Some history of the Dog and Partridge on the corner of Ashted Row and Windsor Street at Duddeston in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire


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This is a public-house for which the research has been really fascinating. Audrey and Stuart Day, tenants of the Dog and Partridge in 2001, told me that a wig had been found in the cellar and, consequently, they suspected that the Dog and Partridge was once used as a court house. They went on to tell me that three tunnels led from the cellar and that one of them may have been connected to an old court house. This is not such an outlandish concept because public-houses in other areas have served in such a role. There are several in and around the Black Country - one in Kingswinford, for example, was used as a Court Leet. I have also visited pubs in Nottinghamshire where cellars were previously gaols - The Fox and Crown at Basford springs to mind, along with the Durham Ox at Ilkeston in Derbyshire.

For illustrative purposes only [this is NOT the wig found in the cellar of the Dog and Partridge]

It is a fact that some of the pubs in Birmingham were used for inquests or were the platform for a Coroner's Court. Despite the fact that I knew the Dog and Partridge was a really old building, I could not imagine it was ever a court house as, despite forming part of Aston, it was too close to the centre of Birmingham where legal and administration was conducted in public buildings. And yet I could not get that wig out of my mind. I simply had to get to the bottom of the mystery. Why was such an item in the cellars of the Dog and Partridge? My research for a building like this generally starts off in the mid-19th century. I then keep digging until I trace the origins of the pub. It is fairly straightforward to track back to the 1820s but then things start to get interesting and even exciting. And, after much unearthing of clues, when the trail enters the 18th century it is full of intrigue. I am pleased to report that I not only found out the origins of the Dog and Partridge, I established the origins of the wig - more of this later.

Birmingham : Map extract showing the location of the Dog and Partridge on the corner of Ashted Row and Windsor Street in Duddeston [1888]

The building is one of those corner pubs that has two addresses and, over the years, had been listed under both Ashted Row and Windsor Street. In the 21st century the pub's address was officially 128 Windsor Street South but this part of the thoroughfare was once called Upper Windsor Street, and later, simply Windsor Street. In many trade directories the house was also listed at No.52 Ashted Row.

Birmingham : Dog and Partridge on the corner of Ashted Row and Windsor Street at Duddeston [1960]

Birmingham : Dog and Partridge on the corner of Ashted Row and Windsor Street at Duddeston [1963]

The first photograph shows the pub just after the surrounding buildings had been demolished to make way for Nechells Parkway and Ashted Circus. The second image shows that between 1960 and 1962 the frontage changed significantly. In particular, the colour of the building changed and the old leaded windows were replaced. Generally, photographs of the Dog and Partride during this period show a few Co-op vehicles parked outside. No doubt the drivers were enjoying a pint after completing their deliveries. The Society's Traffic Department was to the rear of the pub. Having found an alternative use, the buildings still stand in Great Brook Street.

Never mind the wig you might say, how about the three tunnels? Certainly, the subterranean excavations are intriguing and there is no shortage of conjecture regarding their role or purpose. It is said that many of the pub cellars in Ashted had extensive tunnels. The neighbouring New Inn, a pub later known as The Graduate, had a tunnel that went under Great Lister Street. Some people think that these tunnels formed part of a defence network, particularly as they were not far from the military barracks. The area was, after all, developed when Britain was fearful of an invasion from France. Another theory is that many of the leaseholders extracted valuable clay resources beneath their buildings - the cellars of this former public-house are substantial.

Birmingham : George Penton listed at Windsor Street [1797]

With Ashted Row being developed from 1788 onwards, it is relatively easy to apply an approximate date to the Dog and Partridge. However, things can be narrowed down a little with other evidence. The first documented licensee of the Dog and Partridge would appear to be George Penton who was listed in the 1797 Trade Directory for Birmingham. When William Hutton described Ashted on May 20th 1793 there were a substantial number of properties in Windsor Street so it is likely that the pub was already built and trading by this time. However, there is no trace of a name next to this inn sign or location. Pye's 1791 Trade Directory does list two victuallers in Ashted Row and one of these could be for this building on the corner of Windsor Street but this is not certain. Of course, I need the deeds to the property but, in the absence of any further documents, I cannot look beyond George Penton.

Birmingham : Peruke-Makers in Swinney's Trade Directory [1774]

I was very keen to trace George Penton and discovered that he was born in Deritend on April 15th 1754. His parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Penton, baptised him at St. John's Church [long since demolished] on the corner of Deritend High Street and Chapel House Street. Before moving to the newly-built Ashted development, George Penton was a victualler in Cheapside. He learned the trade from his father who operated a pub in Bradford Street. As early as 1777, Thomas Penton was documented as a victualler in Bradford Street. However, prior to this he was listed as a peruke-maker in Deritend. Indeed, a number of the Penton family were peruke-makers. The term is Italian in origin - perrucca - though its use in the English language came from the French perruque. Before the widespread use of peruke, the older term was perwike, from which the word periwig is derived. The abbreviation for a periwig is, of course, wig. The wig found in the cellars of the Dog and Partridge was quite likely made by George Penton's father.

Birmingham : Inn Sign of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [2002]

George Penton chose the sign of the Dog and Partridge for his tavern - an inn sign of rural nature but the building was in those days on the very fringe of the countryside. George Penton appeared in the 1799 ratebook for Duddeston. This early document shows that the only other public-house in Upper Windsor Street was The Britannia, a fully-licensed property on the corner of Great Brook Street that later became the Army and Navy.

