History of the Horse and Jockey Inn at Inkford, Wythall in the county of Worcestershire

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Although it is not a "blink and you can miss it" public house, the Horse and Jockey at Inkford Brook in Wythall can go unnoticed by motorists as they whizz along the busy A435 on their way to the M42 motorway junction. The pub sits in the old dip created by the River Cole but the 'new' dual carriageway was built on an embankment to level out an improved road - if you call heavy traffic an improvement. Anyway, as a result, the pub has lost its traditional association with what was the turnpike road connecting Birmingham with Alcester. This would have been a noteworthy wayside hostelry where refreshments could be sought by travellers and, as the name suggests, equine services were available.

As one of the area's principal inns, during the mid-19th century the Horse and Jockey Inn hosted many agricultural sales where auctioneers would sell livestock, horses and farming implements. These sales would be held at particular times of the farming season or when a farm itself was being sold or disposed. Breeders, farmers and horse dealers would descend upon the Horse and Jockey, muddy boots and all, sup some ale, enjoy a late breakfast before bidding took place on land surrounding the old tavern. At other times, auctions took place at the Horse and Jockey for crops grown at nearby smallholdings such as Little Fulford Farm and Tanner Green Farm. I have also seen sale notices for wheat grown at Selly Green Farm at Beoley. When Thomas Morgan left Hayes Farm in 1863 there was a two-day sale at the Horse and Jockey where the entire stock, agricultural implements and household furniture was auctioned.

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All this agricultural business is a far cry from more recent times where the building merely acts as a retail outlet for the Fayre and Square and Wacky Warehouse brands. These were once operated by the Spirit Group, a branch of Punch Taverns, and was largely within former Allied Domecq public houses. All very logical when one considers that, during the inter-war and post-war years, the Horse and Jockey Inn was operated by the Holt Brewery when the firm enjoyed some autonomy from Ansell's Brewery.

The Horse and Jockey Inn at Inkford Brook in Wythall [2015]

This photograph of the Horse and Jockey shows the pub's extended frontage along the old turnpike road passing over the River Cole. If you check out the building plan below you can see that the main trading area of the pub was on the right, where a bar and smoke room flanked the passageway from the front door. Like most pubs of this ilk, the main entrance has been moved around the back because most, if not all, patrons arrive by car. The left-hand section of the contemporary pub was fashioned out of the old store and garage, possibly a barn in former times. The Horse and Jockey had a large club room above this part of the building.

The separate rooms no doubt fostered a cosy atmosphere in each of the drinking spaces. Note the small servery in the old bar from which drinks were dispensed. Customers in the lounge and smoke would probably have been served by a person carrying a tray of drinks from the bar. Note also the small toilet accessed by exiting the pub and walking to the next doorway.

Building Plan showing the Horse and Jockey Inn at Inkford Brook in Wythall [1951]

The club room would have served all manner of roles for the locality. For example, in August 1849 the Royal Lily the Valley Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Women, Redditch Unity, held their second anniversary at hostess Edwards's, the Horse and Jockey. A newspaper article reported that "the attendance of sisters from different lodges, and friends, was very numerous, and the evening was passed with the greatest hilarity."

The Edwards mentioned here is Joseph Edwards who kept the Horse and Jockey Inn with his wife Martha. During this period the pub was part of Solihull in Warwickshire. There was a neighbouring shop run by John Collins. Thomas Edwards, son the of publican, was recorded as a butcher but whether this business was conducted on the pub's premises is not clear. The toll collector on the Alcester Road turnpike at this time were John and Jane Garlick. They were succeeded by James and Mary Corbett.

Publicans of the Horse and Jockey Inn were also farmers during Victorian times. Robert and Caroline Martin farmed land here in addition to running the public house. Their son, James Richard Martin, would become something of a pioneer in the automotive industry. After a period working for Daimler, he became a partner in the firm Johnson, Hurley and Martin, a company based in Coventry that concentrated on Alpha engines but were also involved in car production and motorcycle manufacturing.

Licensees of this pub

1849 - Joseph Edwards
1870 - William Hughes
1876 - Robert James Martin
1884 - Robert James Martin
Note : this is not a complete list of licensees for this pub.

Map

Map Extract Showing the Horse and Jockey Inn at Inkford Brook in Wythall [1883]

This extract from a plan drawn up in 1883 shows the Horse and Jockey Inn alongside the old turnpike road connecting Birmingham with Alcester.

Genealogy Connections

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

Related Websites

Wythall Parish Council
Wythall Transport Museum
Worcester CAMRA
Worcestershire County Council

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.

Newspaper Articles

"A fatal accident occurred on the 25th October to Mr. Jonathan Harlow, of the firm of Peyton and Harlow, Bordesley Works, Birmingham. On the above morning, Mr. Harlow and Mr. Partridge, surgeon, of Bordesley, left the former gentleman's residence, at Moseley Wake Green, for Inkford Brook, on the Alcester Road, where they rented the right of sporting over several farms. Several fields having been ineffectually traversed in search of game, the keeper suggested that a neighbouring stubble field should be beaten, to reach which it was necessary to cross the turnpike road. While walking towards the gate of the stubble field, the barrels of Mr. Partridge's gun dropped from the stock upon the road, the bolt, it is supposed, having been loosened in jumping from the gate of the field they had left. The nipples were unfortunately capped, and on the breech striking the ground the charges of both barrels exploded, and entered the calf of Mr Harlow's right leg, lodging behind the principal bone. Mr. Harlow exclaimed "Oh God, I'm shot," and walked back towards the gate. A chair having been procured, he was placed in it, lifted into his carriage, and conveyed to the Horse and Jockey, at Inkford. Mr. Partridge, who had in the meantime stopped the haemorrhage by tying a handkerchief round the leg, despatched a servant for Mr. Crompton, surgeon, Birmingham. The wound was not then regarded as serious, but in an hour Mr. Harlow began to sink rapidly, and shortly after the unfortunate gentleman expired. An inquest was held on the body on Friday, when Mr. Crompton stated his opinion that death resulted from the shock sustained by the nervous system, and not from the wound. The Jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death." Mr. Harlow had for several years represented Deritend and Bordesley Ward in the Town Council, and was deservedly esteemed by all parties in the borough."
"Fatal Accident While Shooting"
Worcester Journal : November 4th 1854 Page 3.

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"The horse I bet on was so slow, the jockey kept a diary of the trip."
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