Some history of the Greyhound Inn on King William Street at Amblecote in the County of Staffordshire


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Amblecote : Greyhound Inn on King William Street [c.1962]

This photograph, taken around 1962, shows that the Greyhound Inn was operated by Butler's Springfield Brewery of Wolverhampton. By this time however, the company had become part of the Mitchell's and Butler's empire. Note the enamel sign to the left of the front door - it was advertising "M&B Mild - It's Marvellous Beer."

Amblecote : Etched-Glass Window of the Greyhound Inn on King William Street [c.1962]

Thought to date from around 1850, the Greyhound Inn was located at No.92, and later No.97 King William Street, on the south side of the thoroughfare. In 2007 the building still stood and was in front of the factory unit occupied by the steel firm C. Brown and Sons. I presume the building was owned by them - the windows were boarded up but I wondered if the nice old Butler's etched-glass window was still in place? I stuck my head inside to enquire. The building seemed to be acting as an office for the steel firm but the person that greeted me was unsure if the old glass was still in place.

Amblecote : Map extract showing the location of the Greyhound Inn on King William Street [1884]

The lower half of King William Street was first laid out and developed around 1846. Indeed the school on the corner of Hill Street was erected in this year. This helps to put a date to the Woodman Inn, Hope and Anchor Inn, and the Greyhound Inn, though of course, buildings tended to be erected piecemeal in the years following a thoroughfare's creation. The upper half of King William Street, along with side streets were a little later in development, lots of land being advertised in 1853.

Most thoroughfares named King William Street throughout the UK commemorated King William IV. However, it is thought that this example was named after the claymaster William King, resident of Amblecote Hall, until his death on March 16th, 1850. He supplied the yellow firebricks for the construction of Holy Trinity Church.

An early publican here, George Palmer issued his own tavern checks to the value of three pennies. These were manufactured by a die-sinking firm in Saint Paul's Square, Birmingham, owned by Edwin Cottrill. Licensee George Palmer was himself from Birmingham and was a flint glass-cutter by trade. Moving from Beauty Bank [between Stourbridge and Wollaston], he kept the Greyhound Inn with his Stourbridge-born wife Sarah. Despite having three children, the Palmer's supplemented their income by taking in lodgers. It is perhaps surprising that the beer house did not have a name related to the glass industry. In the mid-19th century most of the pub's neighbours - and customers - were engaged in the glass trade.

After eight years at the Greyhound Inn, George and Sarah Palmer moved to the Old Dial Inn on Audnam.

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During the late 19th century the Greyhound Inn was owned by George Robinson of Hartlebury. Given the close proximity of the plot occupied by the Greyhound Inn [see map extract above] and the Dennis Iron Works, that this was the ironfounder George Robinson who had previously lived at Park Field House at Coalbournbrook. Indeed, when a tenant was sought for the Greyhound Inn during 1888, applicants had to enquire to his son Thomas William Robinson, who had continued to operate the Dennis Iron Works.

William Lloyd was tenant and licensee of the beer house in 1871. Born in Wordsley in 1855, he lived on the premises with his widowed father William. Born in Dudley, William senior changed his name during his lifetime as he was earlier recorded as Llewellyn. The surname suggested it, but the first name confirms that the Lloyd's originated from the other side of Offa's Dyke. Licensee William grew up in Dennis Park, the locale that Llewellyn and Louisa Lloyd had moved to soon after it was developed. After leaving the licensed trade William Lloyd moved to Old Hill from where he earned a living as a sewing machine salesman and also acted as a debt collector. An interesting case perhaps of "pay up or I'll use a sewing machine on you."

William Lloyd was succeeded at the Greyhound Inn by Stourbridge-born Edward Perry who grafted during daylight hours as a furnaceman whilst his wife Esther looked after the beer house. Born in Cradley in 1839, she also had the task of looking after two sons and two daughters. At least the school run was not arduous as the building was on the other side of King William Street.

The Perry's had lived in Amblecote Lane during the early years of their marriage but spent some years living in nearby Collis Street before taking over the Greyhound Inn. They remained in King William Street after leaving the licensed trade but settled in Dennis Street. Edward Perry was working as a night watchman towards the end of his life.