"Cocks Fighting" by Henri Voordecker [1779-1861] Courtesy of the Usher Gallery

Early business at the Dog and Partridge may have been slack because in a trade directory published in 1800 George Penton was listed as both a painter and victualler. It was quite common for publicans to have two trades around this period. The Dog and Partridge enjoyed bumper trade at particular times of the year because a large fair was held at the nearby Duddeston Gardens. Another popular event held at the gardens was cock-fighting - the largest, a team event battled out between gentlemen of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, was staged at Whitsuntide. A key reason for these events to be held at Duddeston was its location. Promoters writing in Aris's Gazette were keen to emphasise this. For example, in June 1758 an advertisement read: "Duddeston Hall, commonly called Vauxhall near Birmingham in Warwickshire, is now fitted up in a neat and commodious manner for the reception of Travellers; it lies in the direct road between Liverpool, Warrington, West Chester, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford; and is much nearer than going through Birmingham. It is conveniently situated for most of the great roads that pass through Birmingham, and by going this way, Gentlemen avoid riding near two miles upon the Stones; Hand with directions will be set up in proper places; All Noblemen, Gentlemen and others, that please to make use of the House, shall find good accommodations and reasonable charges, with grateful acknowledgements." The advertisement was placed by Andrew Butler who is thought to be the first person to lease the property and gardens from Sir Lister Holte.

The Dog and Partridge would have enjoyed good spin-off trade from the many events held at Duddeston Hall but this would have been sporadic. However, by the time the pub was established there was another good source of revenue nearby. A military barracks was established in the quadrant formed by Windsor Street, Great Brook Street, Barrack Street and Vauxhall Road. The barracks were completed in 1793 and accommodated 162 soldiers and their horses. The Dog and Partridge would have been a popular drinking den with many of the soldiers from the Loyal Birmingham Light Horse Volunteers who formed in 1797. Indeed prior to the construction of the barracks, the Dog and Partridge almost certainly had to accommodate officers and troops brought into the town to quash the riots of 1791 and subsequent disturbances. In the 21st century the upper floors of the building still had numbered rooms that proved it was used as a hotel.

As a prominent corner tavern, the Dog and Partridge was used as the venue for auctions in the early 19th century. The notice below of a timber auction shows that not only was the house the place of the auction but that George Penton would be available for viewings. I imagine he was on some sort of commission?

Birmingham : Timber Auction held at the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1808]

Widower George Penton married the widow Mary Pym in December 1812 at Saint Philip's Church. The couple kept the Dog and Partridge together until the death of George Penton. He was buried at Aston's parish church in January 1817.

Following the death of her husband, Mary Penton remained in charge until 1823 when the Dog and Partridge was taken over by John Reeves. His time at the house was quite brief. In June 1824 at St. Martin's Church he married the widow Mary Tidmas who, with her first husband, had been running the Anchor Inn on Bradford Street at Digbeth.

Birmingham : Advertisement for a sale of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1825]

For one reason or another the recently-married couple advertised the Dog and Partridge. It was the widow Francis Garnett that responded to the advertisement and made the move to Duddeston from The Compasses on Hurst Street. Her name appeared in the 1825 rate book for Duddeston where it lists the pub's annual rent of £15. 0s. 0d. Francis Garnett paid her rates of 7/6d. - the rates in Aston were around a third of those in Birmingham and created the impetus for people to move out to the newly created estates.

Birmingham : Notice of an Auction of Household Furniture and Effects of Charles Peters in the High Street [1833]

Francis Garnett was forced to give up the Dog and Partridge in 1833 due to failing health. She died in the following February. The new incumbent was Charles Peters who, as can be seen in the above notice, decided on a career change. The notice appeared in the newspapers early in December 1833 so there may have been a rush for the sale of straw bonnets as Christmas gifts. He and his wife Elizabeth opted to sell all the household furniture and effects of their premises on the High Street. It would seem that they intended to bring little with them to the Dog and Partridge. I would have thought that the piano would have come in handy for the entertainment of their patrons in Ashted.

Birmingham : Advertisement for an auction of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row along with adjacent properties [1836]

So far only the people renting the Dog and Partridge have been discussed. As was the case in most parts of Birmingham, plots of land were originally sold or leased to developers or speculators who would subdivide the parcel and build as many properties as possible to maximise the rents they would receive on the whole plot. This is one of the reasons for the densely-packed courts later criticised by town planners, social reformers and medical examiners.

Some parcels of land remained intact for generations. This was the reason why many large breweries held more domestic property than public-houses as, in order to snap up the taverns, they would end up having to buy the whole plot and rent out the housing. Conversely, many original parcels of land would be broken up, particularly after the death of a freeholder or one holding a long-term lease agreement. In this case, one can see that Dr. John Barnett held long leases on the pub and adjoining houses fronting both Ashted Row and Windsor Street.

