Some history of the Great Western Hotel at Acock's Green in Birmingham in Warwickshire


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Operated by Butler's Springfield Brewery, this house was rebuilt between 1955-6 after the board decided that the structure of the old pub was in "such a poor state as to not merit further expenditure on repairs."

Birmingham : Great Western Hotel at Acock's Green [c.1906]

More information on the Great Western Hotel on Acock's Green to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to the Great Western Hotel from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on the Great Western Hotel. There is information on Birmingham dotted around the website - click here for a suitable starting place.

Birmingham : Construction of the Great Western Hotel at Acock's Green [1956]

Birmingham : Great Western Hotel at Acock's Green [1962]

Birmingham : Main Entrance of the Great Western Hotel at Acock's Green [1962]

Birmingham : Butler's Crest and Windows of the Great Western Hotel at Acock's Green [1962]

See Villa Tavern.

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"A Birmingham pub has been put up for sale for £1 - less than half the cost of a pint. Wannabe landlords are being offered the chance to purchase The Great Western in Acock's Green, Birmingham, at the rock-bottom price. Current owner Enterprise Inns initially set a £10,000 purchase figure on the three-storey boozer, but failed to attract any offers. Now in a desperate bid to entice a new leaseholder during the credit crunch, the company has dropped the price to a rock-bottom £1. But the incredible figure may be too good to be true. Because any buyer would have to pay extra for furniture and contents - as well as beer and rent to the landlord. Bridgette Wayre has been landlady at the Yardley Road boozer off and on for more than seven years. And she said she was not surprised Enterprise Inns had gone to such extreme lengths to secure a sale of the pub which she admitted needed some refurbishment. "They've been trying to sell it for a while, but I think they have struggled because of the credit crunch," she said. "Yet it's a good pub with a lot going for it, even if it does need a bit of refurbishing. I'll stop here until they find someone to take the place on. The customers reckon I've made more comebacks than Arnold Schwarzenegger. They are fed up of buying me leaving presents!"

Birmingham : The Great Western at Acock's Green Closed and Boarded-Up

"New figures from the British Beer and Pub Association show 211 Midlands boozers closed in the second half of 2008 which, at a rate of eight per week, is the highest number in any UK region. The Great Western regulars hope their pub, which boasts a large lounge and separate bar, will not be next and that a new leaseholder can be found. Computer programmer Simon Britton, 40, from Acock's Green, said: "At the moment they are almost trying to give pubs away because they are not doing very well." He added that "Enterprise Inns are probably offering the £1 sale to attract attention as a publicity stunt." Caroline Mannay, 33, from Acock's Green, said: "Lots of people have tried to buy the pub but what they [the management] do is push up the beer prices and then the rent." Tim Moriarty, a 32 year-old builder from Acock's Green, has been a regular since he was 18. "I would be devastated if it closed," he said. "It's a real community pub where everybody knows everybody."

Keith Gordon is operations manager with London Town Pubs and finds suitable new tenants for breweries and property companies. He blamed the Government for the slump in the drinks industry and the subsequent profit pressures placed on landlords and leaseholders. Mr Gordon said: "The smoking ban has had a dramatic impact on the industry and the taxation of alcohol is increasing prices." He added "All this is conspiring to make it very difficult for pubs and licensees and the Government is doing nothing to help. People spend more time at home now and the binge drinking we see is down to cheap booze that can be bought in supermarkets. In this instance, the Great Western would be better as a lease or tenancy. But whoever purchases it will need a bit more than £1. The furniture needs replacing, thereƊs a rent deposit and stock to be bought on the day they go in, legal costs and some working capital. Realistically you can get in for potentially £10,000 to £20,000." No-one from Enterprise Inns was available to comment."
"Acock's Green pub to be sold for £1"
Birmingham Mail : February 15th 2013

Birmingham : Tony Pegg licensee of The Great Western at Acock's Green [2013]

