12 January 2016

Hove Pubs Index F

Listed below:- Farm Tavern, The Foragers, Freemasons Tavern.  
Farm Tavern, Farm Road
Judy Middleton (2002 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Farm Tavern has a lovely new inn sign,
 which was photographed on 24 November 2014
According to the Evening Argus (19 December 1998) the building was in use as a dairy before it became a pub and because it was not designed as a pub there is no cellar. Even today beer has to be kept in a refrigerated room off the main bar.

In the 1854 Directory there were pubs or beer retailers entered under farm Road. However, Farm Tavern makes an appearance in the 1859 Directory with John Parker as the landlord and he was still there in 1875. But by 1885 B.Presland ran the pub. In the 1890s R. Ross was landlord followed by John Jackson in 1900. Jackson was the former trainer and manager of Brighton United Football Club, then founder of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club in 1901.

Mr Jackson did not linger long and by 1905 H. Street was landlord. His stay was of a short duration too and S. H. Morton soon took over. Morton was there at least from 1910, he remained during the First World war and stayed until the 1920s. In 1925 William Boyles ran the premises and he was described as a beer retailer.

By 1930 Charles Hollick was landlord and he stayed during the Second World War and remained until 1947. Then followed some quick changeovers with James Coe being in charge in 1951, followed by Christopher Howard in 1954 and Frank Lawrence in 1958.

John Collier, a later landlord, died in 1985 from motor neurone disease. A charity cricket match was arranged between Farm Tavern and The Wick to raise money in Collier’s memory and this together with other donations amounted to £885, which was donated to the organisation researching into motor neurone disease.

Tamplin’s owned Farm Tavern from 1929 to 1931 but by the 1990s Beard’s Brewery were owners. This brewery was founded at Lewes in the 18th century and owned by the same family for two centuries. Their old building at Lewes was converted and named The Maltings and was the home of East Sussex Record Office until it moved to The Keep at Falmer. Twelve years ago there was still there was in Farm Tavern a long bench-like seat with back rest and arm rests at either end plus one in the middle. It could seat six people comfortably or eight at a push. On the back rest was carved into the wood the name ‘Beards’ and it appeared once on each side.
copyright © J.Middleton
This view of  the Farm Tavern was taken on 18 April 2014 and shows the previous inn sign, which might have made City types think of the Financial Times.
In December 1998 it was stated that Gordon Jones took over Beard’s tenancy two and a half years ago. He had previously been manager of the Black Horse, Rottingdean for nine years.

In 1998 Farm Tavern was well-known for its large Yorkshire puddings served with a variety of fillings. The pub also appeared in the Good Beer Guide, one of the few pubs in Brighton and Hove to  be included.

On the wall of the small lounge there hung a large portrait with an attached plate proclaiming the likeness to be of F. Taverner 1802-1870. But nobody seemed to know anything about him. There was a Mr Taverner who was a builder at Hove and had premises in Holland Road. But a visit to the pub in June 2001 revealed no sign of the portrait.

Farm Tavern is an interesting and comfortable pub, which has been refurbished and now has the obligatory stripped wood floor. There are reminders of past times with prints of old photographs and advertisements. The upstaits bar is full of character with old sash windows, a window seat, old floorboards and a peculiar wooden fitment behind the bar that is high, corniced and decorated with a mirror inset.

copyright © J.Middleton
Farm Tavern has managed to keep its original name unchanged for 165 years,
 which makes it one of a select few at Hove. This photograph was taken on
18 April 2014.

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
The Foragers, 3 Stirling Place
formerly The Stirling Arms 
Judy Middleton (2003 revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
This view taken on 17 March 2014 makes The Foragers look impressively large.
The Stirling Arms was constructed in around 1884. Like many Victorian pubs it occupied a strategic position on a prominent corner site. Although according to the Directories it was in Stirling Place, its east wall bears the street name of Connaught Terrace.

Abbey & Sons, a local brewery, owned the pub. In April 1891 Hove Commissioners approved their plans for alterations and improvements at the pub. In 1899 there were further alterations to the pub and it seems obvious that trade must have been good.

Reuben Gillam was born in 1843 in Dorset Gardens, Brighton. His father, John Gillam, was a Brighton-born fisherman who came from a long line of fishermen.

Instead of going to sea, Reuben Gillam became landlord of the Stirling Arms and remained for fourteen years. But there were other skills he had learned too because he was also a labourer, plumber and gas worker. Perhaps he combined outside work with being an innkeeper and in this he would not have been alone because Isaac Holland of the George Inn, Portslade also offered a variety of skills to employers besides being mine host. Reuben Gillam would have been glad of some extra earnings because he and his wife Mary had seven children to feed. They were Edwin, Harry, Elizabeth, George, Nathaniel, Reuben and Mabel.

copyright © From the Gillam Family Album
Mary Dann was photographed in around 1865 looking serious and holding the family photograph album. But in those days you had to keep perfectly still for a few minutes or risk having a blurred photograph. Mary married Reuben Gillam. 
Photo right:- Reuben Gillam (1843-1898).
Reuben Gillam was a public-spirited man and established a Slate Club at the Stirling Arms, which meant his customers had the opportunity to save money on a regular basis. Gillam was also a Freemason and a member of the Ancient Order of Buffaloes. He died in 1898 and was buried in Hove Cemetery on 6th April. His widow died in 1901.

