Some history of the White Hart Inn on Brewery Street at Wordsley in the County of Staffordshire


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Listed as the Old White Hart in its early days, this public-house was located on the southern side of Brewery Street. The angle of the building meant that it faced down the hill towards the road junction with the High Street. The site is now vacant but until recently it was possible to find sections of brickwork that formed part of the rear of the properties lining this side of Brierley Hill Road.

Wordsley : Map extract showing location of the White Hart Inn on Brierley Hill Road [1947]

A fully-licensed house, the Old White Hart was recorded in 1818 when Thomas Weaver was the publican. Born locally around 1771, the licensed victualler kept the Old White Hart Inn with his wife Sarah. The couple had three sons living on the premises in 1841, two of whom worked as glass-cutters. Many of the men living next to the pub worked as boatmen.

Thomas Weaver died in 1850 and was succeeded by glassmaker John Price who kept the pub with his wife Ann. The couple had four young children and employed a servant. The family would later move to Brettell Lane.

Wordsley : Notice for an auction of the White Hart Inn on Brewery Street [1861]

Joseph and Elizabeth Chapman managed the White Hart Inn for a brief period. The couple tried their luck at Brettell Lane before moving north to Yorkshire where Oldswinford-born Joseph worked as a glasshouse pot-maker.

It would seem that Thomas Webb was successful at the auction for the White Hart Inn during April 1861. The notice for the auction provides a glimpse of the premises which featured a bowling green and garden. The commercial activities of Thomas Webb suggests that the building incorporated a shop or that the adjacent house was also part of the White Hart. He was variously described as a butcher, grocer and shopkeeper in addition to running the White Hart Inn with his Surrey-born wife Frances. Thomas was born in Kingswinford and, following his marriage, had operated a farm at Bromley Lane. Thomas Webb issued Tavern Checks to the value of 3d.

Wordsley : Advertisements by Thomas Webb of the White Hart Inn on Brewery Street [1865]

These advertisements help to show the entrepreneurial spirit of Thomas Webb, a publican seemingly seeking fresh business opportunities. He and Frances put on an 'Ordinary' on Mondays to help boost trade on what is traditionally a quiet day in a pub. The couple were also offering stabling at the inn and had developed new sporting facilities. He also took his business off the premises by occupying a booth at the Wordsley Race Ground.

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Glassmaker Charles Bridgens held the licence of the White Hart Inn for three years before his bankruptcy and the subsequent arrival of William and Mary Ann Hale. The licence was transferred during December 1877. William was born in 1832 in the St.George's district of Bristol but had moved to the area during the 1850s where he traded as a hawker. His wife Mary Ann hailed from Chesterfield. By 1871 the couple were running the Builder's Arms in Amblecote when it was known as the Swan Inn. They left their son William in charge of the White Hart Inn when they moved to the Angel Inn at Kidderminster.

William Hale Jr. married Emma Capewell who had lived next door to the pub but he died at a very young age in 1889. The couple had one son, William. Widow Emma moved to the neighbouring Cherry Tree, a tavern further along Brewery Street. At this time the White Hart Inn was owned by the wealthy ironmaster Henry Smith, resident of Summerhill at Kingswinford. In 1890 he sold the pub to William Henry Simpkiss of the Royal Oak Brewery at Round Oak, Brierley Hill. Ownership passed to North Worcestershire Breweries Ltd. when they absorbed the Royal Oak Brewery. The White Hart Inn evolved into a Banks's house when Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries Ltd. acquired the N.W.B. in 1910.

Joseph Skelding succeeded Emma Hale as licensee in 1891. The former clay miner and brick-setter kept the pub with his Brockmoor-born wife Annie. The couple had two daughters named Annie and Mary. After leaving the licensed trade, Joseph Skelding established a business as coal dealer and haulier.

William and Lavinia Carpenter took over the management of the White Hart Inn during 1898. The couple had been living for some years in the area of The Dock at Buckpool from where William worked as a flint glass-cutter. It was not too long before the publican committed suicide in front of his wife. Lavinia remained at the house until 1903. She was assisted by her daughter Edith who lived on the premises with her husband, the ironworker John Goodman. All three would later moved into a cottage on the High Street.

Wordsley : Plan of Wordsley Licensed Houses close to the White Hart Inn on Brierley Hill Road [1947]

George and Annie Williams kept the White Hart Inn throughout the 1930s. It was following World War 2 that Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries Ltd. considered rebuilding the White Hart Inn, relocating the house on the corner of the road junction. A feasibility plan was drawn up that included the above plan of neighbouring licensed houses. The plan was drawn up in March 1947 by Scriven & Co., auctioneers and estate agents of Blackheath.

