Tomorrow is a day off, I'm waiting in for the postman to bring my new glossy flyers. You can download a copy here. Please note I need to do at least two talks now this year to pay for the flyers! So if you live anywhere near Barnsley and are looking for an entertaining speaker please read all about what I can offer - the same words, more or less, can be found on my History Talks tab at the top of this page.
On Tuesday's visit to Barnsley Archives I tackled the Barnsley Publicans' Inventories I'd ordered up from the storeroom for the first time. I'd initially discovered these existed when doing a spot of indexing for the Archive staff when they were shut during the move from the Library to the Town Hall. Since the Archives reopened the staff have shown me whole catalogues full of interesting documents, amongst them many more of these inventories. I want to try and find out what running a pub in Barnsley was like in the 19th and early 20th centuries, could you make a good living out of it? Could you make a lot of money? One of my previous blog posts talks about a landlord who must have done well, but was he unusual?
|The Coach & Horses (behind the lamppost) and a location map from 1889|
(picture from Barnsley Streets)
I began with an inventory taken of the contents of the Coach & Horses, Sheffield Road, Barnsley made in 1843 on the death of the landlord, William King - that's not the fake Tudor building that's there now (which is currently being turned, very slowly, into a restaurant), but an earlier low stone built building. You can see it in the middle distance in the photo above left. Remember that if you click on the images they open up much larger in a pop up window.
The detail of these documents is such that you can imagine walking into the pub and making your way around the building. In the front room there was seating around the room, a backed form and three chairs with wooden seats plus thirteen(!) iron spittoons. Then you go through into the bar where there are another three chairs, a black deal form, a stove with pipe and lots of glasses (tumblers, tots, wine), pint pots (which I guess were actually pot!) and some pitchers - maybe for fetching the beer and spirits from the cellar. The house (I know people who still call their back room or living room the house) contained two long backed settles, a backed seat, an oak table with deal forms around it, a clock in an oak case, a brass hearth grate, fender and fire irons. Sounds like the best room doesn't it?
In the kitchen there was a cheaper deal table, some more chairs and another form, pails and cans, a kettle, milk can, potato crusher (mashed potato 1843 style!), a paste board (for rolling pastry I guess) and then some beer related items, a malt mill, three casks and fourteen brass taps. The cellar contained the beer (780 gallons) and the spirits including whiskey, gin, rum, brandy and peppermint. Alcoholic peppermint? OK, I've not heard of that before ... but they've only got a gallon of that, maybe it's a cordial similar to Crème de Menthe?
There are items in the outbuildings which confirm the pub did its own brewing, and finally the livestock is enumerated, a cow and a sow ... the cow provides milk and the pig is being fattened up I suppose. In 1843 there wasn't anything much around the pub, judging by the map from 1852 (which was a bit boring so I've given you an 1889 snip in the picture above). Two houses immediately adjacent, absolutely nothing where the Victoria is now and nothing on the other side of Sheffield Road either, just a small house diagonally opposite, which has been replaced by a larger one by 1889. Plenty of room for the cow and the pig!
|The Turf Tavern, Church Street, Barnsley (from Barnsley Streets) |
and a location map from 1889
Let's go in ... the windows at the front have painted blinds with the words 'Spirit Vault' lettered on them. There is a gas pendant with a tin shade (wow! gas lighting in 1844, I hadn't realised). There is a bar counter in this pub with sliding doors and drawers and some glass shelves too. It sounds very like a pub you might still see today. A fender and fire irons, so there is an open fire, a square table, eight wooden seated chairs and a sofa! On the shelves (I guess) are tumbler glasses, wine glasses, a punch bowl and ladles, some 'plated' pints - not sure what that means but I'm mentioning it so you know there was beer too. A tea-tray contains a sugar basin and tongs, some pewter spirit measures and a on the bar back are three spirit casks. There's a second front room too, even more comfortable, it contains a mahogany dining table which is 11 ft long accompanied by six single and two arm chairs. There's a brass fender and two bell pulls, for summoning the staff we presume? This sounds like a dining room - I wonder if I can find some advertising for it in the Barnsley Chronicle to confirm this.
I think if you want a nice simple pint of beer, away from the spirits, you have to move further back in the building. The middle room contains deal forms attached to the walls, two long settles and one high backed one 9ft long which forms a passage - so you can pass through this room without disturbing the customers. There is an oak table and five wooden seated chairs, curtains to the windows (it must look out into the courtyard at the side) and ale pitchers, quart pitchers and twenty five pint pots. I imagine the beer has to be fetched from the bar back to this room. In the cellar I noted that there were 'Two pull beer machines with lead piping and union joints", so they were using hand pulls to get at least some of the beer upstairs, just like a modern pub! This room has a gas pendant too, although four brass and two iron candlesticks are also listed along with 2 pairs of snuffers - those will be for putting out the candles in a decorous manner, no messy blowing in this posh establishment!
The next room listed is the 'Glass-room', now this is intriguing ... if you look again at the map snip there's a little square of hatching (denoting a glass roof) to the right of the courtyard, like a conservatory! This room contains six wooden seated chairs and a round oak table, a large deal settle, a tin fender (not as posh as the brass one at the front then) and a drugget. I had to look that up, it's a kind of rough material used as a rug ... I wonder why there's a rug mentioned in here and not in the other rooms? Maybe the floor is cold!
The kitchen contains everything you might expect, and some you might find surprising. How about an Ale-warmer or two jappaned cheese tins? There are cooking tins, dripping pans, a coffee mill and a frying pan, and (why don't we still have these?) a boot jack!
This pub brews on a much larger scale than the Coach & Horses, there's a dedicated brew-house containing a copper, mash tubs, a ginger beer tub (yes, ginger beer was definitely alcoholic in those days), buckets, shovels, a barrel-washer-tub and a barm trough (that's for the yeast). There's less stock in trade in the Turf, but that's probably because this inventory was taken, not when the landlord had died, but on the transfer of the pub from one man to another. William Hall is handing over to Joseph Overend who remains in the pub until 1863 according to the information in Barnsley Streets vol 1.
There's so much more I could do with this information, I need to find the pubs on the census and find out if the landlords had families or live in staff. How old were they, did they have second jobs? I'm really getting a picture of what pubs in Barnsley were like 170 years ago.
This really is a lot of fun ... well it is for me, I'm combining my two favourite hobbies, history and beer. Wonderful!