When Charles and Elizabeth Peters were informed of the auction they must have had some long discussions and made some calculations. For a couple of years they had been paying the £35 rent to operate the Dog and Partridge, enough time to assess whether it would be worth bidding for the lease which had another 48 years left to run. If they won the auction they would have no more rent and an asset to sell should they decide to relinquish their interest in the property. They may have had some capital from their time trading in the High Street. Whatever, they went all in and contested the bidding for the pub and the adjoining houses. A rate book for 1842 shows that they had secured 13 properties, forming a tidy bundle from which they could receive rents from the occupiers.

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Charles Peters only enjoyed his new status as landlord for a couple of years. His health started to deteriorate and after what was called a "long and severe affliction," he died in May 1838 at the age of 45. Hailing from Twickenham, he had married Elizabeth Tite at London in 1820. His early career was spent as a coachman before the couple moved north to Birmingham. Elizabeth's father had been a straw bonnet-maker so she probably learned her craft from him, perhaps even receiving financial help to establish her own shop. The couple had two daughters and two sons, though John Charles predeceased his father.

Widow Elizabeth Peters continued to run the Dog and Partridge on her own. She fostered long-term patronage by encouraging new clubs and societies. In July 1838 the Birmingham Reform Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows No.1 established themselves at the Dog and Partridge with Benjamin Browning serving as secretary. They quickly developed a membership of seventy. To Elizabeth Peters that was seventy patrons that would help fill the cash register.

Elizabeth Peters re-married in April 1839 at Aston's parish church. Her new husband was the butcher John Wildsmith who traded from premises on the north side of Ashted Row. The marriage did not seem to affect Elizabeth Wildsmith's business arrangements and she remained as the landlady, living on the premises with her three surviving children and the daughter of John Wildsmith, along with two servants, Elizabeth Atkinson and Charles Drew.

Birmingham : Advertisement for the sale of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1842]

Elizabeth and John Wildsmith did have a daughter in the summer of 1841 but she died in infancy. Another daughter named Isabella died aged just five months during the following year. We will never know how such events affected the couple but John Wildsmith himself became gradually ill. Aged just 33 years of age, he died in July 1843. As can be seen from the above notice, Elizabeth had already put the wheels in motion to dispose of the public-house and retire from the trade. The notice stated that brewing took place on the premises on three occasions per week. Elizabeth Wildsmith would have employed a journeyman brewer in order to produce a consistent ale for her patrons.

Birmingham : Notice for the auction of the Dog and Partridge and 16 Houses Adjoining [1849]

Thomas Wells was the publican in the mid-1840s before Samuel Harrison rented the property. He was the occupier when the tavern, along with the other properties were put up for auction by the Administratix of Charles Peters, his wife having passed away. At the time of the auction the butcher's shop adjoining on Ashted Row was run by Benjamin Homer Jr. No.49 was occupied by the furniture broker Matilda Barber. John Harrison was operating from the Upper Windsor Street frontage as a furniture broker and gimblet-maker. In the court to the rear of the Dog and Partridge Samuel Sanders was making a living as a cabinet lock-maker, along with Richard Waldron who was listed as an African gun furniture manufacturer.

By the time of the next census in 1851 Irish-born Sergent Pearson was the licensee of the Dog and Partridge. The census enumerator recorded him as a 45 year-old licensed victualler and Chelsea Pensioner. He lived on the premises with his 24 year-old Coventry-born wife Elizabeth. It is possible that Sergent Pearson's last tour of duty was at the barracks further down the road, though his one year-old son Henry was born in Manchester so if this was the case he only served in Ashted's barracks for a very short period. He appeared in the 1856 rate book for Duddeston that showed the leaseholder of the property was now John Onions. He charged the Pearson couple an annual rent of £28. 0s. 0d.

Sargent and Elizabeth Pearson moved to the Train Tavern on Great Francis Street. Indeed, they had two spells at that house with an interlude at the Prince of Wales on Thimble Mill Lane at Nechells. The old solider died in 1869 but Elizabeth, some years younger, continued as a licensed victualler.

Birmingham : John Seeley Kelsey in the Aston Rate Book [1856]

It was in 1856 that the association with the Dog and Partridge and the famous Kelsey family started. The two key figures were John Seeley Kelsey and his brother Benjamin. Both were sons of Benjamin Booth Kelsey who married twice. Eldest son, John Seeley Kelsey, was the son of Lucinda Bonas whilst Benjamin was born after his father's marriage to Drusilla Stokes. Both men worked closely together and they each played a part in the story of the Dog and Partridge. It is Benjamin Kelsey that is credited with founding a brewery in Ashted, a company that would endure for another century.

Benjamin and John Seeley Kelsey initially followed in their father's footsteps and worked as brassfounders. As executors of their father's will made in 1848, they placed a notice in the local press requesting applications from any creditors. Presumably, they were left with a lump sum themselves and invested in a new future in the licensed trade coupled with brewing. It is a little confusing as to which brother was where in any given year. Trade directories list Benjamin Kelsey as the licensee in the 1850s but, as can be seen from the entry in the 1856 rate book, it was John Seeley Kelsey who was recorded as the occupier. Perhaps he was in charge of the finances? There is no doubt, however, that Benjamin Kelsey had kept the White Hart in Great Brook Street before the census enumerator caught up with him here at the Dog and Partridge in 1861. He was documented as a 34 year-old Birmingham-born licensed victualler. Also a Brummie, his wife Elizabeth, better known as Betsy, was two years younger. The couple had two children - 7 year-old Betsy and 4 year-old Clara. The Kelsey's employed two live-in servants. 20 year-old locally-born Henry Beckett was hired as a waiter. 23 year-old house servant by the name of Eliza had travelled some distance for this job - she was born in Bridgewater in Somerset.