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Wordsley : The White Hart Inn on Brierley Hill Road [c.1947]

Licensees of the White Hart Inn

1818 - Thomas Weaver
1850 - John Price
1857 - Joseph Stevens
1857 - William Ward
1860 - Joseph Chapman
1864 - 1874 Thomas Webb
1874 - 1877 Charles Bridgens
1877 - 1884 William Hale
1884 - 1889 William Hale Jr,
1889 - 1891 Emma Hale
1891 - 1898 Joseph Skelding
1898 - 1898 William Carpenter
1898 - 1903 Lavinia Carpenter
1903 - 1903 William Sedgley
1903 - 1906 John Starling
1906 - 1915 Thomas James Banks
1915 - 1916 Jemima Willis
1916 - 1927 Joseph Preece
1927 - 1940 George Williams
Note : this is not a complete list of licensees for this pub. The dates of early licensees are sourced from trade directories, census data, electoral rolls, rate books and newspaper articles. The listings from 1874 to 1940 is complete and accurate as these names are sourced from licensing records. 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

"Mr. W. H. Phillips [coroner] held an inquest at the Black Horse Inn, on Wednesday morning last into the circumstances attending the death of William Carpenter [56], landlord of the White Hart Inn, Brewery Street, Wordsley, who committed suicide on Monday morning last, by cutting his throat with a razor. The Coroner remarked that the deceased was seen to jump into the Stourbridge Canal on Sunday night, and was then taken out, and placed under the care of the police. He was seen the next morning to cut his throat, and he had inflicted a very bad gash. Lavinia Carpenter said she was the wife of the deceased, and had been married to him about 24 years. Deceased had a stroke of paralysis about two months ago, and this affected his face and hands very much. Dr. Plant had been his medical attendant while he had had the stroke. Deceased had never told her to watch him or place him in an asylum. On Sunday evening deceased complained very much of pains in his head. The state of his health troubled deceased very much at times. She did not blame anyone in connection with deceased's death. Deceased was not insured at all. Frederick Tanswell, labourer, said he knew deceased very well. Witness called at deceased's house on Sunday night, and they started from the house about eight o'clock for the purpose of going for a short walk. Deceased complained very much of having pains in his head, but he did not speak of death in any shape or form. They were proceeding along the canal side when deceased dropped a little way behind witness, and saying "I am going into the canal' and jumped into the water immediately. Witness turned round as soon an deceased spoke, and saw deceased nearly in the middle of the canal. Witness at once got into the water and got deceased out on to the bank. A few minutes afterwards Police-Constable Gibbs came up. - Police-Constable Gibbs said he was on duty in the neighbourhood and received information of the occurrence about a quarter past nine. When he arrived at the place the man had got out. He knew the deceased very well. He saw that deceased was taken to his home, and a doctor was sent for, Dr. Grindlay attending him. Witness stayed with him all night, and during the night deceased wandered in his mind somewhat. During the night deceased told him he had jumped into the canal. Towards morning deceased grew more composed, and spoke more calmly. Deceased said to witness that he supposed he would have to take him before the magistrates, and asked witness to be as lenient as he could with him. Early in the morning his wife and daughter brought deceased a cup of tea up, which he drank, and then they straightened down the bedclothes to make deceased comfortable. Witness went downstairs, and in a few minutes was going back again. When he had got half-way up the stairs deceased's wife gave scream, and rushing up witness saw deceased sitting on the bed with a razor in his hand. He was just in the act of drawing the razor across his throat when witness saw him, before he could get to deceased and prevent doing it deceased had made one clean cut right across his throat, from ear to ear. Deceased seemed to draw the razor with great force. Witness went to him and got the razor from him, and put him on the bed. Witness held the wound together with sheet, but deceased died in less than a minute, he should think. Witness had no idea that the razor was in the room. Deceased was not in the habit of shaving himself, and neither deceased's wife nor his daughter knew that deceased had a razor. The razor must have been within reach of the bed, as deceased did not get out of bed. The coroner said it was well to have a search and remove any dangerous implements. Police-Constable Gibbs said he could not see anything about the room, and he looked carefully about. The coroner said that was all the evidence to bring before them. The jury were there to consider how deceased came by his death, and they might be perfectly satisfied that he died from cutting his own throat. Then came the question of the state of mind he was in at the time, and they would have to consider whether he did it with intent to kill himself or in a state of temporary insanity. If they entertained the former view they would have to return a verdict of felo de se. The had been a good many cases of suicide lately, and he was very much inclined to direct the jury to return a verdict of felo de se in cases where it was clear so that it may act as a warning. The jury returned a verdict that deceased committed suicide while in a state of temporary insanity."
"Suicide of a Publican at Wordsley"
County Advertiser & Herald
for Staffordshire and Worcestershire
July 2nd 1898 Page 5

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