History of the Museum Inn at Wednesbury 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.



 

Museum Inn
Museum Inn

Some History of this Pub
The photograph below was taken on October 26th 1968 when Anna Reeves was the licensee of the Museum Inn. Sadly, this was not long before the pub was to close for good. Jubilee Stout is featured on the painted wall advertisement and this looked like a nice little cosy pub in which to enjoy a glass of ale.

The Museum Inn was located at No.28 Elwell Street at Mesty Croft, on the corner of  Sampson Street. In the near distance you can see the old tube works that were close to the Museum Inn. The beer house would have been patronised by workers of the South Staffordshire Tube Works, the Hope Patent Tube Works and the Victoria Tube Works as the Museum Inn was central to all three of these factories.

The Museum Inn at Wednesbury [1968]

If we could pan to the left of this photograph, it would be possible to see the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel that stood on the opposite corner of Sampson Street - but only if the photograph was a little earlier as the chapel was pulled down in the Spring of 1968. The lifespan of this place of worship with 160 seats was 106 years.

Just along Sampson Street the pub's small brewery can be seen. Homebrewed ales were sold at the Museum Inn up until the Second World War. Alfred Woodcock was registered as a brewer at this address in 1940; twenty years previously John Dayman was Elwell Street's brewer.

Philip Eades of Museum Inn and the Royal Oak at Rushall

William Lawton was listed as a gas fitter and beer retailer at Mesty Croft in 1861 and this may have been at this house. Certainly, the pub was operating by 1871 when former edge tool maker Philip Eades was recorded as the licensee of the Museum Inn. A local man, he had married Lichfield-born Jane Woolley in 1851 but she died in 1868. The couple had eight children, the eldest of whom, Mary Ann, took over as housekeeper. In 1875 Philip Eades married Mary Smith and, together, the couple kept the Royal Oak at Daw End, Rushall.

The Tonks family took over the Museum Inn around 1872 and would remain in charge of the beer house for at least forty years. Like his predecessor Philip Eades, Amos Tonks hailed from Wood Green. He had previously worked as a blacksmith. He moved to the Museum Inn with his wife Jane who was seemingly known by her second name Phoebe. The couple had eight children by the time they moved to Elwell Street. There is no evidence to suggest that the family had experience in brewing so we can only speculate who was operating the adjoining brewery.

When Jane Tonks was running the Museum Inn during the early Edwardian years, her son Samuel was living in the neighbouring cottage. He worked as a saddler but took over the licence of the Museum Inn when Jane Tonks died in the summer of 1905. He would later be recorded as a brewer when he and his wife Edith moved to Wood Green Road, suggesting he continued producing ales behind the Museum Inn whilst the pub was run by another person.

Referring back to the painted wall advertisement in the photograph above. This had previously had an advert for Booth's Noted Ales which would perhaps indicated that the Museum Inn was, at one stage in its history, was operated by Thomas Booth of the Red Lion in Gornal Wood.

Invoice Header from Edward Elwell's Forge at Wednesbury [c.1920's]

Incidentally, Elwell Street is named after the family who operated the iron-making forge at nearby Wood Green. The forge, operating since the late 16th century, was taken over by Edward Elwell in 1817. Whilst it is true that the Elwell family became prosperous through the labours of many Wednesbury people, they did become benefactors by building sports, social, religious and education facilities for the local community.
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Licensees of this Pub
1865 - Philip Eades
1870 - Philip Eades
1872 - Amos Tonks
1880 - Amos Tonks
1904 - Jane Phoebe Tonks
1912 - Samuel Tonks
1932 - Alfred Woodcock
1940 - James Arthur Harper

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

Map
Map of the Museum Inn at Elwell Street [c.1890]

Links to other Websites
Black Country Bugle
Black Country Gob
Black Country History in Old Photos
Black Country Society
Wednesbury History Society

Quotation
Audrey Hepburn
"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once.”
Audrey Hepburn

Work in Progress

Not One to Mix with the Riff-Raff in the Bar

Édouard Manet "The Merry Beer Drinker" [1870's]

Newspaper Articles
 

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Comic Postcard - Ours is a Nice House

Comic Postcard - XX Casks

Comic Postcard - Best Pale Ale

Comic Postcard - Church Sermon

Comic Postcard - We Don't Mind If We Do

Comic Postcard - Drink While We Can

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Beer and Pipe Smoker

Bar Parlour Stained Glass

Tap Room Etched Glass

Cheers!

Best Room and Snug

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Publican

Public Bar Stained Glass
 

Woman Serving Beer

Brewery Buildings