Some history of the Why Not Inn at Cradley in the county of Worcestershire.

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Tucked away in a cul-de-sac off Two Gates, the Why Not Inn has proved to be a resilient survivor in an area where public-houses have closed left, right and centre.

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Licensees of the Why Not Inn

1873 - 1878 George Partridge
1878 - 1888 Alfred Turner
1888 - 1902 Samuel Gill
1902 - 1906 Henry Bailey
1906 - 1906 Mark Owen Baugh
1906 - 1910 Samuel Taylor
1910 - 1925 William Henry Bangham
1925 - 1927 William White
1927 - 1928 Alfred Crompton
1928 - 1930 John Smith
1930 - 1935 George Henry Knight
1935 - 1951 George James
1951 - 1951 Zern James
1951 - 1956 Noah Dunn
1956 - 1957 Albert Edward Taylor
1957 - 1960 Emily Little
1960 - 1960 Phyllis Hingley
1960 - 1963 Cynthia Davis
1963 - 1968 Howard Douglas Hart
1968 - 1968 Doreen W. Metmapon
1968 - 1970 Anthony Edward Bishop
1970 - 1971 John Scott Paton
1971 - 1976 Stanley Horace Russell
1976 - 1980 John Frederick Jeavons
1980 - 1985 John Harold Lees
1985 - 1986 John Thomas Hughes
1986 - 1987 James Nicholas Carr
1987 - 1987 Gloria Lesley Mansell
1987 - 1988 David Michael Martin
1988 - 1989 Brian Harold Holliday
1989 - 1992 Peter & Pamela Coleman
1992 - 1993 June Moreton
1992 - 1993 Jean Rawson
1993 - 2001 Juliet Trimble
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. Names taken from trade directories may be slightly inaccurate as there is some slippage from publication dates and the actual movement of people.

Ansell's - The Better Beer

Inn Sign

Inn Sign of the Why Not Inn at Cradley [2001]

This inn sign was commissioned by licensee Juliet Trimble who denied the speculation that it was her seated in the armchair in this signboard painting. The sign had quite a few mysterious elements including a genie emerging above the pub. The distorted image did however encapsulate the 'crazy' character of the pub during the 1990s. I have typed up some information on the Grand National-winning Why Not here.

Genealogy Connections

"Well, being as I was a regular customer in the 1990s, I may as well post what I can remember about my hazy days at the Why Not Inn. And they often were hazy as I was addled by Spike's special brews! As I say in the main text, he is the man who "made me do it" and I often ended up drinking whatever ales were on offer at the pub. I am almost embarrassed to confess to having my own glass in the Why Not. It was engraved by one of the bar staff who worked in the glass industry as her day job. Sorry, but I have forgotten her name.

Coleen Shakespeare behind the bar of the Why Not Inn at Cradley [2001]

Pictured above behind the bar is Coleen Shakespeare who, at the time of the photograph in 2001, had worked at the Why Not for eight years. There seemed to be something about The Why Not that made the staff want to stay for years. Note the handpulls for Batham's Bitter and Banks's Bitter which were regular ales at the pub. These were augmented by handpulls dispensing guest ales. I can recall some of the ales which were popular at the Why Not Inn during the 1990s. The beers included : Bateman's XXXB, Dent Kamikaze, Everard's Old Original, Hambleton's Stud, Hopback Summer Lightning, Moorhouse Pendle Witches Brew and Wychwood Dog's Bollocks. Of course, there were many more but these beers came around quite regularly.

Spike was a right nutter at times. I can remember one bonfire night when the pub was going to stage a fireworks display. As the evening wore on, most people gave up waiting and went home - Spike was too busy getting the beer in him. Eventually, at around midnight, and somewhat worse for drink, he decided to use his land-rover parked in the beer garden as a launch pad for the rockets. We were all well gone ourselves by this stage and it was comical to watch him setting them off. I don't know how he didn't end up in A&E or trashing his land-rover.

Going outside was a regular trip for the men as the pub still had outdoor toilets in the 1990s - and the lights rarely worked.

In the days before late night licences, Trimble used to put a curry on at 10.30pm which allowed punters up to an hour extra drinking time.

The quiz night on Monday's was very popular and I was on the winning team quite a few times. The prize used to be £25 of nosh for four players which, in those days, filled anyone's belly at the Why Not. There was a clause in that the winners had to set all the questions and host the next quiz. I can recall winning the quiz one time when John Homer, a Gornal bloke and general Baggies nutcase who was great fun to drink with. Anyway, after winning, we all decided what topics on which we would set questions for the next quiz. John said he would do a round on Musicals. Fair enough we thought. On the night I can remember we were drinking Dent Kamikaze. Too much Kamikaze as it turned out as I, for one, ended up totally wrecked. Anyway, we were puzzled why John didn't have his question sheet when the microphone was handed to him. What we didn't know until he launched into the round was that he intended to sing 10 excerpts from the musicals. He was also pissed and could hardly sing a note. We all collapsed in laughter and the pub was a riot that night."

