History of the Red Lion at Brierley Hill in the county of Staffordshire. 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.



 

Red Lion
Red Lion

Some History of this Pub
The 2007 photograph of this pub's inn sign reveals that the Red Lion was operated by the Yardglass Pub Company. It is a pub that has done the rounds in terms of ownership and a number of notable breweries have, at one time, had an interest in this High Street property.

Building plans show that the Red Lion was re-modelled in 1925. These were drawn by A. T. Butler, the Dudley-based architect responsible for a large number of Black Country pub rebuilds during the inter-war years. He was commissioned by Frank Myatt Limited, a company who had acquired the Red Lion shortly before the First World War.

Combining an attractive mix of stone and red brick, the symmetrical frontage of the Red Lion is typical of Butler's work and a fine component of Brierley Hill's High Street. The plans that I have seen of the pub do however seem to concentrate on changes to the rear of the building. But the frontage really does seem to have his signature on it.

The Red Lion had earlier been owned by Samuel Allsopp and Sons Ltd. The Burton-based brewery had acquired the property from the Manchester Brewery Company. It is perhaps surprising that a Lancashire firm should be operating a pub in Brierley Hill but then again the Britannia Brewery went through a phase of buying properties that were rather impractical in terms of logistics. Indeed, this was one of the reasons that the company failed and was subsequently sold.

The licensing register for Brierley Hill shows James Henry Deakin of the Britannia Brewery as the owner in 1889 but earlier documents record his father Henry Deakin of Sandbach as the proprietor. The pub was simply known as The Lion - as can be seen in the extract from a Post Office Trade Directory published in 1872. The licensee, Alfred Bottomley, was almost certainly sent from Manchester to run the pub. He was earlier recorded as a brewery clerk. Both he and his wife Maria hailed from King's Lynn.

Looking back to the mid-19th century the Lion Inn was kept by Dudley-born Thomas Mees in the early 1850's in addition to working as a  master blacksmith. His wife Mary probably held the fort during the day. Their daughter Melissa worked as a shopkeeper. The family later moved to nearby Albion Street from where Thomas operated a successful business making boilers. By the 1860's he had a workforce of eight.

Joseph and Ellen Bridgens, along with their four children, made the short move from another pub on Brettell Lane to run the Lion Inn. Wordsley-born Joseph had previously worked as a glassblower, a trade to which he returned following his time in the licensed trade.

John Cassere was the manager of the Red Lion at the turn of the 20th century. The Wolverhampton-born licensee kept the pub with his wife Emily. The son of an auctioneer, he had previously worked as a locomotive engine fitter.

The Red Lion became an Ansell's house for much of the 20th century. After the First World War Myatt's was acquired by the Holt Brewery Company and they, in turn, were taken over by Ansell's.

In later years [1989] the pub fell under the Allied-operated Holt, Plant and Deakin estate but this was not particularly successful here in Brierley Hill's High Street. As a result, the Red Lion became a Tap and Spile in 1994. However, the pub's name was restored in 1997 and formed part of the Enterprise Inns estate.
© Copyright. Images supplied by Digital Photographic Images.

 

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Licensees of this Pub
1852 - Thomas Mees
1861 - Joseph Bridgens
1862 - John Turley
1864 - Thomas Pritchard
1872 - 1877 Alfred Frederick Bottomley
1877 - 1879 Samuel Tucker
1879 - John Richards
1880 - 1886 Thomas Tansey
1886 - 1887 James Challenor
1887 - 1893 William Henry Pope
1893 - 1894 Francis McIntyre
1894 - 1897 James Richard Punter
1897 - 1898 Richard Baker
1898 - 1904 John Cassere
1904 - 1906 Arthur Catlin
1906 - 1907 Alfred Kite
1907 - 1910 Arthur Catlin
1910 - 1912 Harry Moore
1912 - 1913 Peter Lewis
1913 - 1918 Joseph Patrick Groome
1918 - 1922 Joseph Henry Cole
1922 - 1929 Benjamin Male
1929 - 1930 John Henry Dawes
1930 - 1931 John Mason
1931 - 1933 Sidney Marsden
1933 - 1933 Wilfred Thomas Day
1933 - 1937 Wilfred John Phillips
1937 - 1938 Lawrence Parry Haywood
1938 - William Richardson
1940 - Robert William Scabrook
1976 - Mrs Mary J. Pargeter
1989 - John Chance
1994 - Simon Grant
1996 - Paul Eldred
2006 - Julie-Ann Toogood

