Shepherds Crook Beerhouse

The Shepherds Crook Beerhouse Slip End

The Shepherd’s Crook shown in red on a map of 1901
The Shepherd’s Crook Beerhouse: 37 and 37a Front Street, Slip End

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Shepherd’s Crook beerhouse was first licensed 1861. This statement must be treated with some caution as the register is not always accurate on such dates. The owner at this date was Sarah Godfrey of Potters Bar [Hertfordshire]. The licensee, Samuel Abrahams, was a sub-tenant as Sarah leased the property to Henry Kingsley of Kimpton [Hertfordshire], he was a brewer.

The countywide register of 1891 gives W. Kingsley as the lease holder and the owner as Mrs. Timberlake. The licensee was Percival Wise. The countywide licensing register of 1903 states that Mrs. King of Barnet [Hertfordshire] was now the owner and she was leasing it to Luton brewers J. W. Green Limited. Strangely, there is no mention of the house in the Green archive [WB]. The house was in fair repair, though one wall was damp and sanitation was satisfactory. It was 56 yards from the nearest licensed property (the Sheep Shearers) and had a front door but no public entrance at the side or the back.

In 1915 the licensing magistrates considered not renewing the licence and asked for a report on the Shepherd’s Crook [CLP11]. The valuer stated that the house comprised the following: a bar measuring 13 feet 7 inches by 12 feet 2 inches by 7 feet 6 inches high; a parlour measuring 18 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 11 inches by 7 feet 2 inches; an entrance passage measuring 13 feet 7 inches by 5 feet 3 inches by 7 feet 6 inches; a scullery measuring 9 feet 3 inches by 8 feet 3 inches by 7 feet 9 inches; three bedrooms; a W. C.; a urinal and two front one side entrances, an obvious development from 1903. The licensee, Robert Robinson also worked for Luton Gas Company. The house had a frontage of 31 feet 5 inches and was owned by Harpenden [Hertfordshire] brewers Glover & Son. An accompanying map shows marks today’s numbers 37 and 37a Front Street as being the property. The license was not renewed.

This map evidence is a little puzzling. The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting 37 and 3a [DV1/C24/93-94] found that they had, between them, eight bedrooms, not the three listed in the 1915 report.

Number 37 was Owned and occupied by B. Dyer and comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and five bedrooms. A weather-boarded and corrugated iron barn and a brick and slate earth closet stood outside. The valuer queried: “?was 2 Cottages”. 37a was owned by D. Burgess and occupied by A. Rolt who paid rent of 11/7 per fortnight. His accommodation comprised a reception room, a kitchen, a scullery, three bedrooms and a brick and slate barn and earth closet. This sounds more like the description given in 1915 but the frontage of 37a is certainly not 31 feet 5 inches!

The likeliest explanation for the discrepancies is that 37 and 37a both formed one dwelling in 1915, with a frontage of 31 feet 5 inches. At some point between this date and 1925 the property was divided into two and the three large bedrooms were subdivided to form eight between the two properties.


PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1901;
PSL6a/1: Register of Alehouse Licences: c.1890-1922

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1864-1877: Samuel Abrahams;
1877: Mary Grigg;
1877-1885: Thomas Hoar;
1885: Edward Henry Smith;
1885-1889: George Jackson;
1889-1890: William Allen;
1890-1892: Alfred Mayes;
1892-1893: Percival Wise;
1893-1894: Harry Linger;
1894-1897: William Kilby;
1897-1901: Frederick William Tuffnell;
1901-1902: Arthur Kilby;
1902: Albert Hunt;
1902-1904: William George Atkins;
1904-1909: George Charles Jones;
1909-1911: Edwin Law;
1911-1912: William Daniels;
1912-1913: George Daniel Matthews;
1913-1915: Robert Robinson;
Beerhouse closed March 1915