Some history of the Hare and Hounds at Coventry in the county of Warwickshire.
In 2021 a mini-supermarket occupied the site of the Hare and Hounds on the corner of Bramble Street and Gulson Road. However, this was not the original location of this Gosford inn sign. A much older Hare and Hounds once stood at the northern end of Bramble Street, the tavern fronting Far Gosford Street.
This extract from a map dated 1888 shows the Hare and Hounds on Far Gosford Street, along with the Golden Cup in the top-left corner. The latter tavern was largely rebuilt and traded in more recent times as the Beer Engine. Although outside the city walls, Far Gosford Street was an ancient arterial route in and out of Coventry, in many respects a medieval suburb. The thoroughfare contains a number of timber-framed buildings. The locality was served by All Saints' Church, a building that was just to the north of this map extract. There was no Bramble Street at the time of this map, the thoroughfare being laid out in the early Edwardian period. The street placed the Hare and Hounds on the western corner, the line of properties seen here were removed. It was a straight-line street connecting with Brick Kiln Lane, a route now known as Gulson Road.
Many of the houses on Bramble Street were erected between 1904-6. By February 1905 there were 38 houses that were occupied with a further 15 in the course of erection. There were plans for more housing, along with a new public-house to be built on the corner of Brick Kiln Lane. The man who applied for a transfer of the licence from the old tavern was Arthur Augustus Wincott, a builder and contractor based at Foleshill Road. He was one of a group who had shares in the new estate or development, including Vecqueray Street, Grafton Street and the extension of Brick Kiln Lane to Binley Road. The collective included the Leicester-based architect F. Harrison, the architect and surveyor Walter Herbert Hattrell of Hertford Street, and G. H. Wincott, an engineer based in Barrow-in-Furness.
In the late 19th century the old Hare and Hounds had been leased by Phillips and Marriott Ltd. of the Midland Brewery. However, it would appear that a new 99-year lease had been agreed by the owners, the Bablake Boys' Charity trustees, to the new development firm. A covenant of the lease agreement was that the house would be rebuilt and the leaseholder would "expend upon the site not less than £1,000." This sort of agreement became widespread during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when, in the rush for the development of tied-estates, freeholders could have their plot improved by breweries and pub operators.
Moving the licence to a new site proved problematic when an application was made at the Licensing Sessions. A change in legislation in 1904 had made it difficult to obtain new licences. Representing Arthur Wincott, the solicitor named H. Maddocks proposed a solution to the issue by withdrawing the application for a new licence and requesting for the old licence to be moved to the proposed new building at the other end of Bramble Street. He contended that it was following the Bench's policy introduced three years earlier whereby "old licences in congested areas [too many pubs per capita] should be given up for a licence in new areas." In addressing the Bench he stated that "he was asking to take an existing licence from a locality already served by public-houses into an entirely new district, where it was wanted." There was even an offer of giving up the licence of the Wheat Sheaf Inn at West Orchard.
Although the Bench supported the proposals, the clerk put the mockers on the scheme. The Magistrates saw that the proposal was of 'public advantage' but could not make the decision for transferring the licence on a legal technicality. However, they stated that they would support the applicant in achieving a decision by the High Court thereon by mandamus or otherwise. Consequently, the matter was taken to the Divisional Court in London where a rule nisi was granted. Mr. Justice Relf stated that the effect of the Justice's decision would be to repeal Section 50 of the Licensing Act of 1872.
