoxicated. That evening I had left the deceased in the house, about twenty minutes to six o'clock. Soon after that about ten o'clock the deceased came to me, and enquired if "Tom" had been for the key. She then appeared quite sober. I told her that he had just previously been there, intoxicated. Upon that she ran away. When I returned home, about twelve o'clock I observed that the deceased was lying on the sofa, apparently asleep. Her eye was swollen. I called "Jane." and my son, who was sitting by the side of her, on a chair, said, "Let her alone, she is asleep." He was then still drunk, The Coroner : He could not have been stupid drunk, then, if he answered you properly? Witness : He seemed stupid. I then asked him how she had got the black eye. He said, "She struck me in the entry, and we both fell down together." In ten or twelve minutes afterwards I went to bed, and did not hear anything more of them that night. Next morning I came down about eight o'clock. The deceased was then upon the sofa, making a sort of low moan, but still appeared asleep. I called to her, and as she did not answer. I sent for a doctor, Mr. Barrett, who came and saw her about nine o'clock. He did not then express any opinion concerning her condition, but ordered leeches to be applied to her ears, and sent her some medicine, which was given to her regularly, as directed. She never afterwards regained consciousness, and expired about a quarter to four on Tuesday morning last, at my house. By a Juror : Did your son say whether she was removed from the sofa during the night? He said she was very restless. By the Coroner : I, deceased, and my son were the only persons in the house that night. When I came down in the morning my son was still sitting by the side of deceased, awake. I said to my son "She appears very ill, we had better have a doctor." He replied, "Yes, by all means." My son, George Langley, went for Mr. Barrett. By Mr. Maher : The deceased complained of pains in her ears and throat, and attended as an out-patient at an Infirmary at the North Staffordshire Hospital, Wolverhampton. She said she had an ulcerated throat for a month. When the deceased came to the Concert Hall she looked rather stupid, but I cannot say whether it was from pain or drink. Emma Jukes, who lives at No. 31, Inge Street, and is by trade a French polisher, said: On Thursday night last, at, twenty minutes to eleven, l was in my own house, and heard a scream in the entry adjoining. On going out, with a lighted candle in my hand, I saw Thomas Langley and Mary Jane Carregan [who was known in the neighbourhood as Mrs. Langley] on the ground together, face to face, the man's arms being round the woman's neck. His fingers were interlaced at the back, and the woman's lips were very black. In no other respects did I notice anything peculiar about her face. On my coining up, Langley loosed the woman, they both rose from the ground, and he asked her for the key of the house, to which she replied that she had net got it. I saw it in her hand, and told him so. They then left the entry, and after some further altercation about the key he struck her [I believe in the face], and she fell to the ground which is paved with bricks. He then kicked her violently about the ribs as she was sitting on the ground, causing her to scream so loudly that her voice could be heard in any part of the street. He only kicked her once. Deceased then laid down the key; Langley took it up, unlocked the door, and went into the house, asking her to follow him. She made no reply, upon which he seized her by the hair of her head, and dragged her into the house, after doing which he shut the door. My sister Jane came up, I gave her the candle, and looked through the keyhole, when I heard him say, "This is the result I have got for going to work today;" after which he went towards her as she lay on the floor, I heard the sound of a blow, and she ceased screaming instantly. At this point George Langley came up, and I asked him to burst the door, for I believed his brother had murdered the woman. He did so, and went inside, shutting the door after him alter which I saw nothing more. George Langley came out in ten minutes, and I went away, Thomas Langley and the deceased were both "in liquor," but neither of them so drunk that they could not walk alone without assistance. By Mr. Maher : The whole proceedings did not occupy more than a quarter of an hour at the most. There were a great many people in the yard at the time of the quarrel. Mary Osborne, wife of Joseph Osborne, who lives at No. 34, Inge Street, and is a confectioner, gave evidence confirmatory of that of the last witness with regard to the screams, the quarrel, the blows, and the kicks, with the difference that she fixed the number of kicks at three, said they were upon the head, and that they were given when the deceased was lying on the ground. The last witness said they were given when the deceased was in a sitting posture; but Mrs. Osborne was quite positive that she was lying down at the time. The witness was quite positive that the deceased was in a lying and not a sitting posture when she was kicked, and that no one with a lighted candle was near at the time when the kicking and striking was going on. There was no one near when the blows and kicks were given, of this she was quite sure. The woman Jukes having to be recalled in order to supply an omission in her evidence whilst Mrs. Osborne was under examination, the Coroner pointed out to her the contradictions in her testimony which had become apparent. She adhered strongly to her former evidence, and said, somewhat warmly, that Mrs. Osborne's evidence, in so far as it differed from her own, was false. The two witnesses deliberately repeated those parts of their evidence which were contradictory. Jane Jukes [who had been fetched from her home by command of the Coroner], was then called, and said she thought her sister did not give her the candle to carry back into the house, but that she gave it to their mother. She could not swear this positively, but she believed it to be the truth. Mrs. Osborne still stoutly maintained the truth of her statement that no person was present with a lighted candle, as Emma Jukes said she was. John Holyoake, a shoe riveter, who lodges in the house of the man Thomas Holyoake, said that on the night of the quarrel he returned to his home at half-past eleven, and found Langley and the deceased sitting in the house. Langley asked the woman to go to bed, to which she assented. Witness led the way, holding the candle. Next came the woman, with Thomas Langley supporting her. When they had ascended some four or five stairs the man and woman reeled and fell backwards down stairs, Witness returned, and, with the assistance of Thomas Langley, picked up the deceased, who said "Oh, dear!" They placed her the sofa, and witness took a candle, and went to bed, not thinking she was hurt. When witness went into the house the deceased appeared as usual, but intoxicated, as was Langley also. By a Juror : He believed that Langley and deceased lived together as man and wife. They did not occupy the same sleeping room. By Mr. Maher : The stairs had a bend, from which point Langley and the deceased fell. By Jurors : Next morning she had black eyes. She looked very ill. No one attended her up to the time of her death, except Thomas Langley, and a surgeon, who lives in Exeter Row. Didn't know that Thomas Langley, who fell undermost, received any injury from his fall. Had known Langley and the deceased two or three years, and had never known them to quarrel. It was a quarried floor upon which they fell. Mr. Barrett, surgeon, of Exeter Row, said he was called to see the deceased on Friday morning, at ten o'clock. and found her lying on a sofa, in a room on the ground floor, insensible. He found a great number of bruises about the head, face, neck, back, arms, breasts, legs, and body. He ordered the treatment which seemed to him best. He saw her again that day, but she never became sensible, though she made an unsuccessful effort to speak. She never rallied, but became gradually worse, and died on Tuesday morning. He had since made a careful post mortem examination of the body, under the Coroner's precept, in company with Mr. George Yates, surgeon, of Bath Row. On removing the scalp a layer of coagulated blood was found above the occipital, and two parletal bones of the skull, just under the crown of the head. Between the dura mater and the brain again a quantity of coagulated brain was found lying on both sides of the cerebellum. On cutting into the anterior lobes of the brain, a clot of blood was found in their substance. The brain generally was very much ecehymosed. The remaining organs of the body were tolerably healthy. There was no bone fracture at any point. The death of deceased was, in his opinion, caused by extravasation of blood within and on the brain, caused by violence. By violence he meant such as a blow or fall, more probably the latter. His reason for thinking this was that the extravasation was very extensive, and that there was no breach of surface as would be more likely to result from a fall. He scarcely thought it was from a kick, though that was possible. The Coroner then summed up [this being the whole of the evidence], saying that if the Jury believed the evidence of the first, second, and third witnesses, most atrocious and abominable violence seemed to have been practised upon the deceased by Thomas Langley; and it would be his duty to tell them that if they thought this violence inflicted by that man caused death, it would be their duty to return a presentment of manslaughter against him. But, telling them this, he could not also fail to tell them that Mr. Barrett's evidence left the question in a state of very much more openness than would be desirable towards procuring a conviction upon the charge by a Jury. Mr. Barrett thought the fall the most likely to have caused death. The validity of the reasons which led him to that conclusion might be a subject for cross-examination, but he did not think there was any necessity for commenting upon them. Having commented upon the evidence generally, and particularly upon the discrepancies between that of the two women, Emma Jukes and Osborne, and upon the fact that the man Holyoake did not appear to have taken much notice of what was certainly a most serious matter, the Coroner left it to the Jury to find whether upon the grounds stated they thought the man had been guilty of manslaughter, or whether they thought death was caused by the fall down stairs, and that that fall was a casualty, in which latter case the verdict would be one of accidental death. The Court was then cleared, and the Jury, after a quarter of an hour's consultation, found a verdict of "Accidental death," by a fall down stairs. Langley will be brought up on a remand at the Public Office, this morning.”
"The Suspected Manslaughter in Inge Street"
Birmingham Daily Post : May 3rd 1866 Page 8.
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Brummagem Boozers