"An angry licensee is staging a sit-in at his Birmingham pub after claiming spiralling rents and beer charges forced him to call time. Tony Pegg, licensee of the Great Western, in Acock's Green, says the Enterprise Inns leased venue "bled him dry" and cost him his £45,000 life savings. Last week he called last orders and pulled down the shutters at the premises, which also doubles as his home. Tony has now launched a sit-in protest - and has pledged that he would have "to be carried out" of the venue before he quits voluntarily. The landlord, who has been in the licensed trade for ten years, claimed the popular boozer was losing £4,500 a week because of rent and "restrictive" beer charges. He said he could not continue running the pub because it had exhausted his finances and was taking its toll on his personal life. "I have never made enough money to even draw a wage," he said. "Every penny I own has gone into this pub and I cannot do it any more because of the money I have to pay out. I have spent a fortune on refurbishment and paying for weekly entertainment for the customers and it cannot go on." The licensee alleged his rent costs had risen from just £50 a week when he first took over the pub, to £1,000 a week. Tony, who has been married to wife Susan for 30 years, said he had nowhere to go and had even sold a property to provide funds for the pub. "I turned the pub around and all I want is a fair deal," he added.

A spokeswoman for Enterprise Inns said the firm had tried to help Tony through his difficulties and said claims about a lack of support were inaccurate. She said: "We do not discuss the private and confidential matters between the company and our publicans. However, we can confirm we have provided a significant level of support and worked very hard to assist the publican in making their business a success. "Our aim is for the Great Western to resume trading as soon as possible," added the spokeswoman. The pub attracted national attention in 2009 when it was offered for sale for just £1 to attract potential licensees during the credit crunch."
"Licensee stages 'sit-in' protest against Enterprise Inns"
by Brett Gibbons in Birmingham Post : January 29th 2013

More information on the Great Western Hotel on Acock's Green to follow.

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Licensees of the Great Western Hotel

1860 - George Andrews
1868 - Henry Capner
1871 - Henry Fulford
1878 - Joseph Henry Knowles
1949 - 1954 John James D'Arcy
1954 - 1958 Frederick Ernest Williams
1958 - 1984 Arthur Charles Davis
1984 - 1992 Frederick Jesse Payne
1992 - 1997 Ivan John Harris
1997 - 1998 Steven Charles England
1998 - 2000 Michelle Kellet
2000 - 2002 Rosemary Doherty
2002 - 2004 Anthony Pegg
2004 - Sharon Corine Northall
Note : this is not a complete list of licensees for this pub.

Poster Advertisement for William Butler and Co. Ltd. of Springfield at Wolverhampton in Staffordshire

