Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Graduate PH

The London Fire Brigade has served an Enforcement Notice on Mr Andrew Dillon the occupier of The Graduate PH, 107-109 Blackheath Road, London, SE10 8PD. The notice lists a number of matters including :
  • Failure to provide a suitable method of giving warning in case of fire.
  • Failure to provide adequate means for fire fighting.
  • Failure to ensure that emergency routes and exits are adequately lit.
as well as various management failings. Mr Dillon has until 9th August 2012 to comply with the requirements set out in the notice.

There has been a pub on the site for at least 170 years, but the present building is late Victorian. It was originally the Coach and Horses. Greenwich Council include it on their 'Local List' of Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Interest where it is described as:

107, ‘The Coach and Horses’ P.H. A fine example of late-Victorian Public House design. Part 3, part 4-storey building in red brick with stone dressings and Dutch gable dormer. Somewhat similar to, and forms pair with, the ‘George and Dragon’ P.H., Blackheath Hill, opposite. (Also Locally Listed).

It is, even by the standards of Victorian Pubs, a very large and imposing building and maintaining it, is I suspect an onerous task. I cannot be absolutely certain, but I think that the present building dates from c1890 when William Brewster was the owner and licensee. Brewster took over the old pub at 109 Blackheath Road in about 1880, but died at 107 - 109 in 1995.

William Brewster was born 1843 in Bury St Edmunds, his father Henry had been the landlord of the Three Bulls PH in the Meat Market, before moving to the Old Angel PH in College St (both in Bury St Edmunds) around the time William was born. By the time William was eight, Henry had moved out to Wickhambrook where he ran the Crown Inn, Malting End, but by William's eighteenth Henry was back in Bury St Edmunds itself running the Three Goats' Heads in Guildhall Street. Henry's last pub was the Woolpack in Fornham St Martin where he died in 1872. Henry's mother Mary Ann took on the license until her death in 1877, when William's younger brother Harry took over.

William had left Suffolk around the time of his father's death marrying Matilda Newell in Lambeth in 1873. Matilda, the daughter of Fornham Farmer (and former publican of the Butchers Arms PH Cemetery Road, Bury St Edmunds) Henry Newell.

William and Matilda ran a pub in Park Road, Camberwell. Their firstborn Thirza Matilda died in infancy, but Lillian Maud b1877, Sidney John b1881 and James Harry b1882 all survived them. Matilda died in 1882, presumably either in childbirth or from resulting complications.

Matilda's older sister Ellen came down from Bury St Edmunds to look after her niece and nephews, but it appears that she looked after her brother-in-law as well because within a few months she was pregnant. William and Ellen married on 7 Dec 1882 in Wood Green and their daughter Matilda May was born the following spring. A son Charles was born in 1887.

Up until 1890 the electoral registers show a voter resident at 107, Blackheath Road, but he is not on the 1891 register. The 1891 census taken on 5 April that year described William, Ellen and the children as being at 107-109. It may not be conclusive proof that the present building dates from around 1890, but it is a reasonable conclusion. The left hand side of the pub continues the building line of the adjacent terrace, but the previous 107 may have been wider.
After William's death Ellen and the children moved to 178 Lewisham Road, where she lived until her death in 1924.

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