Licensees of this Pub
1824 - 1828 James Lawley
1828 - 1839 William Brookes
1839 - 1844 Richard Greensall
1844 - 1849 Joseph Brookes
1849 - 1852 Emanuel Maiden
1855 - 1857 Samuel Bartholomew
1857 - 1864 John Misters
1864 - 1866 Peter Ambrose Botterill
1866 - 1869 Thomas Guest
1869 - 1872 John Binns
1872 - 1874 Ann Jones
1874 - 1875 John Jones
1875 - 1875 Samuel Ward
1875 - James Greaves Jr.
1883 - 1885 Thomas Guest
1885 - 1886 William Henry Guest
1886 - Albert Edmund Claybrook
1888 - George Smith
1892 - William Perkins
1893 - 1895 Joseph Reeves
1895 - 189? George Newman
1898 - Thomas Hawkins
1899 - William Brown
1900 - Charles Henry Green
1903 - Albert Spiers
1906 - Arthur B. Murcutt
1909 - Frank Ernest Townsend
1910 - Thomas Turner
1911 - Samuel Dodd
1914 - Frederick W. Gardener
1915 - Frank G. MacKenzie
1916 - Alfred Thomas Wells
1917 - Mrs Gertrude Williams
1922 - Jack Harrington
1923 - David John Purcocks
1928 - Mrs. Violet Purcocks
1931 - Thomas Sidney Cooke
1946 - 1953 William Arthur Wild
1953 - 1955 Frank Brown
1955 - 1959 Alfred Edward Bright
1959 - 1967 Maurice William Troman
1967 - 1968 Matthew Jude Talbot
1968 - 1969 Reginald John Hancox
1969 - 1973 Raymond Edward Dipple
1973 - 1974 James Henry Perry
1974 - 1975 Alfred Stead
1975 - 1978 John Andrew
1978 - 1979 Reginald John Hancox
1979 - 1981 Michael John Hill
1981 - 1983 Geoffrey Edgcumbe
1983 - 1984 Janet Owen
1984 - 1986 Patricia Ann Barton
1986 - 1986 David Arthur Horton