Amblecote : Extract from the licence register showing George Male [1884-5]

This extract from the licence register shows how important such records are. Without such a document George Male would have gone under the radar as he only held the licence for a short spell between December 1884 and June 1885. The boiler plate-shearer, along with his wife Jane, were already residents of King William Street.

Hezekiah Spears took over the licence of the Greyhound Inn on June 18th 1885. The son of a millwright at Camp Hill, the glassmaker was born in Wollaston in 1859. He married Myrah Walker in 1882 and, following their spell in King William Street, moved to Birmingham where he worked as a glass blower.

Hezekiah Spears was succeeded by another glassmaker from Camp Hill. Granville Corfield kept the Greyhound Inn with his Bristol-born wife Sarah. Like Hezekiah Spears before him, Granville Corfield moved with his family to Birmingham where he worked as a glass blower.

Benjamin Sedgley took over in 1890 - he later became synonymous with the Builders' Arms in Brettell Lane. When he left King William Street he must have fitted a revolving door because landlords came and went in rapid fashion. George Bowen was the publican at the time of the 1901 census. Born in Stourbridge in 1865, he also worked as a wood moulder. Four years younger, his wife Martha Jane hailed from Stourport. The couple's eldest son Frederick also worked as a moulder in wood.

The Greyhound was acquired by North Worcestershire Breweries Ltd. in 1897 but the pub returned to freehold status when the incumbent Walter Salt bought the property in 1904. In the same year he was fined £2.15s.0d. when his wife sold some beer to Valentine Timmins, who was drunk. The son of a hairdresser, Walter Salt was born in Dudley around 1878. He learned about brewing whilst living with his brother-in-law, John Foley, a brewer's maltster. He married Emily Bellingham at Stourbridge in July 1901. This would have been an ideal time to patronise the Greyhound Inn as Walter and Emily Salt were selling homebrewed ales produced by Albert Welsh who lived on the premises. After two decades running the Greyhound Inn, the couple moved to run the Acorn Inn on Brettell Lane.

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Walter and Emily Salt were succeeded by Reuben Henry and Emily Shaw-Batchford. The publican had grown up in the Royal Exchange on Temple Street at West Bromwich, a beer house kept by his parents. Indeed, he succeeded his father, also named Reuben, as licensee of that house in 1908. In the previous year he had married Emily Davis at Saint Chrysostom's Church at Hockley. Reuben Batchford died in 1924 and, after running the pub until the following year, Emily moved to Bilston where she kept the Blankmakers's Arms at Greenscroft.

It is thought that brewing on the premises continued until 1934 when Thomas Bywater sold the Greyhound Inn to William Butler & Co. Ltd. of the Springfield Brewery at Wolverhampton. The company's first licensee was William Waldron. For a brief period the pub sold beers produced by Eley's of Stafford, a company that had been acquired by Butler's in 1928.

William and Mary Manley kept the Greyhound Inn during the Second World War. The couple had previously run the Old Bush Inn on Pedmore Road at Woodside, a house owned by Millward Brothers Limited of the Albrighton Maltings.

When Zachariah Dawes was the licensee, the Greyhound Inn gained a full licence on April 25th 1951. The pub held a billiard licence until 1959. The licensee between 1953 and 1956 was Walter Hickman. I bumped into an old fellow in the street in 2009 - he used to drink in the Greyhound many moons ago. He remembered Walter Hickman. He told me that the publican's dad used to keep the Waterloo Inn at Brierley Hill and that Walter also managed another pub in Wollaston - he thought it was the Barley Mow Inn. I have checked the Waterloo connection and, indeed, his dad was the licensee between 1923-31. On checking Wollaston, Walter Hickman did run a pub there, but it was the Gate Hangs Well. Sometimes these chance encounters turn up some really useful facts. The trouble is that the people who used these pubs are gradually disappearing and these first-hand experiences are fading away.

When England won the World Cup the Greyhound Inn was kept by Ethel Denbury. During the Second World War she lived on the High Street with her husband who worked a bus driver. She had previously run the Golden Lion, a pub on Beauty Bank known as Katie Fitzgerald's in the 21st century. The Denbury family were involved with a number of public-houses in the area. On leaving the Greyhound Inn, Ethel handed over to her daughter-in-law, Doris. Ethel later lived at the Queen's Head, a pub on Enville Street run by her son Francis. She died there in July 1983.

