Wednesday 28 November 2012

The mystery of the Nelson Street pubs

The OH, being a CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) member of long standing has a good knowledge of the local pubs.  In the process of updating his Local Guide, the Barnsley CAMRA online Pub Guide and What Pub his knowledge has been tested.  He has a CD of pub pictures from last time Barnsley CAMRA did a thorough survey of the area, it dates from 1991/2.  To check that we hadn't missed any pubs in our recent upload to What Pub we started to cross check against this listing.

Mostly the OH knew where all the missing pubs had been before their demolition but one completely stumped him.

The Gardener's Arms, somewhere in Barnsley
The Gardener's Arms from another angle
I've given the game away with the title of this blog, but it took me nearly three days to work out where this pub had been.  A similar picture to the first one above can be found on Yococo, the Barnsley Archives picture library, but it is labelled "Pitt Street Barnsley, Gardener's Arms public house", and the only pub we could find on Old Maps for Pitt Street was the Vine Inn, which also appears in Barnsley Streets, vol 2 on pages 63-64.  There are no pictures of the Vine on Yococo. 

Eventually a Google search hit on an entry on the National Archives site for "Miscellaneous papers salvaged from The Gardener's Arms, Nelson Street, Barnsley, just prior to demolition, Summer 1990".  The items listed weren't very interesting, but the address of the pub was just what I was after.  Adjacent to the entry for the Vine in Barnsley Streets 2 is a note that Nelson Street was shortened when the Western Relief Road was built causing the Eagle Inn to be lost,  another pub the OH had never heard of.  On page 60 of the book is a map from around the 1960s indicating with a dotted line the path of destruction that the relief road was to cause.  It runs straight through no 18, Nelson Street, which is labelled PH for public house and continues on right through no 28, Pitt Street, the Vine Inn.  But there is no mention of the Gardener's Arms ...

As an Open University student I can access a website called Digimap.  The 1960s map of Nelson Street at the right scale isn't the same as the one in Barnsley Streets, but actually it does sort out a couple of questions I had about the picture on Yococo. 

Nelson Street, Pitt Street anad Castlereagh Street in the 1960s show a PH at 18 Nelson Street (from Digimap)
In the map above Nelson Street ends on Castlereagh Street with the Public House at no 18 on the corner, and where its continuation was there is a large building, apparently part of a Textile Engineering Works according to the map.  The photo of the Gardener's Arms on Yococo must have been taken from the short road that runs from NW to SE above this building.  The second photo from the CAMRA CD was taken from Castlereagh Street standing near the Church of the Holy Rood looking ENE towards the pub on the corner.  Apart from the church this area is now mostly taken up with Morrison's supermarket and the Westway.

In Barnsley Streets 2 the map shows Nelson Street running straight down through Castlereagh Street and beyond, bounded on the west by a school playground and on the east by a car park.  The OH and I had been very puzzled by the Yococo picture, initially we could only assume that the person taking it had stood in the middle of the carpark, despite there being an obvious roadway in the picture.  In fact when I zoomed out of Digimap the map at the scale above looked much more like the one in the book.

1960s map of Nelson Street, Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street showing the path of the Relief Road (from Digmap)
(Sorry for the big black lines but the .gif image wouldn't open in Photoshop so I added the lines in Paint, a bit heavy handedly, to show the path of the relief road, as indicated in Barnsley Streets.) The two maps are from the same decade, but based on the changes to the street layout, the upper one must be later as the picture of the Gardener's Arms on Yococo is dated 1970s and definitely shows a road where there isn't one on the map in Barnsley Streets 2 or in the second map section above. Shame on you Barnsley Streets 2 for consfusing us!

Remember that Barnsley Streets 2 only mentions the Eagle Inn on Nelson Street - nothing about the Gardener's Arms, and yet we have pictures of the Gardener's but nothing for the Eagle.  The listing for the Eagle in the book ends with Emma Wordsworth's occupancy from 1928 to 1931, before that was Wm. Wordsworth from 1922 to 1928.  There is a 1927 Kelly's Directory on Ancestry which lists "Wadsworth Wm.  Eagle P.H. 17 Nelson Street".  Just a small discrepancy in the name there, Wordsworth and Wadsworth, but this can be followed up.  The same directory lists "Humphrey Herbert, beer retailer, 18 Nelson Street".  A listing as a beer retailer suggests that the Gardener's Arms had a beerhouse licence at the time, it would not have sold wines and spirits. 

Before the 1911 census was fully transcribed Ancestry provided access to the Summary Books and it is possible to search them by street. 

1911 census summary book for part of Nelson Street, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
Number 18 Nelson Street is listed as a Public House and the occupant is Mr Wadsworth.  Hang on, Wadsworth, shouldn't he be in the Eagle ...?

Higher numbers on Nelson Street, from the 1911 census summary books (on Ancestry)
At number 17 Nelson Street in 1911 the occupier is Mr Hornby - the address is confirmed as being the Eagle Inn and John Hornby appears in the list of publicans for the Eagle in Barnsley Streets 2 from 1909 - 1912. 

Just to double check I looked at the census return for both properties.  William Wadsworth is living at 18 Nelson Street with his wife Emma (probably the Emma who takes over the Eagle in 1928, we assume after William's death) and family of five plus a servant girl.

1911 Census for William Wadsworth and family at 18 Nelson Street (from Ancestry)

The cover of the census return showing the address including Gardener's Arms
William does not include the name Gardener's Arms in his address on the census listing page, however it does appear on the reverse of the return, in different handwriting so I assume this was filled out by the enumerator before he distributed the forms.

