The Red, White and Blue: what do you know?

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This cottage on the brown of Springhill, between Shire Oak and Muckley Corner used to be a pub. I took this picture in 2011 when it was up for sale.

I have an enquiry here that popped up via the comments on my old ‘Lost pub of Piehill’ article yesterday, and it’s a good one, so I think it’s worth sharing: reader Claire asks if anyone has any information on the Red, White and Blue pub at Springhill, on the Walsall Road between Shire Oak and Muckley Corner?

Claire asked:

Hi

I’m trying to find some information on an old pub called the Red, White and Blue on the Walsall Road it is now a house called The Willows.

I don’t ever remember the old and run-down cottage as a pub, but now renamed The Willows, it was extensively renovated in the last decade. Despite all the work, the cottage is still recognisable as a old building. I must confess, I know little about the place and I’d be interested to know if readers have anything to contribute on the matter.

I believe that in the 1980s the house was occupied by a family by the name of Mason, and may have operated as a plant nursery, but I’m not certain of that.

Brian Ansell commented later that evening:

All I can offer is that the last time I went in there was in the mid 1960s with my brother Robert (Sailor) Edwards and his friend Gordon (Gogga) Gibson (whose father Elijah Gibson ran the Top Oak for many years).

I was fourteen at the time and the only beer they had was a barrel sitting on the bar which was usually for the farmers sustenance but knowing our Bob and Gogga the landlady would allow me a half pint and the others a pint. This was a regular occurance as in the summer months we would walk to Lichfield and back for a day out and whilst doing so we would pop into a few pubs on the way.

Thanks to both Claire, for an interesting enquiry, and to Brian for a great memory, there. Please, if you have anything further to add, do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

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41 Responses to The Red, White and Blue: what do you know?

  1. Mike Stackhouse says:

    Like Brian, we used to walk round the roads, but not very often to Lichfield. Dad and mom used to take us a walk down Chase road, along the Watling Street to Muckley Corner and then down the Lichfield Road and when we got to The R,w & B we would stop for a Pint and Pop. i have a recollection of going up some steps or a rise as the pub stood higher than the road. Can anyone confirm that? then we would go down a little and cut through the Lane and back up the Chemmie to The Avenues. Dad would then go across the road to The Middleton (Breezes) House, ah the days of one’s childhood evoking good, and sometimes bad memories, but good or bad they are bought out!

  2. Hi, I will have a search of the Lichfield District Council Archives and share what information we hold

    • Hi Gareth

      Good to see you’re still reading 😉 welcome
      Anything you have would be ace – cheers!

      Thanks
      Bob

      • I have some old aerial imagery that I have found not sure if I have sent these too you already but cover Shire Oak down to the centre of Aldridge (1971) I will get these to you for use on your blog , eventually we will get these uploaded on the flickr site we have created …

        • Hi Gareth

          That sounds great, I’d love to have those. You haven’t sent me them before – they could answer a few questions actually.

          If you could, that would be wonderful, thank you

          You star!

          Cheers
          Bob

          • Hi Bob,

            Managed to scan the 1971 Aerials covering Aldridge and Brownhills. Sent you an email via dropbox so you can download these high res images. Please share with your followers and look forward to reading any views and discoveries as a result as always

            Thanks

  3. Andy Dennis says:

    In my research into landlords I only found one record that fits the RW&B. The 1871 census has a licensed victualler at Spring Hill named Alexander Lakin. The other pub nearby, the Boat, was run from 1863 until at least 1872 by a Joseph Langley (sources Lichfield Mercury and Post Office Directory).

    Extracts from Lichfield Mercury 5 Feb 1926
    Lichfield County Licensing Sessions
    Supt. H Jones reported that there were in the district Alehouses 50, beerhouses “on” 20, beerhouses “off” 15, wines and spirits “off” 3, total 88.
    They proposed to renew the licenses of the other houses with the exception of five, which would be adhourned to the next meeting, with a view to referring them to compensation. They were the Seven Stars, Watling Street, Wall, fully licensed house (Holt Brewery), Royal Oak, Upper Stonnall, beerhouse (Lichfield Brewery), Royal George, High Street, Brownhills, beerhouse (Eley’s Brewery, Stafford), and Red, White and Blue, Walsall Road, Spring Hill, beerhouse (executors of E. A. Beard, of Lynn.

    I see only four! Though there was another deferred case re Woodhouses.

    Obviously there is more information to be mined, so I will have another look later on.

