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Red Lion Inn Soho Road Handsworth

Barr_Beacon

The Prodigal Brummie
Midlands Today featured a pub in Handsworth about to be sold. I didn't catch it's name, can anyone identify it?
 

sylviasayers

master brummie
The pub was called The Red Lion, I think it is on the Soho Road. It looks a magnificent pub, the interior is very like the Bartons Arms, Aston. I do hope it can be saved.
 

jennyann

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
The Midlands Electricity Board held some of it's Children's Christmas parties at the Red Lion on Soho Road and I remember it was very nice inside. I hope that it will be refurbished at least.
 

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Peter Walker

gone but not forgotten
It's certainly a fine building, but terribly run down now, like so many others. It also has an interesting history, with at least one landlord of interest to me, as he designed a steam locomotive for tramways, and staged the first demonstration in Birmingham. That was before the present building replaced to original - he seems to have helped provide stables for tram horses from 1872. Must write more about it some time.
Peter
 

Barr_Beacon

The Prodigal Brummie
Thanks for the reply Peter! Your story sounds really interesting, I llok forward to reading it when you get a chance!
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Is this the predecessor to the existing (albeit run-down) Red Lion Inn on Soho Road ? This card is for sale on eBay, no date given. The sign above the door seems to say the Red Lion Inn and underneath it “John .....” Perhaps we can bring to light some of the information in the late Peter Walker’s post #5.

Viv

A2A57A4E-3FCE-4D18-ADDC-8E3618127DC6.jpeg
 

RobT

Acemeccanoman
There was a pub on this site since 1829, it was sold in 1893 and the pub shown in the above photographs was built in 1901.
See also

 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Surprised that the pub in the photos dates 1901/2. Looks much older. So there must have been another prior to this one.

A few snippets of Red Lion history from the British Newspaper Archive site. Note, in the third extract below it gives the address as Soho “Street”. Viv.

3/5/1859 Licences, possession and all effects for sale of the Red Lion Inn Handsworth (Birmingham Daily Post)

25/2/1862 George Hollis Landlord of Red Lion Inn Soho Street Handsworth (Birmingham Daily Post)

5/5/1884 The Red Lion Inn was set back about 9 feet from the pavement on Soho Road (Birmingham Daily Post)

14/6/1884 George James Byrne landlord of the Red Lion Inn Soho Road summoned for having an out of weight weighing machine. He was given a month to repair the machine (Smethwick Telephone)

13/9/1900 Licence refused to Holt Brewery Co Ltd , Red Lion Soho Road (Birmingham Daily Post)
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Sorry, I confused people on the setting back point. There was a debate about the building next door which had, without consent, been extended out to the pavement. It was just an observation that the pub was positioned 9ft back from the pavement (and had always been) as were other buildings along the row. Viv.
 

pjmburns

master brummie
Is this the predecessor to the existing (albeit run-down) Red Lion Inn on Soho Road ? This card is for sale on eBay, no date given. The sign above the door seems to say the Red Lion Inn and underneath it “John .....” Perhaps we can bring to light some of the information in the late Peter Walker’s post #5.

Viv

View attachment 156710
1868 Kelly's lists a John Downes at the Red Lion Soho Street, Handsworth. Is this the name over the door in this photo?
He is still listed there in the PO directory of 1878 also on 1881 census.
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Looks very likely Janice. If that is the case, the photo of the building in post #7 would have been taken well before 1901 and possibly no later than the 1880s. The photo in post #8 no longer has the board with licensee details. Viv.
 

pjmburns

master brummie
By 1883 it is listed to Alfred Wilson.
1852 it was William Kingsland
I also don't think Downes was there in 1862.
 
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mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
John Downes applied in July 1866 for a licence for the Red lion, the licence having apparently been given up "upwards of two years before". It is not clear whether he held the licence before that, He sold the pub on retirement in 1881


Birm post. 29.7.1866.jpgB.Post. 25.8.1881.jpg
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
John Downes was the person referred to in the late Peter Walkers post #5. Here’s an extract from Peter’s thread about Birmingham Steam Trams:

“The Soho Road experiment
Back to Birmingham, the first horse tramway opened in 1872 from Hockley Brook to Great Bridge and Hill Top, extended into Birmingham to Monmouth Street (Colmore Row) on 1 January 1873.
In 1875, Mr John Downes, licensee of the ‘Red Lion’, Soho Road, Handsworth, (also listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1879 as an Iron Merchant) took out a patent for ‘Improvements in locomotive and stationary steam engines’, claiming a cure for the ‘waste steam and smoke nuisance, and obviating all noise from the engine, thus making it particularly suitable for use on underground railways, tramways etc.’ He had a prototype engine built by Henry Hughes and Company, of the Falcon Works, Loughborough for £600. It was displayed in the forecourt of the ‘Red Lion’ in December 1875, and on 7 January it was put on to the horse tram tracks on Soho Road, and taken to the depot at Tildasley Street, West Bromwich. The next day the engine, coupled to an ordinary horse car, was driven to the ‘Red Lion’ and an official party of invited guests was taken to the ‘New Inns’, where luncheon was served. West Bromwich council became hostile to the locomotive and gave notice to Downes to cease his experiments by 27 January 1876. On 26 January the engine was driven into Birmingham at an early hour in the morning to test its hill-climbing capabilities. It climbed Hockley Hill without difficulty but lost adhesion at the top of Snow Hill, opposite the Great Western Hotel owing to the slippery state of the rails, but is was noted that the flange profile of the wheels was in any case too deep for proper adhesion”.


Viv.
 
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