The Gillam’s youngest daughter Mabel was born in 1882 and in 1910 she emigrated to Sydney, Australia. Her intention was to go on to Canada, probably to join other relatives already there but she fell in love with an Australian Thomas Alexander Moore and they married the same year and stayed put.

Harry Gillam used to run a bakery just over the road from the Stirling Arms and according to the censuses of 1871 and 1881 he lived at 11 George Street. Then he and his family, and Elizabeth and her family emigrated to Manitoba, Canada. Nathaniel died from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-one.

W.J. Chadwell, who followed Gillam, was another long-serving landlord because he was still pulling pints in the 1930s. It seems to have become a tradition because Harry James Pile took over in 1935 and was still there in 1958.

Fred Pile, son of Harry James Pile, was a member of Hove Crescent Cricket Club. Ernie Grinyer, who earned a living as a watchmaker with premises in Ship Street, Brighton, founded the club in 1903 at the Belfast Tavern. But the club did not stay there long and soon moved their headquarters to Stirling Arms where they remained until the 1950s. Fred Pile was a valuable member of the team because not only was he 6 feet 4 inches in height but he also enjoyed the reputation of being a fearsome fast bowler. It is pleasant to imagine him as a demon bowler thundering up to the crease, clad in cricket whites and wearing the distinctive club cap with colours of silver on a royal blue ground. The badge featured a silver crescent moon on a blue ground.   

copyright © S. Wood
Players at Hove Crescent Cricket Club were photographed in 1935. Fred Pile is the tall man in the back row and 
Olly Barry is on the right of the front row. 
The Second World War put a stop to their cricketing days and all the gear was stored in the cellar of Stirling Arms for the duration. Meanwhile, Fred Pile served as a pilot in the RAF, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Unhappily, he was killed in a flying accident in the Middle East.

After the war Olly Barry and returning members such as Bert Sharp and Jack Steer ventured down into the cellar to find out the condition of their gear and cricket resumed in 1947. Olly Barry’s name is not forgotten because there is an end-of-season match in his memory between the over thirties and the under thirties. The club still flourishes today and is now known as Brighton and Hove Crescent C.C.

copyright © S. Wood
This photograph of Hove Crescent C.C. players dates from 1953. Harry Pile, who was club president at the time,
stands at the far right of the back row. Eric Pratt is on the left of the back row. He had a long association with the
club, being scorer, umpire and treasurer for over 60 years, retiring at the grand age of 96. 
Meanwhile, John and Midge Oxley were running the Boatman’s Club at Brighton before they moved to the Stirling Arms in 1961. John Oxley had been a professional ice-hockey player and saw action with the Wembley Lions as well as the Brighton Tigers. He had the distinction of being the first English player to score 100 goals.

Midge Oxley also had an interesting career as an ice-skater, having turned professional at the age of fifteen when she left school. She toured the country in the popular Tom Arnold ice shows. John Oxley died in 1976 but Midge decided to soldier on at the pub. In October 1985 it was reported that she was upset when workmen began to demolish the gasholders in preparation for the new Tesco’s to be built on the site. She commented ‘I know it sounds silly, because they’re not actually picturesque, but I’ve grown fond of them.’ On 27 July 1993 there was a big party at the pub to wish Midge happiness on her retirement. She presented a large cheque to Hamilton Lodge School for the Deaf, the last of many donations to charity. But it seems she was unable to say goodbye to pub life just yet and in 1998, when she was aged 65, she still helped out behind the bar at the Stirling Arms and at Hove Deep Sea Anglers Club. She also had a new interest – golf.

By 1998 Mary and Peter Bowles were running the Stirling Arms and it was one of three finalists in the Pub of the Year Awards. Over the previous year the pub raised a great deal of money for the Martlets Hospice and in January 1999 it was stated some £2,500 had been raised for charity over the preceding two years and a recent Quiz Night had raised £1,700 for Martlets Hospice. Friday night is designated music night.

In 2006 the pub changed its name to The Foragers after new owner Paul Hutchison took over. The ethos is sustainability and the meat and game are Sussex-sourced while the seafood is caught daily. Also on offer is local ale and organic wine. In acknowledgement of its ‘green’ credentials the pub is painted in two tasteful shades of green while there are several window boxes and hanging baskets to enhance the exterior.

copyright © J.Middleton
There is plenty of outdoor seating and this close-up view shows the Connaught Terrace frontage.

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Mrs Dorothy Cooper kindly provided additional information about the Gillam family
Mr Simon Wood kindly provided the information about Brighton & Hove Crescent C.C.