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    Next instalment, more to come.
    These are in order of discovery, rather than chronological.
    Lichfield Mercury 1 Apr 1938
    There is a detailed, almost blow-by-blow, account of the final of the Baker Cup played between the darts teams of the Three Crowns Inn, the home team, and the Earl of Lichfield.
    For this, though, one of the referees was Mr H Mason of the Red, White and Blue, Stonnall.
    Lichfield Mercury 24 Jan 1947
    More darts. Baker Cup final, Goat’s Head 7, Red, White and Blue 1. There is also a league table. The top three were Scales, Trooper, Goat’s Head. RW&B was 8th. In the league RW&B beat Three Crowns 7-1.
    In the Baker Cup final the RW&B team was A Aspley, S Smith, D Vowles, L Horton, F Whitehouse, W Holmes, F Horobin, J Chapman.
    Lichfield Mercury 28 Jan 1938
    “Some time last year a dart league was formed among the numerous hotels and inns of Lichfield and district, and it now embraces some fourteen clubs, including the Fox and Hounds at Shenstone and the Red, White and Blue at Stonnall, as well as the majority of the Lichfield hostelries.”
    And
    “Although the home club secured victory by eight games to nil, the visitors (RW&B) were by no means so overwhelmed as the score suggests, and they contested every game sternly but in the true sporting spirit.”
    That’s your lot on a search of Red White Blue Stonnall. But hold on …
    Lichfield Mercury 14 Oct 1938
    BOY STARTS FIRE … two ricks of straw were partially destroyed at the rear of the Red, white and Blue Inn at Springhill …
    Lichfield Mercury 2 Oct 1885
    FATAL ACCIDENT NEAR LICHFIELD
    The article describes the inquest into the death a Thomas Henney who was thrown from a trap when his pony started (I think this means something like “spooked”) and died from his injuries. It says: “William Lakin who said he lived at the Red, White and Blue Inn, Spring Hill, between Shire Oak and Muckley Corner. About six o’clock on Saturday night he saw a pony and two wheeled trap come by, without a driver.” Mr Lakin found Mr Henney about 150 yards away and, towards Shire Oak, with some help, loaded him on the trap and drove him home to Leomansley in Lichfield. This seems to corroborate my earlier comment about Alexander Lakin. But this Alexander Lakin (correct spelling) was the son of the former landlord of the same name.
    But there is more
    Lichfield Mercury 2 Sep 1876
    SHENSTONE LICENSING SESSIONS
    The renewal of the licenses of the following persons was adjourned until 27th September, owing to convictions or complaints having been made against the houses during the last twelve months: John Sutton, Bridge Inn, Ogley Hay, Brownhills; Thomas Martin, Bridge Inn, same place [where was this?]; George Bradbury, Chase Inn; Alexander Larkin, Red, White and Blue Inn, Ogley Hay [the parish].
    The 1881 census has Eliza Lakin, widow, Walsall Road, Publican & Farmer.
    At last! In the 1891 census the RW&B Inn is named. The head of household was an Arthur Myatt, Farmer, but Eliza, now Myatt, was licensed victualler. Alexander, son-in-law, was resident and a farm labourer.
    News items via Findmypast.co.uk

    • John lakin says:

      Alexander lakin is my great great grandfather he’s buried in Stonnall cemetery he died 1884 thanks for your information I’m john lakin thanks

    • Mrs Linda Anne Brooks says:

      Eliza Lakin in a distant relatives of mine! I’ve been researching my family tree and she is my great aunt three times removed!

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    The 1901 census has “Red W & B Inn, Walsall Road, Spring Hill”, Richard Aspley, publican and engine driver on farm, worker on own account.
    The 1911 census also has Red White & Blue, John William Blower, publican & farmer.
    Must go …

    • Andy, thanks you, as ever, for your wonderful and thorough contributions to the blog. Without you, this place would be but a shadow of itself.

      Thanks so much. Brilliant, can’t thank you enough

      Cheers
      Bob

  6. Clive says:

    There where a number of large greenhouses round the back of the red white and blue, also if you entered the pub from the back there was a number of step you had to climb to get into the pub. I believe it was last owned by Banks`s brewery!

  7. Andy Dennis says:

    So when did it stop being a pub?

    • Clive L Roberts says:

      Hello Andy. The Red White and Blue stopped trading as a pub in February 1969. This pub and about 15 others will be covered in my next book “Old public Houses of Brownhills (part 2)” there’s about 158 pages of information on local pubs and should be ready for Christmas at a price of £8.

  8. Andy Dennis says:

    One more stage in the evolution:

    Lichfield Mercury 4 March 1938
    NEW WINE “ON” LICENCE
    SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION FOR RED, WHITE AND BLUE
    An application was made by Harry William Mason for a new wine “on” licence for the Red, White and Blue Inn, Springhill, a beerhouse “on” situated on the main Walsall-Lichfield Road.

    There was a very genuine demand for wine – not spirits – practically every day, particularly at weekends.
    It was not the intention of the licensee or the owners of that house that it should be used for the accommodation of charabanc parties or anything of that sort. There was a good “pull in,” but they had no desire to alter the character of the house by turning it into what one might call a “road house”.
    … It was a little, quiet, country house used by people taking their Sunday walk and used very largely at weekends by the working classes.
    … the firm had completely remodelled the sanitary accommodation, put in hot and cold water and new kitchen facilities.
    … After studying the plans the magistrates granted the application …

    via findmypast.co.uk

    Note that the licensee was not the owner, which the article says was the Lichfield City Brewery Co. Ltd. Presumably a tied house.