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Ansell's Traditional Ale Sold Here

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

Ansell's Mirror [c.1900]

Plan showing the Fox Inn on the corner of Hurst Street and Inge Street [1888]
This extract from a town plan drawn up in 1888 shows the Fox Inn on the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street. Note the ordered development, including, the 'new' Vine Street that replaced the piecemeal layout of this part of Birmingham in the earlier part of the century. There is no Hippodrome as yet as it had not been constructed by this point. The corner plot was once the site of a beer house called the Compass Inn. Notice also the large coach iron manufactory further up Hurst Street. This would be replaced within a few years and divided into smaller shopping and warehousing. The firm of Insole & Grimley, Saddlers' Ironmongers, did however remain on part of the site.

Plan showing the Fox Inn on the corner of Hurst Street and Inge Street [1895]
This map extract is from an Insurance Plan of Birmingham produced in 1895 by Charles E. Goad Limited and made available by the British Library. Notice that the site across from the Fox Inn is the City Assembly Rooms which was managed by William Bird. Next door was the pram factory of James Lloyd & Co. On the same side of the street as the Fox Inn, on the opposite side of Inge Street, was a small shop occupied by the watchmaker John Sleath. Next door to him was the fruiterer Frances Parsons.

Inn Sign
Inn Sign of The Fox at Oadby [2004]

I do not know of a traditional painted sign at this particular Fox Inn so I have used another for illustrative purposes. The name was applied to the pub when the original building was on the edge of the town, where the urban development gave way to a locale devoted to market gardening. The Fox would no doubt have been a frequent visitor to such an environment.  In general however, the sign of The Fox has been used since the late fifteenth century. Many signs of The Fox used to carry the verse: 'I am a crafty fox you see, but there is no harm in me, my master he has placed me here, to let you know he sells good beer.'