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
The Freemasons Tavern, 39 Western Road
by Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2014)

copyright © J.Middleton
Freemasons’ Tavern can boast of having one of the most unusual pub frontages in the district.
It was photographed on 16 May 2014.
This pub has been in existence since at least the 1850s. It is not known why the name was chosen but there has long been a popular notion that Freemasons used to hold meetings upstairs. This was quite possible and belonging to the Freemasons became increasingly popular amongst the influential men of the neighbourhood. For example, Thomas Read Kemp, founder of Kemp Town, was a Freemason and so were mayors, artists, architects, landowners, businessmen, and interestingly enough, stalwarts from local breweries such as Smithers and Mews.

copyright © J.Middleton
This close-up shows some of the extraordinary detail on the pub’s façade. The large Masonic sign of set-square and a
 pair of compasses is new – the previous one stated there were no funny handshakes here.
Thomas Lindfield was landlord in 1854 and he was still there in 1861 when the census recorded he was aged 45 and his birthplace was Egham, Surrey. He lived with his wife Mary, 49, and their three sons Thomas 21, John 19 and seventeen-year old Edward. A barman and potboy lived on the premises too. It seems the eldest son was not interested in following his father’s footsteps because he was a clerk by trade. But the middle son John took over from his father and by 1871 he was managing the pub. He was then aged 29 and his wife Lucy was 33 while their son John was three years old.

By 1875 George Hounsell was landlord and he continued there until the 1890s.

On 2 March 1881 Police Constable Upfield entered the pub while he was still on duty. But he was found out and the punishment was a fine of ten shillings or a reduction to the rank of second-class constable for a month.

In 1891 George Hounsell, landlord, was described as a widower but there was a housekeeper plus one barmaid and one barman on the premises. It was unusual that in the space of some 40 years there were just three landlords but this changed after Hounsell’s departure.

In 1905 W. Hassell was running things, followed by George Frederick Chapman in 1910. Then Harold Betts arrived in around 1915 and remained until the 1920s. Frank Dickerson was the next landlord and he stayed until at least 1940.

It was during Dickerson’s tenure that the famous face-lift of Freemason’s Tavern took place. The Kemp Town Brewery was incorporated on 18 March 1933. The company was established to take over the going concern previously carried on by William Henry Abbey, Henry Robert Burrows and John Roland Abbey at their Brighton brewery. The alterations took place in the 1930s and Denman & Son were the architects employed on the project.

The entrance and upstairs restaurant were accented by being enclosed in a spectacular frame of mosaic work with blue and gold being the predominant colours. At the top in large letters ran the legend ‘Freemason’s Restaurant Kemp Town Brewery’. On either side appeared a Jewish star, which was also a Masonic symbol. Below each star an extraordinary creature was depicted with a fish-like head and a long body ending in a curved tail like a sea horse. The façade also included curved metal-framed windows and two bronze lamp-holders in the centre.

In September 1981 Brian Kent said he had been landlord of the Freemasons for 28 years and his family had been there for 60 years. He said ‘At the moment we are virtually fighting to keep the English pub alive.’ He objected to proposals to convert the old Brunswick Town Hall into a £2000,000 sporting club called Bretts, if it were to be granted a licence.

In 1984 Edward and Ishbel Daniel took over the pub and they were still there in August 1987. By January 1995 Josephine Ajay and Tony Owen were running the pub and it was stated regulars had raised £1,000 for charity through raffles and collections; the money was donated to Sussex Beacon and Coppercliff Hospice.

In the Evening Argus (15 March 2000) a letter was published complaining about an article in the paper printed on 8 March. Katherina said it did not sound like the same pub she frequented because the information used must be over two years old. For example, the upstairs restaurant had not been open for two years since Xavier, co-owner and sometime manager, took over. There was no food available at the bar, not even at Sunday lunchtime when there was once a roaring trade. There used to be a Happy Hour between 10.30 a.m. until lunchtime, when between fifteen and twenty local people were to be found on a regular basis. Now that had been stopped; Katherina called the move ‘myopic idiocy’. She commented that the pub now relied on a young night-time crowd and music was played at such a volume as to make a normal conversation impossible.

Perhaps the broadside had its effect. At any rate by November 2000 Tanya and Darcy Gander were running the pub and they favoured a gentler approach to revive trade. Moreover they were keen to return the pub to its full Art Deco glory, which meant restoring the mosaics as well as revamping the interior. They enlisted the help of designer Alan Phillips who featured in Grand Designs that aired on Channel 4. It helped that Mr Phillips used the pub as his local. The £150,000 work was due to start in September 2001. It was also hoped planning permission would be forthcoming for a two-storey extension at the back to contain ‘spectacular’ toilets, designed by Mr Phillips. Mr and Mrs Gander planned to create a cocktail bar and Chris Edwards, former manager of the Groucho Club, would be their cocktail adviser.

copyright © J.Middleton
The pub stands on a corner site and this photograph shows the Brunswick Street West frontage

Census Returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Copyright © J.Middleton 2014
page layout by D.Sharp