Part of the 'new' Hare and Hounds can be seen to the right of this photograph. The photographer was stood on the junction of Gulson Road looking north-eastward towards Far Gosford Street. A delivery is being made to the Hare and Hounds. With no beer casks in sight, I assume that this was the dray of a soft drinks firm or mineral water business. Many of the properties seen in this photograph still stand and the buildings seen on Far Gosford Street are still there in the 21st century. Sadly, the Hare and Hounds seen here was destroyed by enemy action during World War 2. Most of the neighbouring properties, though damaged, survived, but the Hare and Hounds reportedly took a direct hit in 1940. I am not sure if the licensee, Frank Havard, lost his life as a result of the bombing or in another incident, but he is recorded as a civilian casualty of WW2 and died in April 1941. His wife Gertrude survived the war. The couple had not been long at the Hare and Hounds, the licence being transferred to Frank Havard in November 1939. The couple had previously kept the Royal Mint on Icknield Street in Birmingham. They both grew up in the Balsall Heath area and were married in July 1913. Following her ordeal Gertrude moved back to Birmingham and settled in Hall Green.
The remains of the building were cleared and a temporary building was erected in order for the licence of the Hare and Hounds to continue. In later years a new tavern was erected on the corner site. This structure forms the basis of the mini-supermarket which has had a pitched roof added, the post-war Hare and Hounds had a flat roof.
In the 1930s photograph the Hare and Hounds was operated by Atkinson's Brewery Ltd. Indeed, the building was erected for the Aston-based company. Tenders for the construction work were invited in August 1905 by the architectural firm of Harrison and Hattrell, their office being based in Hertford Street. In February 1917 some alterations were made to the Hare and Hounds when plans for a new bottle stores and wash-house were approved by the General Works Committee of the Coventry City Council.
The licensee during the transfer to the opposite end of Bramble Street was Joseph Raven. When occupying the old premises he advertised beers produced by Ansell's Brewery Ltd., stating that he was the sole agent for Coventry. A busy individual, Joseph Raven was also a bicycle mechanic. He kept the Hare and Hounds with his wife Sarah. Following their time at the Hare and Hounds, the couple took a completely new career path retailing seeds and flowers from premises on London Road. They had started this business at Bramble Street and advertised plants for sale whilst running the public-house.
The Raven family moved out of the Hare and Hounds in 1909, the licence of the public-house being transferred to Clara Tulley in April of that year. She was possibly the same Clara Tully [no E] that kept the Castle beer house on Leopold Street in Birmingham. Her time at the Hare and Hounds was brief and in August 1911 the licence was transferred to Samuel Haskins. A carpenter by trade, he moved to Birmingham from Wiltshire in the Victorian era and married Mary Ann Field before settling in Handsworth. The family spent some years in Hockley before migrating to Coventry. Samuel Haskins was seemingly determined to keep an orderly house - too orderly for some of the customer's liking. He made himself very unpopular with patrons during an incident in which it was proved at court that he had assaulted Walter Pettifer for singing in the bar.
In the newspaper article the publican was called Huskins but I have checked his birth certificate and he is definitely named Haskins. He and his family remained at the Hare and Hounds until 1916 when they moved to the Three Horse Shoes on Foleshill Road. The licence of the Hare and Hounds was transferred to George Bednell on May 29th, 1916. He and his wife Emelie would run the corner tavern for a dozen years. The couple had previously kept the Dyers' Arms on Spon Street, a public-house also operated by Atkinson's Brewery Ltd. so they were probably employed by the brewery if they were not tenants. Born in 1871 George Bednell was previously a master tailor and was based in Little Park Street. He married Emilie Isabel Furneaux in October 1895. Dissolving his partnership with his father, he continued as a tailor whilst living in Broomfield Road where Emilie was recorded as a pork butcher.
George Bednell was faced with a stroppy customer during March 1917. John Adams of Aylesford Street walked into the pub and ordered a drink but was refused as the publican pointed out that it was closing time [during World War One public-houses closed at 22.00hrs]. Adams was infuriated and pointed at the clock and stated that it was only 9.25. George Bednell remarked "Oh, that clock is no good." The irate customer came to the conclusion that if the clock was no good it had no right to be there. He promptly grabbed the timepiece and threw it on the fire! Subsequently, he was hauled before magistrates and fined £1 and £2.10s. damages for the no-good clock!