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Related Newspaper Articles

"Mr Edwin Docker [coroner for East Worcestershire] held an inquest at the Great Western Hotel, Acock's Green, yesterday, on the body of Harry Lowe [20], of Church Road, Yardley, whose mutilated remains were found on the Great Western Railway near Acock's Green station on Wednesday evening. Mr Buller [Messrs Buller, Bickley, and Cross] appeared to watch the case on behalf of Mr. Henry Westwood, of Lyndon Farm, Acock's Green, and Miss Evelyn Westwood, the young lady to whom the deceased was engaged. The first witness called was Arthur Lowe, brother, who stated that the deceased was a board school teacher at Ada Street, Birmingham. He had always been in good health, and attended school until midday on Tuesday. Witness last saw the deceased alive on Monday evening, and he was then in good health and spirits. He did not return home at all on Tuesday. Very frequently he went straight from school to the house of Mr. Henry Westwood, Lyndon Farm, Acock's Green, to see Miss Westwood, to whom he was engaged. At those times he would not return home till half-past ten o'clock at night. Just before ten o'clock on Tuesday night Mr Pendle, a friend of the deceased, came up with a letter he had received. The letter ran "Dear Frank, I have given you the first and last lesson I ever shall. I have been deceived by Miss W., and shall end my life tonight. Yours, H.L.' Upon seeing this letter witness went to Mr. Westwood's house, and was informed that the deceased had not been there that evening, though he had been expected. Nothing further was heard of him that night. At seven o'clock on Wednesday morning a letter, written by the deceased, was addressed to his mother, and ran : "Dear Mother, I pray you forgive me for what I am about to do for I have resolved to end my life. I cannot live to be always regarded by you as a disgrace to you and to my family. I would sooner die ten thousand times. I have been cruelly deceived by Evelyn, I know. I declare upon my honour, that if Evelyn is with child I am not the father. You will say. Why have I acknowledged it to Mr. Westwood? The reason was that fearing he would do some violence on hearing the news I was determined to shelter Evelyn, even though she had deceived me. I trusted her so implicitly, so entirely that I could not believe she would play me false, and now the blow has come I am almost out of my mind. I scarcely know what I am writing. The reason I have always denied any intercourse was because none had taken place. There has been a little more freedom between us than has been proper; but I say with perhaps the last words I utter that there has never been that between us which could result in Evelyn being in the condition she is. Once more I repeat, I swear I am innocent. I shall write to the School Board Office and to Mr. Purcell, and to Frank Pendle and to Mr. Workman, so as to save you as much trouble as possible. May God help you to bear this, and may he forgive me for bringing it on you but I cannot live to disgrace you. It will be better for you that I should die. You will find me on the railway, run over, between Acock's Green Station and Olton, God bless you, Mother, and help you to bear it is the prayer of your broken-hearted HARRY." Witness, continuing, said that as soon as be received this letter he went to the station and the remains of the deceased were found. By Mr Buller: Miss Westwood was in the habit of coming to the house in Church Road, and stayed there some time occasionally. She came to the house on Monday night in fact, she came there repeatedly until that evening. She stayed at the house for a month at one time, and called the deceased into her bedroom. Mr. Buller : Did you notice that for some time past she has been in a very bad state of pregnancy? Witness : I did not know or believe it was so. Did you notice any difference in her appearance? Yes. Do you know whether your mother was opposed to marriage? She was only opposed to the marriage because they were young. Not on account of the girl's condition? No. She did not know the girl's condition. Did you hear something that was said when your brother came home on Monday night? I was not there. Didn't your mother say she had told him that rather than he should marry this girl she would send him out of the country? Nothing of the kind. Ann Lowe, the mother, stated that she last saw the deceased alive at eight o'clock on Tuesday morning. In reply to witness, he said he should be at home as usual in the evening from half-past five to six o'clock. She believed he went out fully intending to come back. Her son was engaged to Miss Evelyn Westwood, and had been in the habit for some time of seeing her daily. Mr Buller : I suppose you noticed something unusual about the girl? Witness : I don't see how I could. I don't know whether you could, but did you? I noticed there was something, but she always said it was due to something else. I believed the girl because my son was truthful, and he said there had been nothing between them. On Monday night he came home just after 11, and told me Evelyn had been examined by a doctor and was in the family way. There were reports to this effect in the neighbourhood, but I did not believe them. I knew the girl had a fall last May and that she was injured. When the deceased came home he said, "Mother, Mother, I have dreadfully bad news for you. The doctor says that no doubt those reports are true about Evelyn." Witness said, "Oh, Harry, Harry," and he replied, "Don't distress yourself." Mr Buller : Did he not say to you that he had had a conversation with Mr. Westwood? Yes, I said "Whatever did they say?" and he replied, "Mr. Westwood says we must be married at once, and I must go and give notice tomorrow." Did he say he had told Mr. Westwood he was very sorry he was