Benjamin and Betsy Kelsey would have witnessed great excitement in the neighbourhood in March 1864 when there was an explosion at the nearby military barracks. The blast occurred in the powder magazine and killed the Quartermaster Thomas Hamilton M'Bean. The inquest was held at the Dog and Partridge a few days later. The dead man was 55 years of age, a married man with six children. When several soldiers gained access to the magazine it was stated that the Quartermaster was "a shapeless mass," the clothing on his upper body being "smouldered with fire." The outer door of the magazine had been blown off its hinges as there was a considerable amount of ammunition deposited by The Greys and the Birmingham Rifle Volunteers. It was estimated that some 400-500 rounds had exploded. Having served for over three decades, the Quartermaster was due to retire on the Thursday after the accident. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned by the jury.

Many public-houses in Birmingham produced their own ales up to the mid-19th century - one of the popular drinks was a strong, dark, sweet mild. However, the beers could vary considerably from brew to brew, due in part to the lack of training, cleanliness, poor quality malt, hops and contaminated water. However, ales produced in larger ale houses such as the Dog and Partridge were generally superior because of the greater economies of scale they could derive. Increased competition and the dissemination of brewing skills between established ale houses were other key factors.

Birmingham : John Seeley Kelsey in Morris's Commercial Directory [1866]

The spring water around Ashted was well regarded and ideal for brewing. Benjamin Kelsey proved to be a very successful brewer and, in what is known today as vertical integration, he also became a maltster and hop merchant supplying a number of other pubs in the area. Such was his success in this field, he decided to concentrate his efforts in brewing, handing over the running of the Dog and Partridge to John Seeley Kelsey. In the 1860 Post Office Directory for Birmingham he was listed as a bell and brassfounder based at 60 Ashted Row. By the time he took over the Dog and Partridge he had diversified and, in addition to making call and alarm bells, he was also manufacturing letter and invoice clips. The licence of the Dog and Partridge was transferred from Benjamin Kelsey to John Seeley Kelsey in December 1866.

In the 1871 census John Seeley Kelsey was documented as a 51 year-old licensed victualler. His wife Emily was two years younger and, together, they had five young children living with them at the pub - Seeley, Minnie, Kate and Herbert. They had an eight year-old daughter named Clara but she was living with her uncle and aunt, John and Mary Reddell, who were running the White Hart on Cromwell Street. I mention this because the White Hart would later become the home of John Seeley Kelsey after his time at the Dog and Partridge.

The Duddeston and Nechells rate book compiled in 1871 shows that Benjamin Kelsey operated a maltroom at the rear of No.155. The building, along with the maltroom of the Gas House Tavern at the north end of Windsor Street, was owned by John Whitehouse. The Dog and Partridge however remained the property of James Onions. He charged John Seeley Kelsey an annual rent of £45. 0s. 0d. for the property. John Kelsey paid his rates of £1. 10s. 0d. in full. During his spell here John Seeley Kelsey issued his own tavern checks. A firm called Pope manufactured them for the Kelsey family.

John Seeley Kelsey eventually acquired the lease of the Dog and Partridge. Indeed, the successful brewing business enabled the Kelsey family to develop a modest estate of public-houses, including the nearby Ashted Tavern on the corner of Henry Street, along with the aforementioned White Hart in Cromwell Street. John Seeley Kelsey moved from the Dog and Partridge to the latter shortly before his death on October 5th 1878. His will was proved by Benjamin Kelsey and John Reddell and valued at £4,000, an substantial sum of money for the period and a measure of his success in business.

Benjamin Kelsey was growing his brewery enterprise but still hands-on with taverns. In 1871 he was listed at the Old Nelson on Great Lister Street. He was recorded as a maltster employing four men. The maltings remained in Windsor Street for some years whilst brewing was moved to Henry Street, probably by George Seeley Kelsey, son of Benjamin. He had learned the art of malting at an early age and was assisting in the business when living at the Old Nelson Inn.

Birmingham : Brewery Tray for Kelsey's of Henry Street [Courtesy of Richard Percival]

This brewery tray, courtesy of Richard Percival, is a real beauty. Kelsey's grew steadily and the pubs they operated included the Apple Tree Inn on Dudley Street, The Beehive in Bagot Street, Builders' Arms on Nelson Street at Ladywood, Roebuck Inn at Erdington, The Clock on Milton Street, Crescent Hill Tavern on Edward Street, Shepherd and Shepherdess at Heneage Street and the Trees Hotel on Bath Row.

The Kelsey-owned enterprise traded steadily but, perhaps under threat from the larger breweries, merged with H. E. Thornley of Leamington Spa in 1933, the new firm trading as Thornley Kelsey Ltd. By this time the Kelsey family had scattered across the Midlands. Philip G. Kelsey had moved to Windward at Lapworth, whilst Benjamin G. Kelsey took up residence at Lynthurst Hill at Barnt Green.

The company eventually moved all brewing to Leamington. When they decided to concentrate on their wine wholesaling operations in 1968, Thornley Kelsey closed the brewery and sold their estate of 68 tied-houses, most of which were snapped up by Davenport's Brewery Ltd. of Bath Row.