It was during Doris Denbury's second spell of running The Greyhound that the house closed on September 17th 1982. A note in the licence register stated that Mitchell's and Butler's did not require a renewal for 1983.

Licensees of the Greyhound Inn

1862 - 1870 George Palmer
1870 - 1876 William Henry Lloyd
1876 - 1884 Edward Perry
1884 - 1885 George Male
1885 - 1888 Hezekiah Spears
1888 - 1890 Granville Corfield
1890 - 1895 Benjamin Sedgley
1895 - 1896 Tom Caleb Beard
1896 - 1897 William Lyth
1897 - 1898 Thomas Lawrence
1898 - 1898 Alfred Burton
1898 - 1899 William Partridge
1899 - 1902 George Bowen
1902 - 1923 Walter Salt
1923 - 1924 Reuben Henry Shaw Batchford
1924 - 1925 Emily Jane Shaw Batchford
1925 - 1934 Thomas Bywater
1934 - 1936 William James Waldron
1936 - 1937 Ernest Fellows
1937 - 1938 Malcolm Lees Gorman
1938 - 1949 William Thomas Manley
1949 - 1953 Zachariah Edward Dawes
1953 - 1956 Walter Bertram Hickman
1956 - 1962 Joseph Tallet
1962 - 1969 Ethel Maria Denbury
1969 - 1970 Doris May Denbury
1970 - 1980 Alice Elizabeth Cartwright
1980 - 1982 Robert Graham Charles Carter
1982 - 1982 Arthur Denis Jones
1982 - 1982 Doris May Denbury
Note : this is almost a complete list of licensees for this pub. The only grey area being the actual date of opening and if anybody kept the house prior to George Palmer. The listing for 1870 to 1983 is complete and accurate as these names are sourced from licensing records and brewery property books. These records are hand-written and I have done my best to transcribe them accurately, though some scribbles of the clerks can be hard to determine.

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Related Newspaper Articles

"Yesterday, at the Public Office, George Palmer, landlord of the Greyhound Inn, Amblecote, was charged with permitting drinking in his house during prohibited hours. The defendant keeps a beer shop, and on the 20th instant Police-Constable Freeman visited his premises. The officer stated that he found seven or eight children dancing to the music of the fiddle, in the smoke room, at twenty minutes past eleven o'clock. Two women were in the passage, and one of them named Bruce, had a jug full of beer in her hand. Several witnesses were called, including Mrs. Bruce, and they swore that the children were particular friends of the landlord, and a little farewell party was being carried out when the officers entered. Five of the children were about to join, next morning, their parents in Scotland. No beer had been drawn from a quarter to eleven, and Mrs. Bruce had neither jug nor beer. She was in the passage, watching the young folks dancing. The magistrates said the evidence was so conflicting that they did not feel justified in convicting the defendant. Mr. Freer, who defended, said he should prosecute the policemen for perjury. The same officer then preferred a charge of permitting gambling against the defendant. He stated that when he went to serve the summons in the first case he heard bagatelle-playing in another room, and listened. A game finished, and a quart of porter went in. He heard a challenge given for another game. Mr. Perry called three witnesses for the defence; but they admitted so much, and contradicted each other on such important points, that the Bench felt the case was proved. Fined £3. and costs."
"Hard Swearing"
Birmingham Daily Gazette : May 31st 1870 Page 8

"Walter Salt, landlord of the Greyhound Inn, King William Street, Amblecote. was charged with selling liquor to a drunken person. Mr. J. W. Clulow appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. H. Collis for the defence. In his opening statement Mr. Clulow explained that on June 11th. two brothers, John and Valentine Timmins, were fighting in High Street, Amblecote. Police-Sergeant Biddulph and Police-Constable Smith went to them, on which they went away. Later in the evening Valentine Timmins went to the Greyhound, where Sergeant Biddulph found him drunk and with a bottle of beer in his pocket. Mr. Clulow called Police-Sergeant Biddulph in support of this statement. Witness said he spoke to Mrs. Salt, who said she did not know the man was drunk. Mr. Collis said that on behalf of his client he did not deny that the man was drunk, but pleaded that it was not possible for Mrs. Salt to see that he was drunk when she served him. It was purely an error of judgment. A fine of £2 15s., including costs, was imposed."
"Public-House Prosecutions"
County Advertiser 0 Herald : July 16th 1904 Page 6

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

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