History of the Plough Inn at Wollaston in the county of Worcestershire

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Some history of the Plough Inn at Wollaston

The Plough Inn stands on the former Stourbridge to Bridgnorth turnpike, a route that brought passing trade to augment the patronage from the locals, many of whom worked in agriculture. The name of the house reflected the rural character of this part of Wollaston in the mid-19th century before the planned development to the north of the turnpike. The imposing three-gabled building was erected in 1898. Some claim that the older Plough was housed in the small building to the left but I am not so sure, particularly when viewing a map dated 1884 that shows the development on this plot before construction of the 'new' hotel.

The Plough Inn at Wollaston [1954]

This mid-1950's view of the Plough Inn shows the building operated by Mitchell's and Butler's. The Cape Hill-based brewery acquired the pub in August 1918, paying the sum of £3,000 [included fittings valued at £283.16.0d.] to John Pearson. The sale included the adjoining properties at Nos.156 and 158 Bridgnorth Road. This includes the shop you can see to the left of the Plough Inn, for many years a popular newsagent's selling confectionary and newspapers, along with a few grocery items. In fact, the shop was formerly a grocer's business and numbered No.127 Bridgnorth Road. Just out of shot a little further up the hill is Cradley House, erected in 1902 and once the residence of William and Caroline Billingham, a couple who once kept the Railway Tavern in Cradley Heath. The former publican and shipping tackle manufacturer clearly felt the need to acknowledge the family's origins when they gave their new Edwardian home a title.

Although most of the buildings in the above photograph are still standing, there is one element that has gone. Indeed, I was slightly suprised to see that a hotel built as late as 1898 featured outdoor toilets. And here they are to the right of the pub in front of the garden's hedgerow. It was women to the left and gentlemen to the right in what is a relatively small facility. Most public houses erected during the late Victorian period tended to incorporate toilets within the main building so this is something of a rarity - a pity perhaps that they have been demolished as it would be something of a museum piece!

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Despite the old car suggesting an earlier date, the second photograph [below] dates from July 1962. The licensee in both of these historic images was Vivian Lionel Adams who kept the Plough Inn for fifteen years between 1952 and 1967. He would have had a busy house for some 'big' moments such as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and England winning the World Cup. Sadly, he died soon afterwards in December 1966. Ironically, the Birmingham-born publican was born in the same year that the Plough Inn was built.

The Plough Inn at Wollaston [1962]

The shop next to the Plough Inn had changed hands since the image taken eight years earlier. Senior Service are advertised outside on the enamel sign along with Eldorado Ice Cream on the portable signboard. This was the company that pioneered ice cream sales in cinemas. The Liverpool-based firm were bought out by Lyons in the year following this photograph and the ice cream was re-branded as Lyons Maid.

The first door of the Plough Inn next to the shop was the entrance to the pub's outdoor. Vivian Adams used the window ledges of the pub to display the bottles on sale in the outdoor - quite a range was seemingly available. The double doors also featured etched glass during this period and advertised 'wines, spirits and whiskey.'

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The advertisement below suggests that a public house called The Plough Inn existed in King Street before the opening of this house on the road to Bridgnorth. The Mogg family have been associated with the Plough Inn during the 1850's. James Mogg was certainly the owner-publican of the Eagle Inn at Lower King Street during the mid-19th century. However, the Cradley-born scythesmith and his wife Ann were recorded in King Street during the census of 1851. He was also successful in applying for a spirits licence for his beer house in August 1853.

Advertisement for a sale of the Plough Inn at Wollaston [1856]

Leasing their public house, the Mogg couple moved to Kinver. Meanwhile, in September 1857 John Elcock applied but was refused a licence for a public house in Wollaston. He persisted and applied again in 1858 but was again refused. The Stourbridge-born glassblower had earlier kept the Holly Bush Inn at Amblecote. His persistence in his licence application eventually paid off and by 1861 he was trading here at Ridge Top on the Bridgnorth Road.

More details on The Plough to follow.....

Etched Glass of The Plough Inn at Wollaston [2007]

More details on The Plough to follow.....

Interior of The Plough Inn at Wollaston [2007]

More details on The Plough to follow.....

More details on The Plough to follow.....

The Plough Inn at Wollaston [2017]

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Licensees of this pub

1861 - 1869 Edwin Elcock
1869 - William Rudd Clark
1871 - Joseph Burton
1903 - 1918 John Pearson
1918 - 1923 Albert Benjamin Haddon
1923 - 1923 George Lloyd
1923 - 1952 George Foden
1952 - 1967 Vivian Lionel Adams
1967 - 1968 Violet Adelaide Adams
1968 - 1985 Margaret Christine Tomlinson
1985 - 1986 Richard David Denbury
1986 - 1987 Lorraine Lesley Denbury
1987 - Margaret Mary Hayward

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Genealogy Connections

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

Map

Plan Showing the old Plough Inn at Wollaston [1884]

This extract from a map drawn up in 1884 shows the old Plough Inn within the corner plot of Bridgnorth Road and Bridle Road.

