Blunham Village Web Site.
By Bill Exley
- The Idea : of tracing the Blunham Pubs and Beerhouse histories,
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 sites, using Bedford Archives and Records held at County
Hall, with visits to Charles Wells : Brewers of Bedford : and Greene
King : Brewers, then at Biggleswade, later to be demolished - 1997.
- The Project : started around 1985/86 taking over a year, with visits to my reference sources, to begin the work on the 8 Pubs. This involved checking the Brewer's Records so giving me access to listings of tenants and dates, this is what I wanted. As records show, there were actually four to five different suppliers of Beers to the eight Blunham Pubs / Beerhouses. Over 30 years it has now expanded to Seventeen Links on various topics. (Jan.- 2022)
- I was employed by 'Texas Instruments Ltd' , then in Manton Lane, Bedford, a large American company, from 1969 to 1994. (it closed down c1996, the site then converts to a few Micro-Tech companies) - It
was here due to our jobs, I met Colin Hinson who was part of an inovative design team for ' T.I. ' who were World Leaders in their expertise. This involved 4 alphabets and 32 languages, in complex micro - electronics, a version used as a part of the 2004 Greek Olympics technology.. - He is also the Web-Master for the Blunham web site and others in the U.K.
- Later 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, he passed on to me all my own Editing responsibilities, with his tuition. (c1990) - This move allowed me to do all my own future Updates, Changes or produce new material, such as 'nine more different subjects'.
- The Wheatsheaf in Blunham : was a Beerhouse so just a room with no Bar, see Ref 12. for 'The Beerhouse' origin in Misc & Mash . I had assumed that the Beerhouse / or Ale House, (the local authority term) , had all gone by the 1930's, being so quaint and old fashioned. There were exceptions though, The Oak in Blunham up to 1958 and the 'Quaint' site 'The Case Is Altered ' in nearby Ravensden village in 1995 - . It was set within a row of old cottages on a hill, I still remember the sign in passing, showing a Judge. - A beerhouse was a cosy room with no bar so just provided personal Table Service for the drinkers.
- The Case is Altered. - First records as, - c1786. / 1st Lic - 1839. / Wm Fensome - 1901 to 1904. / James Harper - 1904 to 1940. / Connie Peet (nee Harper) & Dick Peet - 1961 to 1995 - (first full Lic 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 the Corn Exchange Hall with a Plaque outside, recording a show by The Glen Miller Orchestra * (14th Aug - 1944) . They also like to visit our Historical Castles, English towns and our '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 shelves with different sweet jars, at sometime, Red Formica tables were installed by Connie and Dick Peet. during 1961/95.
Glen Miller : - b. in Iowa , U.S.A. * 1/3/1904 .. / .. d. 15/12/1944 : when sadly his small plane disappeared over the English Channel . His orchestra was known for its unique rounded sound of harmonising Brass sections. He was the Band Leader as well as playing Trombone, 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 - Old Pubs, Bedford Corn Exchange & Major Glen Miller, our American visitors and I remember his music)
- Blunham Memories : of life in the village 100yrs ago, during the 1920's & 30's, by Jim Ellis, recorded - Nov. 2011 - at the age of 89yrs of age, recollections of life in Blunham thru' the eyes of a child during his visits. It includes some rare references to the ill fated R101 - Airship. , he was also the father of Julie Bennet. - visit The Crown site for a useful link up with - Blunham Memories - by Jim Ellis, . (via Colin Hinson) - or for just pure Trivia, see my link, to Misc and Mash below.
BREWERS & LINKS TO MY OTHER WORK
Brewers : that supplied Blunham, * * Day & Co : St Neots // Morris & Co : Ampthill // Oliver Steed Brewers : Baldock // Simpsons of Baldock, later to be under Greene King. // Newland : Bedford //- Susan Nash : Bedford, later to become, Newland & Nash Co Ltd : Bedford * *
Newland & Nash - Susan is 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, later Biggleswade - (Brewery is demolished in 1997) // Wells & Winch : Biggleswade merging with G.K. in 1961 // Charles Wells of Bedford // Records show, Bedford was well known for its many Brewers, e.g. on Duck Mill Lane, Lurke St, St Marys and other sites.
- The White Hart Inn / Alehouse : A Mystery 9th Pub was recorded / and recalled by locals, - Link to - The White Hart
The Last Pub :
open in Blunham is - 'The Horseshoes -
Pub' (on 23rd Feb / 2022)
The Seven Previous Pubs with Link, are listed below in Order of Closing
Records at Greene King & Charles Wells, Brewers. /
Bedford Borough Council - Archives Office & County Hall
Colin Hinson - expertise & inputs. / Philippa Exley / John Lihou / Bill Hill
The Guernsey Press Office - / - ref, Geoff Baker
Last Revision made by Bill Exley on - / - 2nd May / 2022