History of the Turk's Head at Lowesmoor in Worcester in the county of Worcestershire. 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.


Turk's Head
Turk's Head

Some History of this Pub
In 2010, this Lowesmoor pub, which for a almost a century was called the Turk's Head, traded as the Brewery Tap, a pub catering for Worcester's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender scene. The pub had previously been called the Brewery Tap between 1985-92 when it was the home of the Jolly Roger microbrewery. The pub has also bore a number of other names since the post-war years. At various periods it has been the Meco Club, Goodfellows, Old Spot, Blue Oyster, 32 Club and The Flag. I suspect that the Turk's Head name has slowly been wiped from most folk's memory cards.

The Brewery Tap at Lowesmoor in Worcester [2010]

The Turk's Head started out as a beer house. Publican John Butcher applied for a spirits licence on a couple of occasions in the mid-1860's but was refused by the local magistrates despite him appealing that he had run the house since 1863 without any complaint being raised against him.

John Butcher was a keen follower of sporting dogs and won prizes for showing his greyhound. He died at a relatively young age in 1871 and his wife Harriet was probably given her widow's year at the Turk's Head. In July 1872 she married Edward Squires of Bosbury in Herefordshire. He was a widowed carpenter living with his in-laws at St. Paul's Street. Samual Tisdale, his father-in-law, was a Corporation Officer. Edward Squires, who had three young children, took over as licensee of the Turk's Head soon after he was married again.

Wall Mural of the Jolly Roger Brewery Tap at Lowesmoor [1990]

Edward Squires had a number of incidents at the Turk's Head - but name a Victorian publican who didn't land themselves in trouble with the authorities at some point. He was found guilty of allowing gambling on the premises but, more seriously, was fined for assaulting his customers in the Spring of 1885 [see newspaper articles]. The publican died in 1890 a year after his wife had passed away. Daughter Clara moved to live with relatives at Everton in Liverpool.

The Turk's Head had gained inn status by the time Seth Robinson was granted the licence in 1890. He had followed his father by becoming a hairdresser, a trade he plied in St. John's before entering the licensed trade. Succeeding Jane Parry, he and his wife Alice took over the White Hart Inn at Sidbury in March 1883 and remained there until moving to the Turk's Head Inn during 1890. In 1891 the Robinson's suffered a tragedy when Percy, their eighteen month-old son, died.

In earlier years Seth Robinson had gained a reputation for being a betting man. He was also a bit tasty in the fisticuffs department. The publican was hauled before the magistrates in 1887 for engaging in a prize fight on Pitchcroft in which he was having a right-old ding-dong with William "Chippy" Harrison. Seth Robinson was also charged on another occasion when not using his fists, opting instead to use a wooden stave on the head of a cooper named William Price. He managed to get off the charge but word probably spread around Worcester that Robinson was a bit of a nutter. One man who may not have been aware of this was Henry Dovey, a boiler-maker on the Lower Bath Road. At a political gathering at the Constitutional Club in October 1892 he got into an argument with Robinson. As a result, the publican punched him the face resulting in no boilers being made by Dovey for a fortnight!

Seth Robinson went back to his love of racing and betting and moved to Osborne Villa on Barbourne Road from where he made a living as a Commission Agent in bookmaking.

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William Savage kept the Turk's Head Inn for a brief spell during the Edwardian period before the arrival of Jefford Westwood. Born in Walsall in 1865, he moved to Kidderminster to work in the carpet industry. It was there that he met and married Emma Durose who, although born in Worcester, had grown up in Comberton Hill and later lived in St. George's Place in Kidderminster. The couple were married in 1883 and later took over at the Duke of Edinburgh Inn on Bromsgrove Street in Kidderminster.

The Westwood's arrived at the Turk's Head in 1906. They did rather well for themselves for when Jefford died in November 1922, he left £1,383 19s. 6d. to his wife Emma. She continued at the Turk's Head until 1927.
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Related Newspaper Articles
"Mr Pinkett, veterinary surgeon, Worcester, sued Seth Robinson, of the Turk's Head Inn, Lowesmoor, for £3. 19s., for professional services. Mr. Dobbs was for the plaintiff, and Mr. Dreaper for the defendant. The claim was for treatment to a pony belonging to the defendant in September last. Defendant denied liability, on the ground that the pony was injured by a man named Underwood, who had hired it, who sent for the plaintiff, and who was therefore, he contended, liable. Defendant paid 17s. into court. His Honour gave judgment for the plaintiff.”
"Claim for Professional Services"
Worcester Journal : August 25th 1894 Page 7.