the father? Oh, no, Did he also say that Mr. Westwood offered to furnish the house? He told me that Mr. Westwood said "If you will find what you can I will do the rest." Did he tell you that he told Mr. Westwood and this girl that he would go and consult you whether he should be married or not? No, he did not say so. The Coroner : He told you that Mr. Westwood said they must be married? Yes. I said, "A very easy way of getting out of a wild girl." She is notoriously wild. Mr. Buller : Did you not oppose most bitterly any idea of marriage? Witness: No. Were you willing that they should be married? No; but I did not bitterly oppose it. Did you encourage, it? No, certainly not. Mr. Buller : He would be alive today if you had. Witness : I don't believe that. The Coroner ɍ You say you didn't encourage the idea of marriage? No, sir, I didn't. Mr. Buller : Did you tell him he was to go back and tell the Westwoods what you had said about prohibiting the marriage? No. I didn't say anything of the kind. The Coroner : Do I understand that the deceased came to consult you as to what he had best do? No, sir, not at all. He came home to tell me what had been said, and what he had agreed to do. He sat up till three o'clock the following morning, with his head between his knees, considering. For some time we sat alone without speaking. Ultimately he said, "It is impossible. What must I do?" I said, "I told you that you had been together too much," and he said, "You did but it is impossible. I admit that we have been very free to each other but it is impossible that anything I have done should have ended like this." The Coroner : These two have been engaged for two years, and have been meeting each other every day? Witness : Yes. They would not let him rest up till Monday last? Yes. William Williams, a platelayer in the employ of the Great Western Railway Company, deposed to finding the body of the deceased on Wednesday morning a short distance from Acock's Green Station, in the direction of Olton. The head, which was completely severed from the trunk, was lying in the four-foot. By Mr Ledbrooke [who represented the company] There was a private road near the railway bank. Police Constable Hinman said that he was called to the spot where the body was lying, and found a note bearing the following words : "The body is that of Harry Lowe, Church Road, Yardley, opposite the Swan Inn. Everything I possess is to go to my mother." Mr. Buller mentioned at this stage of the proceedings that both Mr. Westwood and his daughter were in an adjoining room, and desired to be called if allowed to give their account of the matters which had cropped up at the inquiry, one of which, he had no doubt, had led to that melancholy suicide on the part of the deceased. He was informed that the deceased had been engaged to Miss Westwood for something like two years, and she had been pregnant now about eight months. He did not wish to bear hardly upon the young man, but he should like to point out that on Monday night he saw Mr. Westwood and frankly admitted that he was the father and asked for advice. He promised to go up on the following night and say what he intended doing. He went away intimating that he would consult his mother, and told the girl that everything would depend upon his mother. According to the information he [Mr Buller] had received, the deceased went and told his mother, and the latter opposed the idea of a marriage. The result was that he went and committed suicide. As showing the state of the young man's mind, Mr. Buller went on to say, that he contemplated suicide and told the girl, and he believed the father, that if ever he did he should do so under the Zulu express, a little beyond Acock's Green Station. Further than that, when he discovered the condition of the girl, there was a scheme spoken of that he should shoot her in the lane, and then shoot himself. The girl said, "There is no reason why both shall die, I shall be sufficient." He then said, "You do it." He then wrote on a piece of paper "Harry is innocent," but afterwards said, "I cannot do that," and there the matter dropped. If called the girl would tell the jury that the deceased presented her with cartridges, and gave her instructions what to do. It would be most satisfactory for the jury to say that the young woman was not to blame. Mr. Docker : I don't think that can be done. Addressing the jury, the coroner said that so far as domestic troubles were concerned they had nothing to do. Unfortunately the circumstances of this death were particularly unhappy, and Mr. Buller had asked to be allowed to call the father and the young lady, whose conduct had been called into question. If they thought fit to have their evidence he was prepared to ask Mr. Buller to call them. A Juror : I should say so. Mr. Buller : They desire to be called. Another Juror : I do not think the case should be exposed to the public any more. Mr. Buller : If the coroner says they must not be called, I bow to the decision; but I should like it to be known that they are both present and anxious to give their testimony. A Juror explained that the deceased accompanied him to Acock's Green by the last train on Tuesday night, and made particular inquiries about the next mail train to pass through the station. The Coroner, in summing up, said this was a very determined case of suicide, and it was hardly possible that anyone would be likely to commit such any act in a sound state of mind. The facts were of a most deplorable character, and one could hardly conceive anything more unhappy than the circumstances attending the death of the unfortunate deceased. The jury found that the deceased committed "Suicide whilst temporarily insane."
"Romantic Suicide of a Board School Teacher"
Birmingham Mail : January 26th 1889 Page 3

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