The Albion Inn during the Edwardian Period
The Albion Inn with Wem Livery [c.1990]
Frontage of the Albion Inn 
Bar of the Albion Inn 
Garden of the Albion Inn 
Patio of the Albion Inn 
Duck Pen at the Albion Inn 
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Albion Terrace close to the Albion Inn
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The Albion Inn is tucked away in a thoroughfare that is lined with Victorian and
Edwardian houses. The building dates from the mid-19th century when the
thoroughfare was laid out for housing.
When housing around the Albion Inn was constructed in the mid-19th century, the development attracted migrants from the surrounding area and it was one such family that arrived in the late 1840's. Trysull-born tailor John Munday moved into the property with his family. He was recorded as John Mundy in a trade directory published in 1850. Nearby Albion Terrace [see top-right gallery photograph above] is dated 1845, suggesting that the pub itself originates from the late 1840's. However, the earliest record traced to the property is for John Munday in 1850.
This advertisement for the sale of household furniture was placed in the Brierley Hill Advertiser in March 1856. Note the sale of hogshead barrels, perhaps a connection to the Albion Inn or the Board Inn.
John Munday applied for, and was granted, an alehouse licence in 1858. The success of the neighbouring beer house trading as the Board, later the Drillman's Arms, may have inspired John Munday and his wife Elizabeth [nee Wall] to open their doors to the public. The locale comprised of colliers, scythesmiths and nailers, all of whom worked up a good thirst at work. Living in such a tight-knit community, they would have mainly patronised both the Albion Inn and The Board. The latter closed in 1908 but The Albion Inn survived into the 21st century and served as an important reminder of the halcyon years of Wall Heath's industrial age.
John Munday continued in the cloth business; trade directories record him as both a tailor and licensed victualler. He and his Kingswinford-born wife had three children. The couple also employed Stephen Law, a 19 year-old apprentice. Son Charles also trained as a tailor. Probably learning her skills from her parents, daughter Francis also worked as a dressmaker.
John Munday died in 1878 and the licence of the Albion Inn passed to his wife Elizabeth. She later moved to the Cottage Spring, a beer house in Hill Top, Wednesbury. She re-married in 1881 to Thomas Timmins; the couple would later operate a number of public houses in the Black Country. Son Charles also entered the licensed trade when he move to Trysull to take over the Plough Inn.
Enoch and Eliza Bennett were running the Albion Inn during the mid-late 1880's. The son of a clockmaker, Enoch hailed from Gornal. He had worked in the iron trade before entering the licensed trade. He and his wife would later run the Vine Inn at Wombourne.
Also originating from Gornal, Eli and Mary Bird took over the Albion Inn towards the end of the Victorian period. A former bricklayer, Eli was a successful entrepreneur and eventually acquired the freehold of the property. In trade directories he was also recorded as a builder. The first photograph above was taken in the Edwardian period when Eli was the licensee, a position he held until 1919. He sold the Albion Inn to the Kinsey family who kept the tavern until the Second World War.
It was in April 1953 that the Albion Inn was purchased by the Simpkiss Brewery at Brettell Lane, Silver End. So, for many years, the lucky residents of the locality enjoyed the legendary Simpkiss Bitter. Sadly however, the brewery was controversially sold to Greenall Whitley in 1985 and they promptly closed brewing operations at Silver End. Greenall Whitley had also bought the Shropshire and Wem Breweries Co. Ltd. and their beers were sold in the Albion Inn for a number of years. The earlier photograph of the pub's inn sign features Wem Ales on the signboard. The Albion Inn later formed part of the Enterprise Inns estate.
The pub's millennium celebrations were hosted by Martin and Sharon McGrath, a couple who moved into the Albion Inn during 1999. They put a lot of work into the pub and made it a really popular local. They created a mini-farm in the back garden and set up a hi-tech games room in a shed so that children could occupy themselves whilst their parents enjoyed a drink.
Martin was born in Hampstead and raised in Kilburn. He met Rowley Regis-born Sharon when they both worked at the Halesowen office of the Automobile Association. Martin was an inspector and Sharon a centre specialist. The couple had two sons, Sam and Ben, living at the pub. Another member of the family to work at the Albion Inn was nephew Terry Barton.
Martin and Sharon were married in a remarkable location. They were visiting a cousin in Green Bay, Wisconsin for his daughter's wedding and decided to tie the knot themselves at one of the most famous picture postcard locations on the shore of Lake Michigan at Eagle Harbour near to Ephraim, Door County. They took over The Albion Inn on September 29th 1999. Indeed, they had looked at a few other places such as the Elm Tree in Kinver, The Old Bush in Hinksford, and the Dodford Inn near Bromsgrove. However, they spotted a good measure of potential in The Albion Inn so moved to Wall Heath.
Martin and Sharon remembered the first night they opened the pub - they had just seven customers. However, with a lot of hard work, they built up trade at the Albion Inn. They retained much of the pub's traditional character whilst stamping their own identity on the place. With parents from County Clare and Wexford, Martin spruced the lounge up with quite a Celtic collection of prints, photographs, poetry and maps. The room was subsequently named McGra's Bar.
When I cycled down Albion Street in 2012 I was saddened to see the place closed
and boarded up. The large plot occupied by the pub, outbuildings, garden and car
park would no doubt make the site attractive to a developer.
"Firstly may I thank and congratulate you for your website. I am really pleased
I found it as it has not only opened new doors for my family tree research, but
it has added heaps of colour to what I had was quite a dull image of my Black
Country ancestors. The people you have shone light on are my direct descendants,
John and Elizabeth Munday who ran The Plough in Trysull and then the Albion Inn.
As we know, John died and Elizabeth remarried Tom Timmins after her daughter
Mary Ellen [my great-grandmother] married in 1881. You mentioned they went on to
run many Black Country pubs. Do you have the details of which pubs and when?"
"Thank-you for your kind comments. I did see a reference to Elizabeth Munday owning the Bridge Inn at Dawley Brook and the Three Crowns at Hill Top near West Bromwich. However, I would need to do further research to confirm this." Kieron