Some history of the Clock Tavern on Ashted Row at Duddeston in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire


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The Clock Tavern was located on the northern side of Ashted Row at the Bloomsbury end of the thoroughfare.

Birmingham : Map extract showing the Clock Tavern at Ashted Row at Duddeston and Vauxhall [1888]

With an address of Nos.114-5, it would seem that this former beer house occupied two properties that were combined at some point. Comparing the building in the photographs to the map extract of 1888 [above] one can see how a single-storey extension created a retail space between the original building and the pavement. It is likely that the original development had a garden to the front similar to that of the adjacent housing on the right. However, what is curious is that the 1888 map suggests a similar thing occurred at the four properties to the left. Yet, as can be seen in the photographs, these were not in evidence in the 1950s. Was it a mapping error or were the buildings altered in the 20th century?

Birmingham : Clock Tavern on Ashted Row at Duddeston [c.1954]

This photograph dates from the early 1950s, possibly 1954. It would not be long before the rug was pulled under by the local magistrates so this is the only image I have of this former beer house when it was trading. Note, as mentioned above, how the pub and neighbouring café jut out from the original building line of the properties.

The Clock Tavern was seemingly late in becoming a beer house and may have only just snuck in before legislative changes in 1869. Earlier occupants of 114 and 115 Ashted Row do not seem to have retailed beer. When tin-plate worker George Elsmore held the licence he was based in No.115, the neighbouring property being occupied by the annuitant Elizabeth Ward. Whilst George was earning a wage working tin plate, his West Bromwich-born wife Ann held the fort at the Clock Tavern. Their son George also brought in a wage working as a lamp-maker.

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The licence of the Clock Tavern was transferred from George Elsmore to Charles Taylor in August 1872. However, he lasted only a matter of months. The licence was transferred to Jesse Teale in the following March. Along with his wife Hannah, he remained until the mid-1870s until moving to the Justice Inn on Scholefield Street. In the 1870s the property that would become the Black-and-White Café at No.116 was a bakery run by William Cole.

Thomas Roberts was the publican of the Clock Tavern by 1880. At this time the premises still only occupied No.115. The property next door at No.114 was occupied by the engineer Thomas Bloomer and his family. Thomas Roberts kept the Clock Tavern with his wife Eliza. The couple, along with a growing family, would later move further along Ashted Row from where he worked as a commission agent.

The listed annual ground rent for the property in 1891 was only £20.0s.0d. so the status of the Clock Tavern was fairly low. William Suckling was recorded as the owner in the rate book but Mary Wadeley was the one called upon to pay the 15s. 4d. rates on the retail beer house and premises. A trade directory for this period records her as a beer retailer at both 114 and 115, the first time I have seen the properties combined. The census of 1891 also marks the properties as one tavern run by the Herefordshire-born publican. She was assisted by her sister Kate and hired Annie Birch as a servant.

The combining of the two properties may have been the result of a lease being granted to Holder's Brewery Ltd. The company operated this house in the late Victorian era and up until they were acquired by Mitchell's and Butler's in 1919. The Cape Hill brewery leased the property rather than having the freehold. They agreed a new lease in 1930 with the owner Samuel Kington Cattell, large landowner in the region.

Henry Lloyd was the licensee of the Clock Tavern for over 30 years in the early 20th century. The former glass worker took over the tavern with his wife Emily. He continued to run the Clock Tavern after her death in 1914.

Mitchells's and Butler's Nourishing Stout Beer Label

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Working for Mitchell's and Butler's, Charles and Evelyn Rose took on the management of the Clock Tavern in 1945. Their son Charles told me in a very informative e-mail that the previous manager, William Collins, had been killed whilst attempting to deal with a bomb which had fallen locally, and therefore the licence was continued by his widow until they took over. This reference to the previous manager being killed took me to a book held in Birmingham Central Library that lists all civilian casualties during the Second World War. His name was William Joseph Collins. He was 45 and a firewatcher. He died at 100 Ashted Row on July 30th 1942. His wife Edith continued at the pub until the Rose family arrived in 1945.

Cellar Trap of the Clock Tavern

Charles told me that the pub was only licensed for ale, porter and cider and therefore any spirits were strictly under the counter for regular customers! The premises consisted of a bar, smoke-room and outdoor and was a great favourite with the young Irishmen seeking employment in post-war Birmingham. As a young lad of seven, Charles was fascinated by the dray deliveries of beer barrels and hogsheads each week, as part of the bar seating had to be removed and metal doors at street level opened to gain access to the cellar as the delivery was lowered down a steep ramp and then manhandled into position and left for 24 hours to settle before serving. In 1951 the family moved to the Old Bull's Head in Digbeth [also known as the Little Bull] next door to The Digbeth Institute where, after a period of approximately two years Charles Rose transferred to Ansell's and gained a reputation for building up trade, going on to successfully manage the following pubs in Birmingham : The Wallace in Balsall Heath, The Sheldon, The New Inn at Acock's Green, The Ashmeadow in King's Heath, The Bale of Hay at Bartley Green, The King's Head on the Hagley Road at Bearwood and The Broadway in Willenhall.

Birmingham : Former Clock Tavern on Ashted Row at Duddeston [c.1956]

William Parr was the last publican at the Clock Tavern which closed in the mid-1950s. From my photographs and with thanks to Keith Townsend I learned that the building had an alternative use for a short period. Keith wrote "in 1955 my father and his brother, having been displaced by the rebuilding of Summer Lane, took their toy wholesaling company to the de-licensed Clock Tavern, where they remained until it was demolished. Unfortunately I do not remember when it was pulled down. I do, however, remember the cellar, where stock was kept, and its very steep ramp. I also have a clear mental image of the layout of the bar and smoke-room. As a child I sustained my first injury when I ran into one of the iron rods which retained the low wall around the roof whilst playing cowboys and indians with my younger brother."

The Black-and-White Café next door to the Clock Tavern, occupying the former bakery and confectioner's shop, was run by John and Gwendoline Powell, a couple who had married in 1952. They remained here until at least 1960 so it is probably safe to assume that the former Clock Tavern survived until this date.

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Birmingham : Former Clock Tavern on Ashted Row at Duddeston [c.1956]

Licensees of the Clock Tavern

1869 - 1871 George Elsmore
1872 - 1873 Charles Taylor
1873 - Jesse Teale
1881 - Thomas Roberts
1889 - 1889 J. Walker
1889 - 1893 Mary Wadeley
1893 - J. O'Neil
1903 - 1934 Henry Lloyd
1934 - 1936 Walter Edward Bannister
1936 - 1939 Harry Nicholls
1939 - 1941 Humbert Davies
1941 - 1942 Oliver Muriel Davies
1942 - 1943 William Joseph Collins
1943 - 1945 Edith May Collins
1945 - 1951 Charles Henry Rose
1951 - 1955 William Parr
Note : this is not a complete list of licensees for this pub.

Holder's Ales & Stout

Mitchells's and Butler's : Traditional Cask Ales

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Brummagem Boozers

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