Following his retirement Benjamin George Kelsey moved to Morocco with his wife, the author Dallas Kenmare. The former brewery chairman died near Tangier in 1969.

Birmingham : Sale of Fittings and Glass after alterations to the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1873]

Meanwhile, back at the Dog and Partridge .... I chanced upon this advertisement that appeared in October 1873 but it is an important find as it shows that the Kelsey family made some alterations to the frontage and refurbished the interior.

Birmingham : Notice for an auction of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1878]

I am not sure why the Dog and Partridge was not retained following the death of John Seeley Kelsey, perhaps members of the family wanted some cash, Whatever, instructions were given to sell the house by auction on Halloween 1878. A 21-year lease was offered, along with the licenses and goodwill of the Dog and Partridge.

Birmingham : Sale of Household Furniture at the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1878]

Further alterations were to be made at the Dog and Partridge after George Ainge won the auction and succeeded John Seeley Kelsey as licensee in 1878. For a good number of years the retail brewer and his wife Jane had kept the Saint Luke's Tavern on Saint Luke's Road at Highgate. Whatever big plans the couple had for the Dog and Partridge they did not come to fruition. Perhaps they preferred the Highgate and Lee Bank area because, after only a couple of years, they moved to the Swan Inn on Bell Barn Road.

George Ainge advertised the Dog and Partridge in May 1880, describing the house as having a "lofty and costly plate-glass front in the modern style," with "comfortable smoke room, tap room, private parlour, kitchens, large club room, twelve chambers, stable, brewery, wash-house, coal-house, malt room, out-offices and excellent ale and liquor cellars." He gave his reason for sale as ill-health but he was running the Swan Inn by the following year.

Thomas Phipps was the highest bidder at the auction and became the next licensee of the Dog and Partridge. The publican, who had previously run the Rose and Crown on Cleveland Street, was born in the Northamptonshire village of Gayton in 1841. Two years younger, his wife Mary Ann hailed from Gloucester. Born in Worcester, nephew Thomas Perrett worked as a barman and lived on the premises. Two nieces, 9 year-old Diana and 4 year-old Emily also lived here.

Thomas and Mary Ann Phipps remained at the Dog and Partridge until 1889 when he and his family moved to the Clock Tavern in Caroline Street. Ironically, that had already been a Henry Mitchell pub for some 12 years. And 1889 marks the year that Henry Mitchell enters the story of the Dog and Partridge. The Cape Hill-based brewery took over the lease of the property, installed Edward Johnson as licensee, and immediately set about some fashionable improvements to the building.

Smethwick : Henry Mitchell of Mitchell's and Butler's at Cape Hill

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Sadly, the takeover of the Dog and Partridge by a major brewer meant that there would be no more homebrewed ales or anything produced by the Kelsey family.

Birmingham : Sale of Brewing Plant at the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [1889]

In July 1889 Henry Mitchell ordered a sale of the brewing plant held at the Dog and Partridge. Over the next decade there would be a glut of old brewing plant as more and more pubs were bought by the big breweries. Prices for equipment probably hit rock-bottom. Here at the Dog and Partridge there was no need for the billiards table either.

The Livery Street-based architect Henry Naden was commissioned by Henry Mitchell to draw up the plans for modifications to the Dog and Partridge. Naden was responsible for some of Birmingham's architectural jewels such as The Woodman on Easy Row and The Yorkshire Grey on Dudley Road. Mitchell's did not require a brand new building to replace the old Dog and Partridge but simply wanted to bring it into line with the contemporary trends of the period. Another factor was the brewery were establishing what we would call today a "corporate image."

Birmingham : Building Plan of alterations to the Dog and Partridge by Henry Naden [1890]

The work on the Dog and Partridge was completed in two parts. The plans for the ground floor modernisation were drawn up on February 20th 1890 and other alterations were designed two months later and approved on April 21st 1890. Work on the ground floor involved propping up the upper floors and demolishing the old exterior walls. The fashion during the late 19th century was for elaborate wooden façades. Support for the upper part of the building was by way of wrought-iron beams and slim brick columns faced with carved wood pilasters and bargeboards. This design facilitated large windows and openings that have since become synonymous with public-houses of the Victorian age. However, it was only during the 1880s that these glass plate palaces were created by the architect's pencil. The main entrance to the public bar was always on the corner. The back bar was an important feature of the newly-designed pubs. They were invariably imposing, or monumental, mahogany structures. Usually with a pediment clock, they incorporated glass and mirrors to create added depth to the room and also to attract pedestrians walking past those large windows.

Another shared characteristic was the floor plan. The floor area of the saloon bar was extended and had a long counter to maximise sales. An observer of the day criticised the way the breweries had banished the parlour and tap-room and lamented that "most modern houses have converted bars where the customer must come like a bucket to the well and fill himself and go away again." The interiors however concur with the new class divisions of the Victorians and the multi-roomed pub remained fashionable. Looking at the plans for the Dog and Partridge, one can see how the main bar was divided into four separate areas with the use of so-called snob screens. The smaller smoke-room was more luxurious and accessed by a separate entrance dividing it from the public bar. This well-appointed type of room was popular with businessman and, perhaps more significantly, women. The birth of social classes had inadvertently ushered in market segmentation for the breweries.