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Building Plan
Click here for a 1925 Plan of the Red Lion at Brierley Hill
This layout predates the frontage of the pub you see above. There were three entrances with a slightly off-centre door leading to a small vestibule between the bar and smoke room. Access to the smoke room could also be gained from the long passage to the left of the Red Lion. The passage led to the pub's yard and outbuildings. Note that the smoke room did not have a service counter; it was likely that drinks were brought to the customers on a tray. Access to the rear sitting room was restricted and probably by invitation of the landlord. Click here to view the plan in more detail.

Red Lion

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

Inn Sign
Inn Sign of the Red Lion at Brierley Hill
Click here for more information on the sign of The Red Lion.

Map
Red Lion Map [1901]

Links to other Websites
Brierley Hill Blog

A Double Diamond Works Wonders

Quotation
“The English beer is best in all Europe... it was necessary to drink two or three pots of beer during our parley; for no kind of business is transacted in England without the intervention of pots of beer.”
Jarevin de Rochefort

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Newspaper Articles
School Uniform at the Red Lion in Brierley Hill
Julie-Ann Toogood, Anne Lunn, Angie Lee and Leanne Leawood don school uniforms to help raise money for charity.

A Brierley Hill pub is inviting drinkers to dust off their old school uniforms tonight to raise cash for the hospital unit where a young leukaemia sufferer is being care for. Staff and regulars at the Red Lion in High Street were devastated when more than £2,000 they had raised for the cause was stolen in February. But licensee, Julie-Ann Toogood said they were determined to raise the same again - and more, starting with their 1980's-themed school disco from 7.30pm tonight when people are being urged to turn up in school uniform. A collection bucket will go around and people turning up out of uniform will be fined £1 with all proceeds going to the oncology unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital where three year-old Joseph Felton is currently receiving treatment. Julie-Ann said: "Everyone here knows little Joseph because his dad Bob comes into the pub and sings. We had raised more than £2,000 before the robbery and I was absolutely distraught when I found out it had gone. But we are determined to raise the money back and eventually we hope to get £7,000 or £8,000 together to give to the unit."
"Pub Goes Back to School"
by Wayne Beese in
Express and Star
April 8th 2006
© Copyright. Image supplied by Express and Star

 

"A landlady started selling drugs from her Black Country pub to boost her income when trade at the venue plummeted, a court heard.

Mother-of-three Joanne Field, aged 42, was caught with 22 small wraps of cannabis at the Red Lion in Brierley Hill High Street. She admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply. Wolverhampton Crown Court heard she had paid £400 for a supply of cannabis.

Miss Heidi Kubik, defending, said Field and her husband Joe, had tried to boost trade at the pub. But she said last Christmas he was made redundant from his job in Civil Engineering and started "drinking the profits." Miss Kubik said it was suggested to Field that she could make money selling cannabis and she made a "foolish decision" under "enormous pressure." She added: "She found herself in a financial crisis and she succumbed to fool's gold - it was an easy option that has resulted in nothing but trouble."

Judge Martin Walsh said that the level of her drug dealing was "relatively modest." But he told her: "You have avoided going to prison by the skin of your teeth." He added: "It is highly unlikely you will be able to obtain a licence for the sale of alcohol in the future." Her husband now runs the pub after Field was stripped of her licence, the court heard.

Field, of Lancaster Road, in Brierley Hill, admitted possessing the drug with intent to supply and she was given a 12-month jail term which was suspended for two years. She was further ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and told to pay £260.

Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting, told the court that police officers raided the pub and in a small kitchen behind the bar they found a carrier bag containing 22 small wraps of cannabis and £380 in cash. When questioned Field told officers the drugs belonged to her and that she had started with 60 or 70 deals - selling each wrap for £10. She said she started selling the drugs because of "financial difficulties and she needed to supplement her income" when trade fell off at the pub."
"Struggling Landlady Sold Drugs From Pub"
by Adam Burling in
Express and Star
August 3rd 2011

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