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By Bill Exley
- My researches into the history of Pubs in Blunham village shows that there were eight establishements at one time - all ready and waiting to serve their thirsty and hardworking patrons. - When we moved into the village in December 1969 there were still four pubs open :- The Salutation and The Horseshoes - both sharing a view of the village square, The Whitehorse situated on The Hill and lastly, The Railway Tavern at the end of Station Road. The Railway Tavern was Formely The Railway Inn and later became The Huntress pub and busy resturant. - As of 2012 only one is left namely The Horseshoes by the church.. - also see my link to The White Hart of 1737 - a Mystery ninth Beerhouse.
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The Seven other pubs of Yesterdays' Blunham
Shown in closing order from most recent, with links to my other work.
- A Mystery 9th Pub is somewhere in Blunham and recorded by Central Bedfordshire & Luton s Archives in the past. . It was also recalled to me, more than once by several locals during my researches during the mid 1980's, - Now with hindsight, the question, - "where was it ? " - Their White Hart may have been in nearby Gt. Barford as a Bolt-Hole, - "The Gaffer won't walk in here" ? - See link to The White Hart of 1737 - to see the entry / Ref in - PM2846 - Also it is Not mentioned in a Swaffield Report of 1909 within The Wheatsheaf - Beerhouse data. - (why ?)
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- The Idea - of tracing any history of our Blunham Pubs / Beerhouses came about by interesting conversations 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 the old sites to me with his walking stick and nostalgic comments. I then wanted to compile a comprehensive listing of these Pubs using the Bedford Archives / records held at County Hall, (now re-named Bedfordshire Archive Service - 30/8/2022) combined with visits to the actual Charles Wells brewers of Bedford and Greene King brewers in Biggleswade. ( later to be demolished in 1997 )
-The Project - started around 1985 taking over a year with visits to my reference sources, to begin work on the 8 Pubs. This involved checking the Brewer's Records so giving me access to bygone history of tenants with dates, this is just what I wanted. As records have shown, there were actually Seven different suppliers of beers to the eight Blunham Pubs / Beerhouses and now with the passing of time, my work has expanded to 18 links in total on various topics. At this time I had no Computer, or the ability to access departmental records, it was just Tenacity and Shanks's Pony.
- I was employed from 1969 to 1994 by 'Texas Instruments Ltd', then in Manton Lane, Bedford, a large American company with sites in Lubbock & Dallas in Texas County, Italy, Germany, and France, (located in Nice). Later c1996, the T.I. Bedford Site was closed down and then converted into large Prestigious office spaces, now Manton Heights (Bedford Heights), Contemporary Business Spaces. This includes a Health Spa/Gym, a small Hotel in the massive carpark nearby, an Eye Clinic and some new Micro - Tech companies, all in a prime location and Glass Eco-Building.
- When I joined T.I. in 1969 we had over 3,00 employees, but due to ' financial trimming ' an eventual closure of the company takes place, now only 900 staff remain and we were still making huge profits. - It is of interest to note that 'Texas Inst. Ltd' (U.K.) began in the Bedford town area, known today as Dallas Road, Industrial Est. - in 1957 (65 yrs ago) and known as Geophysical Services International. (or G.S.I.) and a First Step as a Business Venture outside the U.S.A. for Texas Inst. Ltd. - and now in Germany, Italy, France (in Nice) and many other sites worldwide.
- It was here due to our jobs, I met Colin Hinson who was part of a very smart and inovative design team, with Bob Parsons and Trevor Jones, for 'T.I.' and World Leaders in their expertise, with many patents . The company designed and manufactured all types of electronic components to be used in most complex electronics, some Top Secret such as fast Computers, Military / Defence Systems - Security, GPS and Car Electronics of today.
- The first Digital Watches and T.I. Calculators , the solar powered TI- 605 / TI-606, now came on line and introduced to the public in the 1960's / 70's - For passing interest, the Worlds' first Mechanical Calculator was invented by Blaise Pascal - at 18yrs old ! in 1642 . At this point of history, 15th / 17th centuries, intricate wind-up clocks and watches were being produced.- For more, see Ref / 8. in my - Misc & Mash and its Mind Boggling Trivia.
- This era - c1974 also saw the design of Teletext , a capability called 'Ceefax/Oracle' using the Television, but the B.B.C. Engineers being the first in 1972 to think of this idea. - Ceefax was the forerunner of todays' Freeview and the Red Button, you entered 3- Digits in to call up a certain page. - All this utilised the first top 24 lines of the 720 / 1080 lines of a screen / picture formation, we do not notice this hidden information at the top. - (This was the old Analog Days, now we are in Dital times and fast changes)
- Our Texas Inst. decoders are capable of using - 4 Alphabets and 32 Languages - in complex micro - electronics, a version was used as a part of the 2004 Greek Olympics technology . This was the results of the T.I. Bedford - design team with Colin Hinson, Bob Parsons, Trevor Jones and others. - Colin also designed and maintains the Blunham Village web-site - (Blunham.com) and others in the U.K. covering many subjects. I was not involved with these world leading ideas, but supported and Calibrated their tools they trusted daily.