Edward Johnson did not stay long at the Dog and Partridge, perhaps the building work all got a bit much for him. In January 1890 the licence was transferred to George Wilkes. However, he and his wife had gone by the end of the year. They moved to the Bell on Phillips Street. They were succeeded by Paul Harvey. In the 1891 census he was recorded as a widower. He kept the pub along with 26 year-old widow Mary Calloway who hailed from Bilston in the Black Country. Paul Harvey had a ten month-old son called William. He was also born in Bilston, as was Eliza Calloway, 7 year-old daughter of Mary Calloway. There is a story in here somewhere! 17 year-old Stourbridge-born Cornelius Dreury was employed as a barman and 15 year-old local lass Ellen Griffiths was hired as a live-in domestic servant.

The rate books of 1891 and 1896 show a marked increase in the levy imposed on properties in the area. In 1891 the rate was just £3. 18s. 9d. whilst five years later it had risen to £8. 11s. 10d. reflecting perhaps the improvements in the roads and sanitation by the local authorities. Paul Harvey moved to the White Tower in Lawley Street before going to the Adelphi Stores on Lower Temple Street.

Former brewer Alfred Toy was granted the licence of the Dog and Partridge in August 1894. He was quickly followed by former metal dealer George Honywood. He switched sides and went to the Brewer and Baker at St. James's Place, a boozer operated by the Holt Brewery Company. He was probably related to William and Mary Honywood who kept the Royal Oak up the road.

Henry Mitchell meanwhile, who before the acquisition of the Dog and Partridge, formed a partnership with Herbert G. Bainbridge and incorporated as a private company, merged with William Butler's Crown Brewery in 1898. With the Cape Hill brewery site offering much more potential in terms of expansion and also enjoying its good pure water supply from its Artesian Well, Henry Mitchell and William Butler made the decision to transfer production of the Crown Brewery on Broad Street and concentrate all beer production at Smethwick. Consequently, the last couple of years of the 19th century saw new beers being introduced to the counter of the Dog and Partridge.

Mitchells's and Butler's Nourishing Stout Beer Label

The new century brought a new landlord in former cabinet-maker William Kitson. In the 1901 census he was documented as a public-house manager. He was born in the Black Country town of Lye in 1861. One year older, his wife Clara worked as a coffin furniture worker. She, like all three of their children, was born in Birmingham. The eldest was 19 year-old Florence who worked as a bicycle-maker, as did 15 year-old William. At 13, George was the youngest. By the end of the Edwardian period William Kitson had returned to his old trade and was living in Nechells Park Road.

George Green was here for a brief spell before moving to the Royal Elephant on Aston Road. The regular turnover of publicans was halted in 1906 by George and Alice Reeves who kept the pub for twenty-three years. They were succeeded by James and Winifred Partridge in 1929. New beer engines were also fitted in the pub during the same year. In April 1937 and May 1938 new stainless steel piping to the hand-pulls were installed and I assume this lasted until the bitter end. During the years leading up to the Second World War, and indeed for the first year of the conflict, the Dog and Partridge was run by Charles and Gladys Hall. This couple had previously kept the Gardeners' Arms in Woodcock Street.

In 1939 some of the adjoining properties, also owned by Mitchell's and Butler's were demolished. Many other properties in the surrounding streets were also destroyed - but by the Luftwaffe's bombs rather than the cranes of Birmingham City Council. The greatest loss was the Church of St. James the Less in Barrack Street, the former mansion of Dr. John Ash that was converted into a place of worship in 1789. The building had been restored between 1887-9 but the bombs put it beyond repair and the ruins were eventually cleared in 1956. Mitchell's and Butler's did not seem to get up to speed with protecting their publicans for the Dog and Partridge's trench shelter was only constructed in 1941. Leonard Parry and Alfred Hopkins may have huddled in this before handing over the keys to William and Elizabeth Phillips who stayed at the pub until 1948.

Birmingham : Frontage of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row at Duddeston [1960]

Duddeston and Nechells were among the first areas to be earmarked for redevelopment following the war. The old terraces and courtyards were cleared to make way for new maisonette developments and other properties were demolished for the proposed Nechells Parkway. Ashted Row, a road that once boasted ten pubs and four breweries, was almost wiped from the map. The Dog and Partridge represented just about the only fragment of the old road. The couples running the pub during this transitional period included Alfred and Gladys Goodman, John and Irene Harris, Horace and Evelyn Lewis, Clarence and Sylvia Killion, and Stanley and Elizabeth White.

Birmingham : Windsor Street Entrance to the Dog and Partridge [2002]

The 1960s was a turbulent decade for the pub and many licensees came and went. Robert Tiggart was succeeded in 1975 by Terry and Catherine Hale who stayed for five years before handing over to Terence and Lynda Poyner. Ownership of the pub also changed in more recent years. The lanterns above the door remained in Gibbs Mew livery but it was owned by Bass before the Centric Pub Company of Radford, Nottinghamshire, became the operators.