Inn Sign

Inn Sign of The Plough at Harborne [1990]

I have not seen an inn sign swinging outside this pub so I have 'borrowed' one to provide some information on the hostelry's name. This signboard dates from a photograph taken in 1990 at Harborne.

The sign of The Plough is a particularly common pub name in rural areas although it does also prevail in towns and cities. The name itself has been in use since the sixteenth century and, indeed, an older spelling of The Plow can still be spotted around the country, though these are quite rare today.

In the middle ages, and at the time of the ploughing season, ploughs were often blessed in a ceremony in which a plough was decorated. A collection would be raised in the parish and the 'plow money' was used to brew a special plough ale.

Related Websites

History of Wollaston
Welcome to Stourbridge

Mitchell's and Butler's Traditional Cask Ales

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 Black Satin Stout Poster [c.1962]

Related Newspaper Articles

"Joseph Burton, publican, Wollaston, was charged with having been drunk whilst in charge of a horse and trap at Brettell Lane, on April 2lst. Police Sergeant Hinton and Police Constable Hulme saw the defendant driving a horse and trap whilst he was in a state of intoxication at Brettell Lane, on the above date. He was on the wrong side tbe road, and appeared to be in danger of falling out of the trap. This was the defendant's first offence. He was fined five shillings and costs."
"Drunkenness"
County Express : May 3rd 1879 Page 3

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"Mr. Hebbert [deputy coroner] held an inquiry at the Plough Inn, Wollaston, on Wedesday evening, relative to the death of Bertie Elwell, aged three years and eight months, son of Ezekiel and Ann Elwell, Ridge Top, Wollaston. The evidence adduced showed that the child, with his brothers and sister, were playing in the kitchen, and the poor lad took hold of the kettle and drank some of the water, which was then nearly boiling. The mother did not call in the neighbours or doctor, but gave it some castor oil. The child was restless all Sunday night, and died about three o'clock on Monday morning. Dr. Birt made a post mortem examination, and his evidence was to the effect that death was due to scalding. He did not think he could have saved the child's life if he had been called in sooner. A verdict of "Accidental death caused by scalding' was returned."
"Shocking Death of a Child"
Dudley Mercury, Stourbridge, Brierley Hill, and County Express
January 12th 1889 Page 8

Mitchell's and Butler's Brew XI Beer Mat

"Mr. R. Docker held an inquest on Saturday last at the Plough Inn, Wollaston, on the body of Annie Tottie Millington, daughter of Edward Millington, agent, Ridge Top. The girl was taken ill with a cold about a week before her death, and medical assistance was not called in until shortly before she died suddenly on the 30th December. A verdict "Death from Natural Causes" was returned."
"Inquest at Wollaston"
County Express, Stourbridge and Dudley News
January 10th 1885 Page 5

Mitchell's and Butler's Good Honest Beer Advertisement

"Two men, Edward Stringer and John Allen, were drinking with other men in the Plough Inn, Wollaston. Allen was holding an argument with some of the company when Stringer put his arms around Allen's neck and bit his ear nearly off. On Thursday, Stringer was committed for trial."
"A Savage Assault"
Worcester Journal : March 30th 1872 Page 4

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George Orwell

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals."
George Orwell

Related Newspaper Articles

Terry and Margaret Hayward of the Plough Inn at Wollaston [2005]

"A Black Country landlord who has filled his pub with bric-a-brac for the last 19 years has been told enough is enough by his wife. When Terry and Margaret Hayward took over The Plough Inn at Wollaston, Stourbridge, the pub was bare except for a few pictures on the wall. But now after years of browsing jumble sales and accepting donations of bric-a-brac from regulars Terry has filled the Bridgnorth Road pub with everything from old watering cans to pianos. However, Margaret has now put her foot down and called for an end to her husband's hoarding which she said is taking over the pub. She said : "He will bring anything in and find a place for it somewhere in between everything else, he is terrible for it. I have said that is it now but he just sneaks it in when I am out, then a couple of weeks down the line I will notice something new in the corner or on the wall." Terry said : "I have always been into picking things up at car boot sales and jumble sales so just started to bring a few bits back for the pub and it has gone from there." Terry has also been inundated with offerings from drinkers, including an old piano which is now "a bit out of tune."
"Pub Hoarding Must Stop"
by Ben Lammas in Express Star : December 6th 2005 Page 13

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