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The Swan and Red Lion, Church Street - Bread Street

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
A bit of a conundrum for me…..came across this Warren Blackham painting of the junction of Church Street and Bread Street (now Cornwall Street) featuring THE SWAN Inn….and then noticed what I thought looked like the old Red Lion (now the Old Royal) down the street?

bread st and church st.jpg

62605962_695538050885962_2133575925420261376_n.jpg


Now I have done some old stuff on the infamous Red Lion before. And wondered if mikejee or anyone has a map of the area around 1879, that shows the whereabouts of these pubs….? He did kindly produce an almost perfect map some time ago, but the pub names are blurred and distorted…..can he translate pretty please?

file-1.jpg



Some info on the two pubs covered from Joe McKenna’s great Central Birmingham Pubs book….

"Church Street, running parallel to Newhall Street, takes its name from St Philip's church, now the Anglican Cathedral. Of the public houses here there was a veritable menagerie.

The White Hart was established at 21 Church Street by 1869, under landlord Augustus Grew.
There was the Tiger at 47 Church Street between 1818 and 1870.
There was the White Swan at 1 Church Street. Edward Venables was licensee in 1807. This house was kept at one time by
Edward Bingley, who was arrested for coining, by George Redfern, a well-known head constable in Birmingham duringthe early nineteenth century. Bingley and his two confederates were later hanged for their crime at Warwick. Redfern, it is said, later married Bingley's widow, and became an innkeeper. The house, situated on the corner of Great Charles Street, was rebuilt, but closed in 1892 for road widening.

The Roebuck was here from 1767, when John Cart was listed as landlord. The house appears to have been renamed the Church Tavern, and was here until 1830.

The Beehive Stores, a beerhouse, surrendered its license in 1892 under the Improvement Scheme, when Church Street was widened. The George & Dragon opened in 1820, with Henry Chambers as licensee. He remained here until his death in 1852, at the age of sixty-seven. His widow took over the license, remaining for a further nine years, thus making a total of forty-one years between them. The license was surrendered in 1892.

The Red Lion at the junction of Church Street and Bread Street was built c. 1775. Its reputation began with the arrival of Mr Litchfield in 1780. He had formerly been landlord of the Three Crowns in Deritend. Under him the house gained an enviable reputation.

For nearly one hundred years the Red Lion remained in the possession of the extended family. Litchfield relinquished control of the hotel to his son-in-law, John Barlow, a former metal roller in Hampton Street. Barlow was not much of a landlord, so the license was passed onto another son-in-law, Tom Birch. He was better suited to the task. Upon his death his widow, Litchfield's daughter, took up the reins. Upon her death her younger brother,Joseph Litchfield, took charge.

He continued as landlord until 1877 when the old Red Lion passed out of family hands, and was taken over by Harriet Usborne. The Red Lion is bestknown for being the spiritual home of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. This scientific and literary society was founded in 1831. It meets annually at one of the principal cities of the United Kingdom. In 1839 it met at Birmingham. There was a breakaway movement of some of the younger members under Edward Forbes, who objected to the expense and formality of the occasion, and adjourned to the less expensive Red Lion. Here they dined more cheaply, their meals enlivened by jokes and songs. A decade later the Association returned to Birmingham and made the Red Lion their headquarters once more. In 1883, as part of the Improvement Scheme for the town, the authorities decided that the house should be 'rebuilt to meet the requirements of a better class ofbusiness on the existing or such larger area as the Justices may approve'.

The houses either side, in Church Street and Bread Street, were demolished and the Red Lion was extended. Bread Street was later redeveloped and became an extension of Cornwall Street. The Red Lion closed in 1898. A couple of years later a second public house of the same name was built on the other side of Church Street, at its junction with Cornwall Street.

The new house was designed by Arthur Hamblin, and built 1899 -1900. It is a visual delight in red brick and cream terracotta, with gables and pediments, in a mock Jacobean style.

There is much stained glass and above its corner entrance is a turret with a conical top, surmounted by a lion weather vane, reflecting its original name. A change in name occurred in 1964 when the Old Royal Hotel in Temple Row was demolished and M&B transferred the name to the Red Lion at 53 Church Street. Sympathetically refurbished during the 1990s, the Old Royal has an entry in the Good Beer Guide for 2006.

file-6.jpg21587093_10155653791897270_4584017768824500537_o.jpgfile.jpg
 
Last edited:

JennyG

New Member
A bit of a conundrum for me…..came across this Warren Blackham painting of the junction of Church Street and Bread Street (now Cornwall Street) featuring THE SWAN Inn….and then noticed what I thought looked like the old Red Lion (now the Old Royal) down the street?