Birmingham : Audrey and Stuart Day at the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [2002]

Audrey and Stuart Day arrived in the summer of 2001 and the licence was transferred to Audrey Day on August 16th of that year. Locally born, and possessing a keen sense of history, this couple were proud custodians of Ashted's sole surviving historical pub. I found them to be a pleasant couple and wanted them to enjoy their time here. However, I failed to see how they could restore the fortunes of the Dog and Partridge. They seemed to have a few regular drinkers but the task of bringing in hundreds of new customers to what was a tired pub just seemed impossible. The pubco had decorated the pub in an awful way and there was no sense of the building's antiquity when sat inside the building. Even the traditional furniture had been removed. It was not too long before they moved to The Woodman on Albert Street where I hope they had a better time of it.

And to finish off my potted history of the Dog and Partridge, here are a couple of photographs of the interior during 2002. It looks fairly awful but any view inside the building is better than none at all...

Birmingham : Bar of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [2002]

Birmingham : Lounge of the Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row [2002]

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Birmingham : The Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row at Duddeston [2002]

Licensees of the Dog and Partridge

1797 - 1817 George Penton
1817 - 1823 Mary Penton
1823 - 1825 John Reeves
1825 - 1833 Francis Garnett
1833 - 1838 Charles Peters
1838 - 1839 Elizabeth Peters
1839 - 1844 Elizabeth Wildsmith
1844 - 1848 Thomas Wells
1848 - 1851 Samuel Harrison
1851 - 1856 Sergent Pearson
1856 - 1867 Benjamin Kelsey
1867 - 1878 John Seeley Kelsey
1878 - 1880 George Ainge
1880 - 1889 Thomas Phipps
1889 - 1890 Edward Johnson
1890 - 1890 George Harry Wilkes
1891 - 1894 Paul William Harvey
1894 - 1894 Alfred N. Toy
1894 - 1895 George Henry Honywood
1895 - 1896 George Teale
1896 - 1898 Henry Kemp
1898 - 1900 Henry Wilding
1900 - 1901 William Kitson
1901 - 1904 Henry S. Griffiths
1904 - 1905 George Green
1905 - 1906 Richard Clarke
1906 - 1929 George Reeves
1929 - 1935 James Partridge
1935 - 1940 Charles Leslie Hall
1940 - 1941 Leonard George Parry
1941 - 1943 Alfred Ernest Hopkins
1943 - 1948 William David Phillips
1948 - 1950 Alfred Goodman
1950 - 1954 John Wallace Harris
1954 - 1955 Horace Charles Lewis
1955 - 1956 Clarence John Shillion
1956 - 1957 Gordon Frank Martin
1957 - 1959 Stanley William White
1959 - 1959 Francis George Jennings
1959 - 1959 John Coton
1959 - 1962 Leslie Thomas Weston
1962 - 1965 Ronald George Thos. Higgins
1965 - 1966 John James Walker
1966 - 1967 John Clarke
1967 - 1968 Harold William Hayes
1968 - 1969 Leonard Stanley Pitt
1969 - 1970 William Edward Bayley
1970 - 1975 Robert Tiggart
1975 - 1980 Terry William Hale
1980 - 1982 Terence Douglas Poyner
1982 - 1983 Thomas Arthur West
1983 - 1983 Roy Harold Smith
1983 - 1984 Michael Oliver Browne
1984 - 1985 Robert Edward Archer
1985 - 1985 Jacqueline Ann Rees
1985 - 1986 Keith Rennison
1986 - 1993 Harry Wilson
1993 - 1999 Desmond Harkin
1999 - 2001 Kelly Marie Flaherty
2001 - Audrey Jane Marian Day
Note : The dates of early licensees are sourced from trade directories, census data, electoral rolls, rate books and newspaper articles. Names taken from trade directories may be slightly inaccurate as there is some slippage from publication dates and the actual movement of people.

Birmingham : The Dog and Partridge on Ashted Row at Duddeston [2002]

Related Newspaper Articles

"On Saturday last, an inquest was held the Dog and Partridge, Ashted Row, before J. B. Davies, Esq., M. D., the newly-appointed coroner, on the body a man named Henry Cape, who hung himself on the previous Thursday. It appeared from the evidence that a woman named Sarah Smith, who lodged in the house of the deceased, that for some time past he bad been in a bad state of health, and occasionally kept his bed. About two months ago, she heard him upbraid his wife with improper conduct, and express a wish that a man who lodged in the house might be removed. He said he should not allow that man to remain in his house any longer, making him unhappy. He told his wife that he was her lawful husband, and asked her what she meant. If she wanted to be a widow, she had only to say the word, for he cared no more about his life than the life of fly. The wife of the deceased stated, that on Thursday her husband was very ill. He got out bed and came downstairs, where he remained a short while, and then went up to bed again. She helped him up the stairs, and left him safe in bed. In about two hours after, she went up to see him, when she found him suspended from the bed post by a cord, which he had fastened round his neck. He was cut down, but life was extinct. A brother of the deceased deposed that he had visited him several times during his illness, and found him in a disturbed state of mind. His manner was singular, and his observations rather incoherent. The jury returned a verdict of temporary insanity."
Birmingham Journal : May 25th 1839 Page 4