Links to other Websites
Aston Brook through Aston Manor
Birmingham City Council
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Carl Chinn Archive
Handsworth History
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Perry Barr and Beyond
Winson Green to Brookfields

Napoleon Bonaparte
"I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

Ansell's Pioneer Bitter

Ansell's Newcrest Stout

Work in Progress

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Drinkers by Adriaen Brouwer

Ansell's Triple Gold Light Ale

Be an Ansell's Bitterman

Ansell's Bitter - That's Better

Ansell's Good Old Mild

Ansell's Bruno Sweet Brown Ale [c.1950's]

Ansell's Spotlight Bitter

Newspaper Articles
"Thomas Thornton [37], shoemaker, 5, Bishop Street South, and Frederick Gibson, shoemaker, back of 18, Hurst Street, were charged with being in company with another and violently assaulting and robbing Charles Hinds of 18s. 6d., in the Fox Inn, Inge Street. Mr. Francis appeared for the prisoners. On June 3rd the prosecutor was sitting in the kitchen at the Fox Inn. The prisoner Thornton sat on his right, and a man not In custody on his left; Gibson stood near the fire. After the prisoners had talked together in the passage a row took place, and the man not in custody gave him a blow which broke his jaw. He tried to get up, and then found Thornton's hand In his pocket. He laid hold of the prisoner's hand, and then Thornton struck him, and he became insensible. When he came to himself he found his jacket turned out and all his money gone. In reply to Mr. Francis, prosecutor said he was not so drunk that he did not know a sovereign from a sixpence, but he had had drink, When Detective Mountford went to look for the prisoners Gibson ran away. Witnesses were called for the defence, who said that the prosecutor was very drunk, that Thornton was asleep all the time, and that Gibson was not in the kitchen at the time. The prisoners were remanded until tomorrow, in order that the prosecutor might bring evidence to prove that he was sober at the time of the robbery."
"Breaking a Man's Jaw"
Birmingham Daily Post : June 12th 1872 Page 7.

Ansell's - The Better Beer


You can click on the video above to listen to a chat in May 2005 with life-long Brummie drinker Ron Welch in the Old Fox. Born in Ladywood and working as an electrician in and around the city centre, Ron frequented almost every boozer in Brum - most of which have since been demolished. In this brief interview Ron talks about drinking in the Fox before and after a show across the road in the Hippodrome. After a few more pints Ron told me much more and revealed that his favourite pint over the years was brewed by Dares at Highgate.

Ansell's Bitter - That's Better

Newspaper Articles
"Thomas Thornton [37], shoemaker, 5, Bishop Street South, and Frederick Gibson [38], shoemaker, back of 18, Hurst Street, were charged on remand with being in company with another, and violently assaulting and robbing Charles Hinds of l8s.6d., in the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, on June 3rd. The particulars of the case were published in the Post yesterday [see above]. A witness was called to prove that the prosecutor was sober when he was assaulted and robbed. Mr. Francis, who appeared for the prisoners, called a witness who contradicted the evidence given in every particular. Prisoners were committed to the Assizes, ball of two sureties of £20. each being allowed for Gibson."
"Charge of Breaking a Man's Jaw"
Birmingham Daily Post : June 13th 1872 Page.7.

Ansell's Pioneer Pale Ale [c.1940's]

"Thomas Thornton [37], shoemaker, and Frederick Gibson [38], same trade, were charged with having assaulted Charles Hinds, Birmingham, on the third of June, and robbed him of l8s.6d. Mr. Bennett prosecuted, and Mr. Buszard defended. Prosecutor was at the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, on the day mentioned, drinking with several others, when a "free fight" sprung up, in the course of which prosecutor was severely beaten and robbed. There was no evidence to connect Gibson with the affair, and by his Lordship's direction he was discharged. Thornton was found guilty, and after a black roll previous convictions had been read over, he was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude, and afterwards ten years' police surveillance."
"Robbery With Violence at Birmingham"
Coventry Herald : July 12th 1872 Page.3.

Ansell's Aston Ales

"Nearly four hundred men were out on strike yesterday, and by this evening it is expected that practically all the riveters and finishers will have left work. A deputation from the men's society waited upon some of the non-association masters, and Mr. Tarbuck, of Snow Hill, and Mr. Faybury, of Ledsam Street, agreed to pay according to the men's statement. It is said that the works of Messrs. Davis, Stiff, and Co. and Mr. Isaac Jonas are now stopped. The workmen's committee met last evening, at the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, to consider the masters' proposal that the conference should be reopened and all disputed points referred to arbitration. The committee sat for a long while, and then adjourned the consideration of the question until this evening. Mr. Inskip, the general secretary of the union, is expected in the city on Saturday."
"The Strike in the Boot and Shoe Trade"
Birmingham Daily Post : October 31st 1890 Page 6.