View attachment 134903

View attachment 134902


Now I have done some old stuff on the infamous Red Lion before. And wondered if mikejee or anyone has a map of the area around 1879, that shows the whereabouts of these pubs….? He did kindly produce an almost perfect map some time ago, but the pub names are blurred and distorted…..can he translate pretty please?

View attachment 134904



Some info on the two pubs covered from Joe McKenna’s great Central Birmingham Pubs book….

"Church Street, running parallel to Newhall Street, takes its name from St Philip's church, now the Anglican Cathedral. Of the public houses here there was a veritable menagerie.

The White Hart was established at 21 Church Street by 1869, under landlord Augustus Grew.
There was the Tiger at 47 Church Street between 1818 and 1870.
There was the White Swan at 1 Church Street. Edward Venables was licensee in 1807. This house was kept at one time by
Edward Bingley, who was arrested for coining, by George Redfern, a well-known head constable in Birmingham duringthe early nineteenth century. Bingley and his two confederates were later hanged for their crime at Warwick. Redfern, it is said, later married Bingley's widow, and became an innkeeper. The house, situated on the corner of Great Charles Street, was rebuilt, but closed in 1892 for road widening.

The Roebuck was here from 1767, when John Cart was listed as landlord. The house appears to have been renamed the Church Tavern, and was here until 1830.

The Beehive Stores, a beerhouse, surrendered its license in 1892 under the Improvement Scheme, when Church Street was widened. The George & Dragon opened in 1820, with Henry Chambers as licensee. He remained here until his death in 1852, at the age of sixty-seven. His widow took over the license, remaining for a further nine years, thus making a total of forty-one years between them. The license was surrendered in 1892.

The Red Lion at the junction of Church Street and Bread Street was built c. 1775. Its reputation began with the arrival of Mr Litchfield in 1780. He had formerly been landlord of the Three Crowns in Deritend. Under him the house gained an enviable reputation.

For nearly one hundred years the Red Lion remained in the possession of the extended family. Litchfield relinquished control of the hotel to his son-in-law, John Barlow, a former metal roller in Hampton Street. Barlow was not much of a landlord, so the license was passed onto another son-in-law, Tom Birch. He was better suited to the task. Upon his death his widow, Litchfield's daughter, took up the reins. Upon her death her younger brother,Joseph Litchfield, took charge.

He continued as landlord until 1877 when the old Red Lion passed out of family hands, and was taken over by Harriet Usborne. The Red Lion is bestknown for being the spiritual home of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. This scientific and literary society was founded in 1831. It meets annually at one of the principal cities of the United Kingdom. In 1839 it met at Birmingham. There was a breakaway movement of some of the younger members under Edward Forbes, who objected to the expense and formality of the occasion, and adjourned to the less expensive Red Lion. Here they dined more cheaply, their meals enlivened by jokes and songs. A decade later the Association returned to Birmingham and made the Red Lion their headquarters once more. In 1883, as part of the Improvement Scheme for the town, the authorities decided that the house should be 'rebuilt to meet the requirements of a better class ofbusiness on the existing or such larger area as the Justices may approve'.

The houses either side, in Church Street and Bread Street, were demolished and the Red Lion was extended. Bread Street was later redeveloped and became an extension of Cornwall Street. The Red Lion closed in 1898. A couple of years later a second public house of the same name was built on the other side of Church Street, at its junction with Cornwall Street.

The new house was designed by Arthur Hamblin, and built 1899 -1900. It is a visual delight in red brick and cream terracotta, with gables and pediments, in a mock Jacobean style.

There is much stained glass and above its corner entrance is a turret with a conical top, surmounted by a lion weather vane, reflecting its original name. A change in name occurred in 1964 when the Old Royal Hotel in Temple Row was demolished and M&B transferred the name to the Red Lion at 53 Church Street. Sympathetically refurbished during the 1990s, the Old Royal has an entry in the Good Beer Guide for 2006.

View attachment 134905View attachment 134901View attachment 134906
 
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