1911 Census for John Hornby at the Eagle Inn 17 Nelson Street (from Ancestry)
John Hornby at the Eagle has a servant girl as well, his pub is slightly smaller with 8 rooms compared to the Gardener's 10 rooms.  John, however describes himself as a Licensed Victualler whereas William declares himself to be a Publican.  This supports the suggestion earlier that the Gardener's Arms only sells beer at this point.

All we need to do now is find the Eagle on a map and we'll have solved the mystery of the Nelson Street pubs.

1889 map of the Castlereagh, Nelson and Pitt Street area (from Old Maps this time)
The blocks where there was a playground, car park and factory buildings in the 1960s are filled with back to back houses in 1889.  The Eagle Inn at no 17 is lower down Nelson Street, on the opposite side to the Gardener's at no 18 as we would expect being an odd numbered address.  Notice the Albion Inn on the corner of Castlereagh Street and Blucher Street and the Shakespeare just appearing at the top right on Wellington Street. Genuinely 'a pub on every corner', well nearly!  On an earlier map, from 1852, only the Albion and Vine Tavern, in the top left of the above map, appear.  The site of the Gardener's Arms is an empty lot and the Eagle is three cottages.

I like the above map as well, for showing multiple places of worship, the Holy Rood Roman Catholic church, the Salem Chapel (Wesleyan Reform) on one side of Blucher Street and the United Free Methodist Chapel on the other.  The 1998/2000 baptism transciptions from these last two are amongst the work I've been able to bring home from the Archives to retranscibe (as the electronic copies have been lost).  If you skip back to the 1960s maps you will see that the Elim Pentacostal Church has appeared on Nelson Street, and the Church of the Holy Rood has been rebuilt in what I assume are its gardens on the 1889 map, with the older building being reused as a school.

The OH has now plotted both the Gardener's Arms and the Eagle on his CAMRA pub guide, but I haven't told him about the Albion yet ... I might save it for a birthday present - tomorrow!


Unknown said...

My great great grandfather owned the Gardner's Arms! William Wadsworth he along with another realtive William Howarth owned several pubs in Barnsley in the early 1900's including the Duke of York (that was owned in 1907 by my maternal great grandfather John Ambrose Brown and Martha Brown (nee Howarth). John died in 1907 and Martha took over the Duke. Interestingly Martha remarried a man named Denvers and they moved to Manchester. She contracted TB in 1911 and actually came back to Barnsley and died at the Gardner's Arms. I have the death certificate that shows this if you would like it.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for reading my blog - I hope you found it interesting. The fact that your ancestor, who features in the blog post, was actually the owner of the pub is a useful piece of information. In these days of big companies and pub chains we forget that individuals actually used to own and run the pubs themselves.

I have been thinking about doing some work on publicans in Barnsley in the 19th century - see my post on John Savage for example (

Thanks again for getting in touch.

E shaw said...

I was born at the comercal pub in 1952 my father then took the gardeners arm on 18 Nilsson street in1954 we came out in 1983 ish the three houses on nelson street next to the pub was the brewerys I went in them all only very small I don't think large at all I can name the people in them next to houses was large yard what Robinson fairs used must have been houses at one time as you could see fire places on the gable end to castle reign stree was Hammond coal depot then slauter house then small shop then chapel my mum used to live on blutcher street next to robin sons rag and bone yard I worked there on saterdays in 1960 hope this is useful to you e shaw

Overlander said...

Hello! I'm sending this comment, or should it be request from the other side of the world - from my retirement base in the Philippines. I'm researching material for a book I'm writing on my family history - which covers our time from the early 1900s as publicans in both Barnsley and Bradford. My Great Grandfather, Joseph Hobson Cotterill was Mayor of Barnsley at the time of the Royal Visit in 1912 - His son, Arthur Cotterill, was Landlord of the Moulders Arms from 1914-24; and of the Duke of York in the 1920s, before moving across to Bradford with my Mum and the rest of the family. I gather from your Blog that you are researching Barnsley pubs. I wondered if you had come across any information on either of these two pubs and my grandfather which would help me in my research. If so, I would be very grateful to hear from you. Keep up the good work on your Blog. Regards and best wishes, CHARLES KEIGHLEY

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for commenting Charles, I have replied to your email. It is always great to see that people read and enjoy my writing. Thanks for getting in touch and I'll keep my eyes peeled for mentions of your Grandfather's pubs.

anonymous said...

My great grandfather William Wadsworth owned the Gardener's Arms but moved to the Eagle Inn in 1921 as the Gardener's Arms was only an alehouse and the Eagle held a spirits licence, my grandfather lived at both addresses. William's wife Emma was largely responsible for running the pubs and her father William Howarth held the licenses between 1904 and 1908 as William was deemed 'not acceptable as a licensee'! Following the General Strike William and Emma raised funds to support a soup kitchen that they ran from the pub.
William died at the Eagle Inn in 1928 and Emma continued to run the pub for a few years.

Paul Smith said...

I have been trying to track down my Great Grandfather Arthur Glover and while checking various Census records found this.
1881 Census - 18 Nelson Street (Gardeners Arms)
John Glover 41 Innkeeper
Mary Ann 40 Innkeeper
Arthur 18 Innkeeper
Joseph 7
Ada 3

Not sure if this is my Arthur Glover, still checking. But this is the same pub.