"On Wednesday week, a bricklayer named John Hunt, residing in a court in Windsor Street, Ashted, expired from the effects of a slight fall he received a few days previously. At the inquest held on his body on Saturday last, at the Dog and Partridge in the same locality, it was stated by the wife of the deceased, that about seven o'clock on the morning of Friday week, she arose, leaving her husband, who was subject to epileptic fits, in bed. About eight o'clock, hearing a noise in the bedroom, she went up, and found her husband lying on the floor, with a small wound over his left eye. She assisted him to rise, when he stated that he had fallen down in an insensible state, and had struck his head against the chair in his descent. Little notice was afterwards taken of the occurrence, but on the following day the deceased became very unwell, being seized with a succession of fits. Mr. Hadley, surgeon, was sent for, and attended him personally or by his assistant up to the period of his death, which ensued from inflammation of the brain, produced, in all probability by the injury he had sustained. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned."
"Singular Death from a Fall"
Birmingham Journal : February 8th 1851 Page 7

"An inquest was held on Monday evening, at the Dog and Partridge, Ashted Row, on the death of John William Pratt, aged two years and seven months. The deceased, whose parents reside in Francis Street, Ashted Row, was left on the door step of the house, on Saturday, whilst his mother went on an errand, and in the meantime ran across the street, when he was overtaken by a butcher's cart, and knocked down. The injuries, which were internal, resulted in death a short time afterwards. No blame being attributable to the driver of the cart, the jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."
"A Boy Run Over"
Aris's Birmingham Gazette : August 11th 1860 Page 6

"Last night, the Borough Coroner [Dr. Birt Davies[, held an inquest at the Dog and Partridge, Ashted Row, touching the death of Frederick Dennis Lalan, aged 18, who had resided at 182 Dartmouth Street. On Monday last, shortly before noon, the deceased was seen by a youth named Benjamin Rob, at a coal yard in Upper Windsor Street, attending to his master's horse, which was kept in a stable in the same yard. The youth had occasion to leave the yard for the purpose of delivering some coal at a customer's house, and upon his return, after an absence of about fifteen minutes, he found the deceased hanging by a whip-thong from a nail in the stable wall, the whip-thong being fastened round his neck. The youth immediately raised an alarm, and a man named Steward came and cut the deceased down, but he was by this time quite dead. As to whether deceased committed suicide or not there was no evidence to show. It was the opinion of Mary Franco, at whose house the deceased had lodged for a considerable time, that he was "acting or romancing," by which witness meant that he was probably trying the experiment of hanging himself without the intention of destroying himself. She did not believe that he had hanged himself on purpose. She had noticed nothing peculiar in his manner, neither had the youth who saw him just previous to his death, but he seemed in perfectly "good spirits." The Coroner, in summing up, dwelt upon the opinion of the witness as being a very probable occurrence, and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
"The Alleged Suicide in Windsor Street"
Birmingham Daily Gazette : January 14th 1870 Page 3

"Thomas Phipps, landlord of the Dog and Partridge, licensed-house, Windsor Street, was summoned for keeping open during prohibited hours. Mr. Ansell [Messrs. Ansell and Ashford] defended. Police-Constable H. Davis stated that he watched the defendant's house on Sunday morning, and between seven and eight o'clock 42 persons went up the entry leading to defendant's back premises. Defendant's potman came out, and went to a shop adjoining. When he returned witness followed him, and saw the defendant pushing three men out of the house. Witness went into the house, and saw traces of jugs having been recently used. Defendant told the men he would not serve any more. Police-Constable Mayhew gave corroborative evidence. Mr. Ansell argued that the Bench were asked to assume certain things on unsupported statements. Defendant did not deny that a man was in the house. He was a labourer, who had been working at the defendant's house on the previous day, and had come to find a basket he had left behind. Defendant had given this man a drink of beer. The defendant was sworn, and denied that any person was served in the house at the time mentioned. The entry, up which the persons passed, was a near cut between Ashted Row and Windsor Street, and was largely used. The Bench thought the case proved, and imposed a fine of 40s. and costs."
"Licensing Prosecution"
Birmingham Mail : June 6th 1888 Page 3

"At Chester, this morning, a man named Thomas Pearce, who gave his address as the Dog and Partridge, Ashted Row, Birmingham, was, on the evidence of Manchester detectives, sentenced to three months' hard labour for unlawfully "frequenting" near the racecourse yesterday. The Chief Constable said that the prisoner was known as "Tommy the Guesser." He was the biggest scoundrel who ever set foot on racecourse, and was a perfect terror to bookmakers. He was hunted out of the country to America, and had come back to start his old game."
"A Birmingham Man's Bad Character"
Birmingham Mail : May 3rd 1899 Page 2

"A young man named David Acton, of Francis Street, Ashted, was charged at today's Birmingham Police Court with wilfully smashing a window in the Dog and Partridge public-house, Ashted, late on Saturday night. Prisoner called for a drink, but was refused on account of his condition. He then became very noisy and, picking up a bucket, flung it at a plate-glass window, causing damage to the amount of £4. 10s. He ran away, but information was given, and Police-Constable Frith went to prisoner's house and spoke to his brother. While he was doing so, prisoner under the impression that the officer was going to arrest his brother, blurted out. "Well, I'm not going to see my brother punished innocently. I smashed the window with a bucket." Prisoner now said he was the worse for drink at the time. He was fined 1s. and ordered to pay the amount of damage, in default one month's hard labour."
"Not Too Drunk To Save His Brother"
Birmingham Mail : December 5th 1904 Page 4

Mitchells's and Butler's : Traditional Cask Ales

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