Succeeding George Bednell, Reginald John Porter took over the licence of the Hare and Hounds in September 1928. He and his wife Gwendoline had previously managed the Radford House Hotel on Radford Road. Born in Coventry near the end of the Victorian period, Reginald Porter was the son of a wine and spirits dealer. He served in the Royal Flying Corps towards the end of World War One. He married Gwendoline Charlton in October 1921. Following their spell at the Hare and Hounds, the couple moved to the Newlands Hotel on Tile Hill Lane. After their foray into the licensed trade they took on a fish and chip shop in Craven Street. Well, Gwendoline ran the chippy whilst Reginald worked in the furniture trade as a travelling salesman. However, he lost his job after being convicted of careless driving along Waverley Road in April 1938. He crashed into a tree which caused the car to overturn. During World War 2 he was a Constable in the Police War Reserve.
Moving from the Fox and Vivian on Gosford Street, Ralph Don took over as licensee of the Hare and Hounds in November 1930. Frank Allen kept the house for a couple of years before moving to the Radford Hotel. Moving from the Raglan Tavern, William Naughton took over the licence in December 1936. Oddly, he soon dabbled with the Chequers Inn at Little Park Street and the Hare and Hounds was briefly run by Frank Rollason, formerly of the Dolphin Inn at the Market Place. It would seem that William Naughton returned before it was reported that the licence was transferred from him to Frank Havard in November 1939. William and Elise Naughton later managed the Clarence Hotel on Earlsdon Avenue.
This brings us back to the Second World War and the ill-fated transfer of the licence to Frank Havard. Following his death the licence was transferred to John Leslie Kimberley. I suspect that he was an area manager for Atkinson's Brewery Ltd as he held the licence of a number of Coventry properties during the war.
The temporary pub, erected in place of the tavern destroyed by the Luftwaffe, was eventually superseded by a new public-house. In later years the house was operated by Mitchell's and Butler's, the Cape Hill brewery having taken over the estate of Atkinson's Brewery Ltd.
So far, I have been mainly discussing the Hare and Hounds opened in 1906 with Joseph Raven at the helm. But what of the original Hare and Hounds that stood on Far Gosford Street?
The old property was replaced with shops in the Edwardian period so I do not know what the old place was like. It was probably a timber-framed building and a little wonky in its position. It was reportedly a licensed house in the mid-18th century.
An advertisement for an auction of the Hare and Hounds in April 1830 shows that Mary Tayton occupied the public-house. She was recorded as a victualler in the History Topography and Directory of Warwickshire published in the same year. Born in 1762, she remained at the Hare and Hounds for a couple more years but was offering her interest in the house in January 1832. Remaining in the locality, she died in July 1838 aged 76.
Paying rent of £16, the tenant of the Hare and Hounds in 1833 was R. Herrington. The house featured a club room, bowling alley, pig-styes and stabling for horses. Homebrewed ales were produced with water from a pump in the yard. The adjacent land also included a hop yard.
Richard Hopkins was made to appear before the authorities in September 1835 charged with the refusal of a billet to two soldiers of the 80th Regiment of Foot, who were marching through the city. W. Moneypenny, one of the soldiers, stated that before ten o'clock one Tuesday night, he presented his billet for himself and comrade. However, Mrs. Hopkins refused to take them in, on account of the lateness of the hour, and charged him with being drunk. This was a difficult situation for the landlady as taverns had an obligation to put up the military. However, she dug her heels in and refused them admission, particularly as they were playing a prank by telling her there were ten more soldiers requiring accommodation. Charles Linsdale, the other soldier, admitted that he had asked for 12 beds as a joke. Despite the fact that the Magistrates were not amused by the behaviour of the soldiers, the refusal of accommodation at the house resulted in a fine of 40 shillings and costs.
William Goodman was the licensee of the Hare and Hounds in 1838 when he was hauled before the Bench for allowing drunkenness on the premises. He departed in the following year, the licence being transferred to Thomas Hazell in July 1839. His stay was however brief as was another publican named Warp.