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Licensees of this Pub
1863 - 1871 John Butcher
1871 - 1872 Harriet Butcher
1872 - 1874 Edward Squires
1874 - 1875 George Pardoe
1875 - 1890 Edward Squires
1890 - 1905 Seth Robinson
1905 - 1906 William Savage
1906 - 1922 Jefford James Westwood
1923 - 1927 Emma Westwood
1927 - 1929 Ernest Bevington
1929 - 1930 Frank Darke
1930 - 1931 Annie Darke
1931 - 1938 Samuel Osborne
1985 - 1992 Paul & Martin Soden
Post-1873 list compiled by Bob Backenforth

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Turk's Head Inn Sign

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

Town Plan showing the Turk's Head [1886]
This extract from a town plan drawn up in 1886 shows the Turk's Head with the Alma Inn across the road. The Swan Inn can also be seen further along the road towards the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel.

Inn Sign
Inn Sign of the Jolly Roger Brewery Tap at Lowesmoor in Worcester [1990]

I have used a Turk's Head signboard further up the page to show a sign bearing this name. However, I have used a signboard from Alcester as it is most unlikely that photograph of a signboard at this pub was ever taken let alone survived. The above signboard was hanging outside the pub in 1990 when the building was the brewery tap of the Jolly Roger Brewery.

The brewery was established in 1983 by Paul and Martin Soden who put together their own plant at the rear of the Old Anchor Inn at Upton-on-Severn. This enterprise was sold in 1985 to Chris Callaghan when the brothers moved to Lowesmoor where another brewery was put together. Production started in October 1985.

The brewery plant, which could be viewed through a glass partition, had a five-barrel length which, combined with two fermenting vessels, enabled up to 15 barrels to be produced per week. This was mainly sold in the Brewery Tap, with the odd cask making it to beer festivals or special events.

Jolly Roger Shipwrecked Pump Clip [c.1990]

The popular brews that were to become regular ales were Quaff Ale [a light session bitter], Severn Bore [malty best bitter], and Old Lowesmoor [a type of old ale]. Around Christmas time a rush of excitement was generated by the production of a strong ale called Winter Wobbler. Paul Soden also brewed up some commemorative beers. Over 40 beer names seem to have emerged from the small brewery.

The brewing plant was improved and enlarged and, for a period, Don Burgess worked with Paul Soden before he established the Freeminer Brewery in the Forest of Dean. Once a regular pattern was established, the regular portfolio included: Jolly Roger Ale 3.8%, Shipwrecked 4.0%, Goodness Stout 4.2% and Flagship 5.2%.

The brewery was moved around 1990-1 when Paul Soden took over the Cardinal's Hat in Friar Street where a museum was also set up. The old Bricklayers' Arms in Hereford was also purchased around this time and this was established as a homebrew pub called the Jolly Roger with a bar in the shape of a galleon! The brewing operation at the rear of the Jolly Roger was called the Original Hereford Brewing Company and it produced beers called Blackbeard and Old Hereford Bull in addition to some of the popular Worcester beers such as Quaff and Goodness Stout.

The brewery at the Cardinal's Hat was supplying four public houses and selling to the free trade but there was some restructuring when the brewery's name was changed to the Faithful City Brewery. I presume that growth was too rapid and some downsizing had to be implemented. Brewing at Friar Street ceased and production of ales was solely at the Hereford site.

I was living in Dorset when this brewery was established and got into full swing so I missed out on what must have been an exciting time for Worcester's drinkers. Paul and Martin Soden must have been quite driven individuals and their vision ambitious. Paul was elected chair of SIBA [Society of Independent Brewers]. He was later involved with a number of pubs and bars in Gloucester, including the Old Bell, Coach and Horses and Café René.

