Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Pub Inventories in Barnsley Archives

For the last couple of weeks myself and my friend GB have been going to the Town Hall in Barnsley to help digitise a set of card files for the new Archives.  This morning I hit upon several entries which tweeked my curiousity.

The items were listed as 'Inventory and Valuation' for several pub names which I recognised - they dated from the first half of the 19th century, 1829, 1848 and 1849.  Bear in mind that so far I've only dipped into the smallest part of the drawer of file cards I've been assigned to digitise - we are managing about 50 entries a week, and I've found three of these in three weeks.  This suggests that in the whole set of drawers there may be over a hundred of this type of record referred to.

An example of an inventory from the 18th century America (from Weigand PANNEBECKER)

Historically inventories were often drawn up when someone died as part of their estate.  A couple of locally respected men would go around the house of the deceased and list all the items therein.  They were common before 1782 although their survival is patchy.

"The inventory itemised the estate held by the deceased, including leases, chattels, debts owed and owing, cash, crops, stocks and slaves. No account of real estate (land) was normally taken in estimates and totals. [...] After 1782 an inventory might be called for by an interested party, but it was no longer an automatic part of procedure." (The National Archives)

Of course there are other reasons why someone might take an inventory, especially where a business like a public house or inn was concerned.  A change of landlord or the sale of the property would require a proper accounting of what was included in the business assets. 

Some of Barnsley Archives holdings are already listed in the Access to Archives section of the National Archives site - searching there I found another entry:

Inventory and valuation for the Rising Sun Beerhouse, at Dodworth, completed by Edward G Lancaster, 21 August 1868.  (Access to Archives)

No, I'm not sure where this was - except it was on High Street Dodworth (no. 91 in 1911) just before and on the opposite side of the road to the Pheasant (not that that's there any more either!). This document contains seven sheets of paper - I am now bursting to know what might be listed on a pub inventory.  Might there be some for pubs still in existence today?  The ones I saw indexed this morning were for an unnamed pub in Silkstone, for the Temple of Muses (which is now Brownes Bar on Graham's Orchard - and that is an old building), and for the Norman Inn at Monk Bretton (obviously a previous incarnation as the current pub is very 1970s). 

The Temple Inn in the 1971 (from Yococo)
Looking in Barnsley Streets 2, I see that the Temple of Muses, also known as the Temple Inn, dates back to 1825.  Further Googling returns me to the Access to Archives site and an entry for the will of the landlord of the Temple Inn in 1905 and there are quite a few other pubs listed on the same page.  There's a listing in the London Gazette for 1892 for another landlord of the Temple Inn - presumably going out of business as it mentions receivers. In fact there are numerous listings of the same kind, 1897, 1900, 1922 and so on.  Seems the pub trade wasn't any more secure a job a hundred years ago!

There are lots of interesting sources just waiting to be found in Barnsley Archives when it reopens, it's very frustrating having to wait.  You'll see I've put a countdown at the top of my blog to try to speed things along!

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