Ansell's Tomic Stout [c.1950's]

"John Egan [28], bailiff, Windmill Street, was charged with stealing two barometers, from 99, Smallbrook Street Mr. Rowlands prosecuted, on behalf of Charles Willet, licensed victualler, Camp Hill, assignee of the estate of John James Kaeser, bankrupt. The prisoner was employed, under bailiff in possession, the premises of Mr. Kaeser, Smallbrook Street, and on the 3rd December the goods, amongst which there were many barometers, were removed, and the prisoner assisted in that work. Later on the same day the prisoner took two barometers to the house of Mr. Binns, the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, and asked to leave them there. He was afterwards arrested on the charge of stealing the barometers, which belonged to the bankrupt's stock, and then said that Mr. Willets had given him authority to leave them "somewhere," but prosecutor declared this statement to be untrue. The prisoner was committed for trial, and admitted to bail."
"Robbery by a Bailiff"
Birmingham Journal  : February 19th 1868 Page 2.

Ansell's Nut Brown Ale

"Francis Pegrino [19], an African, was charged with stealing three waistcoats and a pair of trousers, the properly of John Binns, landlord of the Fox inn, Hurst Street, in whose service he was employed as a waiter. Mr. Keanleyside prosecuted, The prisoner was caught In the act of stealing the goods from a chest of drawers in a bedroom; and as he had placed his boots near to the entrance-door of the house, not the ordinary place for them, it was presumed that his intention was to abscond with the property in the night. Tire Jury found the prisoner not guilty. As he left the dock he exclaimed, "Thank you. You'll never see me here again, I'll bet." [laughter]
"A Negro Thief"
Birmingham Daily Post : April 16th 1869 Page 4.

Be an Ansell's Bitterman

"Edward Richards [22], bedstead maker, Mark Lane, was charged with stabbing Samuel Malin. It appeared that on Saturday night prosecutor was standing at the top of the entry in which he lived, when prisoner, with others, were taking part in a row. The crowd came towards where prosecutor was, and the prisoner, without any provocation, struck him on the mouth and ran away. Prosecutor followed, and caught him near the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, where prisoner threw himself on the ground, and prosecutor then received a stab on the thigh. The wound which was a very extensive and severe one, was dressed at the Queen's Hospital, and prosecutor has since been compelled to walk by the aid of crutches. It was stated that prisoner was seen with a knife in his hand when he first assaulted prosecutor. Prisoner was arrested on Sunday by Police Constable Goodman. Mr. Gilbert Smith, house surgeon of the Queen's Hospital, proved that prosecutor was suffering from an incised wound an inch and a half long. The prisoner was committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions."
"The Knife Again"
Birmingham Daily Post : Feb 14th 1874 Page 6.

"The clerks and workpeople in the employ of Mr. James Kimberley, factor and stove manufacturer, of Inge Street, in this town, were entertained on Saturday se'nnight at a most substantial dinner, provided at the Fox Inn, Hurst Street, to mark the successful close of the late stove season. Mr. Alfred Kimberley presided, and in the course of the evening a chaste and elegant silver cup was presented by the stove workpeople to Mr. James Kimberley, by their superintendent, Mr. H. Ellis. The cup which was supplied Mr. Keeley, of New Street, bears the following inscription, engraved within a well-chased shield : "Presented to James Kimberley, Esq., by his workmen, as token of their deep respect and esteem. January 14th, 1854." The festivites were continued on Monday by the workmen and their wives friends, etc. The dinner did great credit to Mr. and Mrs. Bartholomew, by whom it was served."
"Dinner at The Fox"
Aris's Gazette : January 23rd 1854 Page 3.

“At the Birmingham Police Court this morning Frank Lester [25], Brighton Terrace, Norman Street, Winson Green, was charged with assaulting Frederick William Gardner, landlord of the Fox Inn public house, Hurst Street. He was also summoned for assaulting Joseph Plant, friend of the landlord. The defendant, it was mentioned, went to the public house last night and immediately smashed a glass on the table. The prosecutor and Plant then tried to put him out, and he threw another glass at the landlord, but it missed him. The contents, however, went into Gardner’s face. He also kicked Plant on the leg. Lester, who was described by the magistrate as not fit to be at large, was fined 20s. and costs."
"Not Fit To Be At Large"
Birmingham Daily Mail : May 2nd 1914 Page 4

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