Links to other Websites
Worcester CAMRA
Worcester City Museums
Worcestershire County Council
Worcester News
Worcester Pubs Then and Now

Ahmet Ertegun
© Copyright :  Jim Cooper/Associated Press
"As I grew up, I began to discover a little bit about the situation of black people in America and experienced an immediate empathy with the victims of such senseless discrimination. Because although the Turks were never slaves, they were regarded as enemies within Europe because of their Muslim beliefs.”
Ahmet Ertegun

Newspaper Articles
"Mr. Squires, landlord of the Turk's Head, Lowesmoor, was summoned for allowing gambling. A policeman, named Nottingham, newly appointed, went to the house in plain clothes, and remained there sometime, having something to eat and drink. According to his statement a young man came in and challenged the landlord to play a game called "ringing the bull" for a pint of ale. The landlord hesitated, but said he would play if the other would give him five points. This was agreed to, and witness saw one game and the commencement of another. In defence Davis, the young man who was playing with the landlord, was called, and he stated that he was playing merely for amusement and not for drink. He had a pint of ale which he paid for when it was brought. Another witness, named Watts, said he did not hear anything said about playing for drink. He often played the game, but never for drink. The landlord .also made a statement upon oath. He denied that there was any playing for drink, asserted that the officer left just as the first game commenced, and said he suspected him to be a policeman. The Bench believed the testimony of the officer and fined defendant 20s. and expenses, altogether 31s. The license was not endorsed."
Worcester Journal : October 26th 1872 Page 7.

Card Playing in a Tavern

"William Painting and Hannah Painting, man and wife, of Regent Street, Tallow Hill, were summoned by Edward Squires, keeper of the Turk's Head Inn, Lowesmoor, for an assault on the 19th March. There were cross-summonses by the defendants. Mr. Warren Tree appeared for the defendants. From complainant's evidence it appeared that defendants went to the house and called for drink. Complainant, considering they had already had enough, declined to supply them and ordered them out. They declined to leave, and as complainant was attempting to eject the man he attacked him and tore his waistcoat. The woman rushed at him and attempted to scratch his face. The complainant's evidence having been corroborated, Mr. Tree called the female defendant. She denied that her husband was drunk, and declared that, without any provocation, Squires turned him out of the house and knocked him down, injuring the back of his head. He had been under treatment at the infirmary. William Painting gave similar evidence, adding that Squires struck his wife in the eye as well as himself. The Bench dismissed the summons taken out by Squires and fined him 10s. and costs, £1.4s., for the assault on the Paintings."
"A Publican Convicted of Assault"
Worcestershire Chronicle : April 11th 1885 P.2.

Barman in a Scuffle

"At the Infirmary on Monday the City Coroner held an inquiry touching the death of Jane Green, who died in that institution on Saturday from the effects of injuries sustained by being run over by a cart belonging to Messrs. Joseland and Son, in Lowesmoor. John Burston, a coal heaver living in Watercourse Alley, deposed to being near the corner of Silver Street, about five o'clock on Friday afternoon. He saw a child run off the pavement on the opposite side of the street, and come into collision with a horse, which was drawing a cart at walking pace. Witness shouted to the driver, who had no chance of seeing the child, who was knocked down, the wheel of the cart going over its back. Witness picked it up immediately, and took it to the Infirmary. Mr. John Prince Stallard, house surgeon at the Infirmary, said deceased was brought to that institution shortly before five o'clock on Friday afternoon. She was insensible and in a state of collapse. Witness administered some brandy and water to counteract the shock, and, having noticed external injuries, ordered her to bed. She never rallied, and died about mid-day on the following day. Witness, by direction of the coroner, made a post-mortem examination of the body, and found appearances which were sufficient to account for death from shock to the system. William Green, labourer, of No. 3, Court, Lowesmoor, said deceased was his daughter, and was three years of age. The Coroner remarked that he was frequently receiving communications regarding the negligence of parents in allowing children of tender years to run about the streets. In the present case no one appeared to be criminally or even civilly responsible for deceased's death, and the only verdict which it was open to the jury to return was one of accidental death. One of the jurymen asked the Coroner to question Mr. Joseland as to the character for sobriety enjoyed by the driver of the cart, but he declined to do so, as no negligence had been imputed to the driver. Mr. Joseland mentioned that the driver was a steady and sober man. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death."
"Fatal Accident in Lowesmoor"
Worcester Journal : July 8th 1882 Page 3.

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