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By Bill Exley
My research of the Blunham Public Houses and Beer Houses of bygone years, came about by interesting conversatioms with an old Blunham Gent called Ernest Jeffries. We used to walk slowly up The Hill, due to his advanced years, and he would point out old sites to me with his walking stick. I then got the bug to compile a comprehensive listing of these sites using Bedford Archives and Records held at County Hall, together with visits to the Brewers of Charles Wells of Bedford and Greene King at Biggleswade, now closed down and replaced by an Asda Store.
The project started in 1985 taking a year with visits in my spare time after work at Texas Instruments Ltd then in Bedford. It was here due to our jobs , I met Colin Hinson who was part of an inovative design team for Texas Instruments and world leaders in their expertise. This involved 4 alphabets and 32 languages, in complex micro- electronics, a version becoming a part of the 2004 Greek Olympics. He is the Web-Master for the Blunham Web Site and others.
I came to our village in Dec. 1969 leaving Guernsey and Tektronix Ltd after 7 Years. Later, around 1998, Colin kindly suggested that I put my work (then just neat Hard Copy) onto the Internet, with his help and Site. After a few years, due to his own personal workload, Colin gave me my own Editing responsibilities.
The Queen's Head closed as a pub in 1926. when Herbert Currant left it to go to The Horse Shoes for 30 yrs, however I have no evidence to show anyone else went in. Another slight twinge of doubt is the description for The Wheatsheaf, I assumed it was a Beerhouse and not a Pub for Beer sales, Beerhouses had no Bar, (See my Link to Misc & Mash - Ref 13 ).
I thought that Beerhouses had all gone by the 1930's, being so old fashioned, but there were exceptions e.g. The Oak up to 1958 and the 'Quaint' Beerhouse in nearby Ravensden, The Case Is Altered. This was set amogst a row of cottages on a hill in the village, but sadly closed during the 1990's, always a popular Must visit by American visitors to Bedford. The room where you drank was like a Time Machine, set in the 1950's, with prints of our Royal Family, flags and ornaments of a bygone era.
Enter the Links below to explore our Public House histories, try the English Fifty Pence Varieties, or a Thesis - 1st Guernsey Sea Scouts - 1946 - 1953, by Bill Hill - Guernsey. (2018)
Addendum 22nd May 2012- There has been some speculation as to the existance of a 9th Pub in Blunham and upon further investigation , I have uncovered a White Hart Inn ( Public House/Beer House ? ) that was somewhere in Blunham village , to date the excact location remains a mystery. The owners were a William Astell & son Richard as mentioned in the Luton & Bedford archives of 1737. (also see ref in The Wheatsheaf Pub entry) I have even researched 'The White Hart' Pub of the nearby village of Gt. Barford, only a mile away, but no match was found here.
Perhaps the Drinkers walked the 1 mile to Gt. Barford, as some of the fields they worked in picking Brussel Sprouts, stretched from the village to the river Gt.Ouse at Gt. Barford ? Brusseling was a hard, cold and damp job to do around the Christmas season, as the crop was all hand picked then netted, in freezing conditions.
Today, there is only one Pub left in Blunham (2011) and that is - The Horseshoes - ,the other 7 previous pubs in Blunham are shown in order of closing.
LINKS TO MY OTHER WORK
Page last updated - 2nd Oct -2020 - by Bill Exley.