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Related Newspaper Articles

This shocking newspaper article does not relate to the Why Not but it is related to Two Gates .....

"At the County Petty Sessions, held at Kidderminster yesterday, Richard Albert Jones, a waggoner, lately of Wolverley, and now of Two Gates in Cradley, was charged at the instance of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, with cruel treatment of his son, Ernest Jones, a boy of nine years; and his wife, Emma Jones, was charged with a similar offence as regarding her little girl, Emma Jones, aged seven years. Mr. Thursfield said the two children as to whom the charges against the parents were brought forward were the survivors of five children they had had, and he stated that their lives were insured. He detailed the specific acts alleged against the defendant, and said that it was owing to the marks noticed on the other child when she went to school that the case came to be investigated. The boy, Ernest Jones, was called, and said on Saturday, April 15th, his father put a strap [produced] round his throat, and there was a rope attached to it with which his father hung him up to a drag in the house. When he had the strap round his throat he could hardly breathe. His father then took the strap from round his neck and put a bigger strap round his waist. His hands were strapped behind him. His father put stones in his boots, and he kept jerking him up and down on his feet. It hurt his feet. His mother and sister were present; This went on, the boy said, for an hour and a quarter. He was screaming, and Mrs. Goodman, a neighbour, came and asked his father to release him. His father would not, and said he should keep him there till ten or eleven o'clock. After his father left the house his mother released him. He had been treated very badly by his father. The defendant warmly chided the boy, and denied ill-treating him. The boy went on to say his father had at times beaten him with a strap and thongs. On one occasion his father put him in a cave at night, and he remained there all night. When the stones were put in his boots his father took his boots off, put the stones in, and then put the boots on him again. He was taken away after this to the shelter at Worcester. He was afraid of what his father might do to him. The defendant put it to the boy whether he was afraid of him, and he reiterated that he was. He was afraid of his father because he thrashed him. Harriet Goodman, wife of John Goodman, said she lived next door to the house where the defendant lived up to Monday last. The defendant came to her house on April 15th, and called her. She went to Jones's house, and saw the boy tied up with a strap round his shoulders, and by a rope to a hook in the ceiling. The boy's hands were strapped behind him. His feet were on the floor. The father said he put the strap round his neck first, but took it off because his breathing was bad, and then he put the strap round his shoulders. Defendant told the boy to bear down on his feet. There were stones, he said, in his boots. Her husband sent her back to the house to ask Jones to release the boy. The boy was still fastened, but was not suspended. She had heard the boy scream when his father had beaten him at times. It was not often he did so. The mother of the boy told her in the morning that the boy had taken 6d. The father said he had had to beat him for naughty tricks, and he would see what that would do for him that he was doing then. Mary Pountney also gave evidence. Henry Jones [Worcester] inspector to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said be visited the defendant's house on April 18th. He could not obtain access, but looking through the window he saw a drag hanging from a nail in the ceiling, and a rope and strap. On April 20th, in pursuance of a justices' order, he went with Superintendent Pugh to the house. He removed the children to the society's shelter at Worcester. The house was very dirty. The children had improved in health in the shelter. Superintendent Pugh took possession of the strap and ropes. Defendant went into the box, and denied on oath that he had ill-treated his children. He said he now lived at Two Gates, Cradley, having left Wolverley, Cross-examined : He had had five children. Three were dead. These two surviving children were formerly insured. He could not tell the office. He denied fastening a strap round the boy's neck. It was true he put a strap round on his boy's chest and he did put stones in his boots. He did not jerk him up and down. He wanted to break the boy of some of his tricks. He had thrashed the boy sometimes. He had "given him one or two" with a strap from round his waist He denied that anyone had ever remonstrated with him about his treatment of the children. The Bench reserved their decision till they had heard the other case. Emma Jones was then charged with ill-treating her daughter Emma Jones, aged seven. The child was not sworn, but stated to the Court that she was going to school on April 12th, with two other girls, when her mother beat her on the legs with a stick that she walked with [Defendant had a knotted stick in court, with projecting knobs on, but the child said that was not the stick her mother struck her with, and defendant volunteered the remark that it was a thinner stick.] The child said her mother struck her on the head and twice on the legs with the stick. Her mother beat her sometimes with a birch and a stick. Harriet Goodman, a neighbour, was called, but her evidence was of a negative character as regarded proof of ill-treatment, and Mr. Thursfield proposed to treat her as a hostile witness. She said she had heard defendant say she wished the children were in the churchyard. Defendant afterwards told the Bench this was when she was provoked, after the children were taken away. Minnie Hardwick said on the way to school on April 12th Mrs. Jones struck Emma, her daughter, on the legs and once on the forehead with a stick Mrs. Jones had told the child to pull up her stocking, and she would not, and then she hit her. Defendant was sworn, and said she only hit the child once with her stick across her clothing on the occasion referred to. The Bench dismissed the case against the woman; but on the first case they fined the father £5. and costs, or a months' hard labour."
"Charge of Cruelty to Children"
Birmingham Daily Post : May 5th 1893.

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