- Later Colin kindly suggested that I put all my Data, then just neat hard copy / lists, onto the Internet, with his help and web-site. After a few years, due to his own busy personal workload, he passed on to me all my own Editing responsibilities, with his tuition. (Feb.- 2012) - - This move allowed me to do all my own future updates, any changes or produce new material, such as 9 more different subjects. Now Colin could give 100% of his time and return to his own subjects. - So far all my various Projects / Hobby, has taken the last 30 years overall in my 'spare time' as Brain Fodder, to enter my 86th year. - (24/8/ 2022) - Mr Blex .
- The Wheatsheaf of Blunham was only a Beerhouse, along with three others, so just a room with no Bar, - for Origin, see ref 12 of - Misc and Mash - I had assumed that all the Beerhouses or Alehouses, the local authority term, had closed by the 1930's, being so quaint and old fashioned. There were exceptions though, ' The Oak ' in Blunham until 1958 and the quaint site 'The Case Is Altered ' in nearby Ravensden village until 1995 - it was set within a row of very old cottages on a hill. - I still remember the sign in passing showing an irate Judge with a Quill in hand ! ..
- These Beerhouses just provided a cosy - warm room to chat, with a drink and personal Table Service for the drinkers, by a cosy open fire for a chilly night. - The Case is Altered was first recorded in 1786, . then 1st Licence in 1839 to a William. Fensome. : 1901 to 1904 / James, Samuel Harper - 1904 to 1940 / Connie, Ruth, Mary Peet (nee Harper) & Dick Peet - 1961 to 1995 - (first full Licence granted on 21/10/65) after closing it reverts back to a cottage. It was always a popular 'Must' visit by our American visitors to Bedford and our Corn Exchange Hall with a Plaque outside, recording a show by The Glen Miller Orchestra - (14th Aug - 1944) . They also like to visit our Historic Castles, English towns and our many 'Pubs'. The room where you drank was like a Time Machine, set in the 1950's, with old tables etc. and prints of our Royal Family, flags and ornaments of a bygone era, there were even some shelves with different sweet jars.
- Glen Miller : from Iowa State, U.S.A. - . he was born 1/3/1904 - * - d. 15/12/1944 when sadly his small plane disappeared over the English Channel. en-route for France. He had just given a performance 4 mths previous, August in Bedford, U.K. - his orchestra was known for its unique 'rounded - sound' of harmonising Brass sections. He was the Band Leader as well as playing Trombone and his signature tunes were 'String of Pearls' , Little Brown Jug, 'Tuxedo Junction' and 'In the Mood' . This made the band instantly recognisable, in the same way as the voices of Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley. - ( Relev. - links to our Old Pubs, the Bedford Corn Exchange & his visit, our American visitors or readers and I remember his music).
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Here are two Nostalgic recollections of a Blunham Past during the early 1900's and World War 2 years.
Both articles / Copy, Courtesy of Colin Hinson and his Blunham Home Page : 15th Sept. 2023
Please note Both these articles are - Fully Copyright Protected (in 2011 and 28th Aug 2023)
- Take a wander , thru' Misc & Mash from 1903 to 2023, or English Fifty-Pence Varieties, (1969 to 2022), - and a 'Bygone Guernsey' , 1830's to 1969. One of the Seven Channel Isles , U.K. . - . (Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou and Brechou / Brecqhou, a private Island off Sark owned by the Barclay brothers.
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- Brewers : - Suppliers of beers to Blunham, Eight in all.
For interest : a Benj. Greene, Brewer - (1799) of Bury St Edmunds, joins up with a Wm. King in 1887 to become Greene King. (see below)
Newland & Nash - Susan Nash now 79yrs old and a recent Widow, she seeks help and joins up with the Newland Brewer on 5/8/1890 // Greene King of Suffolk, (6th) later to be the Biggleswade-Brewery, (but to be demolished in 1997) // Wells & Winch : Biggleswade - (7th Brewery), merging with Greene King. - 18/10/61 // Charles Wells : Bedford. (8th Brewery) . - Records show that Bedford was well known for its many Breweries, e.g. within the Bedford town area, on Duck Mill Lane, Lurke Street, St Marys and other sites around the town area .
Greene King & Charles Wells, Brewers and Bedfordshire Archive Service for Records held.
Colin Hinson - for all his Expertise, Inputs, Tuition and Patience.
Guernsey Press Office - re. Geoff Baker & his 'Theo's Wreck' article - Billy Hill, Philippa Exley and John Lihou.
Last Revision made by Bill Exley on - 27th Aug. / 2023