The licence of the Hare and Hounds was transferred from John Malin to William Cowley in May 1845. Born at Deddington in Oxfordshire in 1821, he kept the tavern with his wife Ann who hailed from the village of King's Newnham. William Cowley was seemingly a heavy drinker. In 1853 he made the mistake of pursuing a case against Mark Atkins, a customer who assaulted him in the tavern. The publican was reportedly drinking with Atkins and others. They were all fairly well oiled when a quarrel arose amongst them. On appearing in court, William Cowley's face bore marks of having received some severe bruises. In his defence Atkins told the Bench that "they were all drunk together, and the landlord was as bad as any one amongst them; they had drunk 20 quarts of ale between four of them." The Magistrates said it was a most disgraceful affair, and desired the clerk to make a note of it, and bring it forward on the next general licensing day. This was almost certainly why William Cowley had to leave the Hare and Hounds. After giving up the pub in 1854 the couple remained in Far Gosford Street from where William worked as a mason's labourer. Following Ann's death, it would seem that William's life went into decline for he ended up in the workhouse. He was succeeded by Henry Watson as publican in charge of the Hare and Hounds. He was the son of Joseph Watson who kept the Angel in Cook Street.
Benjamin Jones was fined for keeping the Hare and Hounds open during unlawful hours on a Sunday in 1865. In March 1868 James Pegg was hauled before the magistrates on a similar charge. The publican's excuse was that "he had six men lodging at his house who worked at the new church in Gosford Street, and after having been on a walk on a Sunday morning, they persuaded him to draw two quarts and three pints of ale." The Bench were not amused and fined James Pegg 10s. and costs of 11s. 6d.
"At Coventry Police Court today Samuel Haskins, Hare and Hounds, Bramble Street, was summoned by Walter Pettifer, 36,
Charterhouse Road, for assault. There was also a cross summons. Pettifer was further summoned for being disorderly and refusing to quit the Hare and Hounds.
Mr. W. Maddocks appeared for Pettifer, and Mr. R. Hollick for Haskins. Pleas of not guilty were entered in each case. Pettifer's version of the assault, which,
it was alleged, was committed on the 18th inst., was to the effect that he and a friend were drinking in the Hare and Hounds. There was a political argument
going on, and as Haskins had been "rather hasty" that day, he left the house and went to another public-house. Later they returned - four of
them in all - to the Hare and Hounds. A drink was called for, and a friend of witness's began to sing. Witness commenced humming, and the landlord,
without asking him to desist, told him to leave. He asked the reason for this, and Haskins, opening the door, said. "I am not going to stop to push you out,
I am going to punch you out." Haskins caught hold of witness, struck him in the eye, assaulted him a second time, and punched him down the steps into the street.
Witness said he was picked up, and that the landlord came at him "right and left," and witness had to strike in self-defence. The following day he asked
for an apology, but this was not forthcoming. Replying to Mr. Hollick, witness denied that he was betting or gambling in the house. After the assault the landlord
was kept out of the house, and the customers cried "Shame" on him. Witness on a precious occasion had been asked to leave the house. This occurred on an
election day. Raymond Webb gave similar evidence, and said that after the assault the door of the house was filled with terror-stricken men - [laughter]
- and the place was in an uproar. Every man in the house was down on Haskins over the affair. Three other witnesses corroborated and said there was unseemly
behaviour whilst they were in the public-house. For the defence Mr. Haskins was called, and stated that Pettifer was betting over a football player. There was
some dispute, and witness had to put the men out of the house Later, he found Pettifer was gambling and asked him to leave. After drinking his beer Pettifer left,
being told not the enter the premises again. Pettifer, returning at ten o'clock, commenced to sing and refused to leave the premises. Witness took hold of his
sleeve and, without violence, led him to the door. Pettifer struggled and fell down. He got up and struck witness in the eye, blackening it. Witness then pushed
Pettifer out of the house and made to enter the house by the smoke-room. Pettifer rushed at him, striking him on the left side of the head, and witness then
retaliated in self-defence, using no more force than was necessary. The barman was called, but, in answer to Mr. Maddocks said he was not in a position to see
the blows that were struck. The disorderly conduct was singing, which was not allowed at this house. The barmaid, Louisa Halliday, corroborated her employer's
statement, and a brother of the landlord was also called, and he said he saw no blows struck. The Magistrates found the case against Haskins proved and imposed a
fine of 10s. and costs. The case against Pettifer was dismissed."
"Scene at a Coventry Public-House"
Coventry Evening Telegraph : November 28th 1911 Page 2.
"With the object of aiding the British Sportsmen's Motor Ambulance Fund, W. Smith and G. Owen will play an exhibition billiard
match at the Hare and Hounds, Bramble Street, tomorrow evening at 7.30. A smoking concert will follow the game."
"Coventry and District"
Coventry Evening Telegraph : October 16th 1916 Page 3.
"Jeffrey Plunket , of Bramble Street, Coventry, was placed on probation for two years after pleading guilty to a
break-in at the Hare and Hounds, Bramble Street. The court was told that he was a former barman at the public-house."
"Probation for Pub Break-In"
Coventry Evening Telegraph : March 1st 1967 Page 7.
"After a kiss under the mistletoe, a man was hit over the head with an air rifle, Coventry Magistrates were told today. Arthur John
McNulty , self-employed window cleaner, of 128, Culson Road, Coventry, pleaded guilty to maliciously wounding Christopher McCarthy on
December 23rd, and was fined £15. Mr. M. Jennings, prosecuting, said that Mr. McCarthy, McNulty and a barmaid were having a drink with the licensee of the
Hare and Hounds, Bramble Street, after closing time. At about midnight the girl went outside, and "staggered back. suffering from a blow." Mr. McCarthy
went outside to see what had happened, and saw McNulty with an air gun. He tried to get it from him, and was hit over the head with it, receiving an injury
requiring a stitch. The only explanation seemed to be that the barmaid, who had previously lived with McNulty, kissed Mr. McCarthy under the mistletoe.
McNulty told the court that the argument had been between him and his girl friend; He did not mean to injure Mr. McCarthy. "He ran out and there
was a struggle. I thought he was going to set his Alsatian dog on me."
"Kiss Led to Wounding Charge"
Coventry Evening Telegraph : January 14th 1969 Page 42.
"Nudging on 90, Harry Head, of 177, Richmond Street, Stoke, Coventry, is only just getting used to retirement. He did retire officially
when he was 65, but then took another job, and another, and another - and retired finally at the age of 88. He felt that he ought to be at home with his wife Nellie,
who is a year younger and at the time was not well. Harry will be 90 in June, and birthday celebrations can be expected at Stoke Ex-Servicemen's Club, across the
road. He's a daily lunchtime caller, has been a member since 1958 and was bottle man there until about a year ago, when he retired. Nellie is his third wife and they
were married on December 22nd, 1952, but the fact that they've just had their silver wedding passed unnoticed. He is a Staffordshire man, worked in the mines in
Yorkshire for many years and served in the two world wars. In the first war he joined the 2nd South Staffordshires but because he was a miner he was transferred to the
Royal Engineers as a sapper and was tunnelling at Vimy Ridge and Hill 60. He went back to mining, but the day after the declaration of the Second World War he
volunteered into the Yorkshire Light Infantry - at the age of 51. His explanation: "I'd had a row with my wife at the time.' He was discharged
later from his army duties, guarding Lincolnshire aerodromes and came to Coventry to work at AWA, Baginton. Later he was at the Banner Lane shadow factory, became a
second gardener for the Parks Department and, after retiring at 65, found another factory job at Coventry Motor Fittings. He was cellarman at the Hare and Hounds,
Bramble Street, for seven years, and finally bottle man at Stoke Ex-Servicemen's."
"Harry Calls It a Day"
Coventry Evening Telegraph : January 25th 1978 Page 30.