  9. Claire says:

    Thanks Andy for all your information it has helped a lot if you could post a picture i would be very grateful. Thanks Claire.

    • Hi CLaire

      I know of no pictures of the place. If any surface, I’ll post them up.

      I’d just like to thank all contributors for taking the time to help. Andy has supplied a wealth of information, the depth of which has been surprising and wonderful, and other memories by Mick, Clive and Joe really add to it.

      Nice to see the community pitching in there. Cheers everyone.

      Bob

  10. Andy Dennis says:

    Would be nice, but I’m afraid words are all I have.

  11. Joe Headley says:

    I remember the R W and B quite well,Harry Mason and his wife were landlord and landlady still in the late ’50’s early ’60’s. I think the pub closed as such in the early sixties but if memory serves me correctly the Mason family remained in residence for some time after. Their son Morris used to have a furniture making/joinery shop in the old stable just to the left of the pub. From Google earth it is still standing. there was also a couple of cottages just to the right of the pub but no sign of those now. As Clive recalls there were large greenhouses to the rear of the building.

  12. Malcolm Case says:

    I used to buy tomato plants for my father-in-law and myself from there in the early 1970s. I don’t remember them selling very much more than that, other than the odd bag of compost. It definitely wasn’t operating as a pub then.

  13. Tara mason says:

    Hey my name is Tara an I’m the granddaughter of Morris and Janet mason and the daughter of Alan mason, my grandmother left the property in the years of 2002/ 2003 I’m not sure which please contact me and I will be able to get you as much information as possible as my grandmother is still alive thank you . Tara .

    • Jenny Roberts says:

      Hello Tara. I have just seen your post from 2014, re The Red White and Blue. I believe I have family connection on my late father,s side. He was Bernard Jones. I remember as a child visiting the pub with my famil to visit Aunt Lot (as she was affectionately called). I think her son was Morris. I spent many times playing the pianola in the bar. Do let me know if you are aware of this connection, I would love to know.
      Best wishes
      Jenny Roberts (née Jones)

  14. Paul Mason says:

    Hi.

  15. Paul Mason says:

    I am Paul Mason the eldest son of Maurice and Janet mason. I lived here from when I was born in late 62 until I left to join the RAF in 1980 and now currently reside in Northallerton in North Yorkshire. My father Maurice suffered a long illness which eventually took his life in the Walsall Manor Hospital sometime about 1991 shortly after I returned from the first Gulf War. Mother Janet nursed him to the end. She stayed on at the RW&B till about 2003 (as Tara says above not completely sure but will confirm it) and like us all she was getting on a bit and living there on her own couldn’t justify such a large house so she moved to Norfolk where she is closer to my sister Suzanne where she resides to this day. Alan is living in Scotland with his other half and family living not too far from Aberdeen.
    What other family info does anyone require please drop me a line.

    • Lisa walters says:

      Hi there,

      I have stumbled upon all of this information as I live in this house now, currently known as the Willows.
      We moved here from Kent in 2012 and I am finding it fascinating that our house has so much history.

      I would love to speak to you and if you have any photographs that would be amazing.
      Lisa

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  18. Jennifer Langford says:

    Has the name Fernyhough come up in relation to The Red White and Blue pub ?
    As a child, our neighbours were Clem and Lucy Fernyhough. I was told that Clem’s family had either run, or owned The Red white and Blue many years before. Lucy was a farmers daughter from Hammerwich and Clem’s family were from this pub. Lucy was born in 1899 I think and both she and Clem died in 1969/ 1970. I would be very interested to hear if anyone knows about this.

    • Clive says:

      Hello Jennifer. The Fernyhough were licensee for the red white and blue in 1913 and 1914, they may have had the pub longer than that but thats the only info i have at the moment.

  19. Alan Mason says:

    Hi there,I’m Alan Mason,younger son of Maurice and Janet Mason of the Red,White & Blue.I’ve just moved to Wales from Scotland and I’d love to visit my old home one day…it would be most interesting and if anyone has a question for me about it…my email addres is:a.mason50@yahoo.com

    • Carl wood says:

      Hi bob. I remember the red white and blue and yes it was owned by a chap called maurice mason. Who ran a garden nursery. I new him via cb radio his cb name was red tomato. . Sorry Alan just noticed your post. Your mom and dad were great people and friends.

  20. Carl wood says:

    Hi bob. I remember the red white and blue and yes it was owned by a chap called morris mason. Who ran a garden nursery. I new him via cb radio his cb name was red tomato.

  21. David Danks says:

    Hi everyone. I have just been reading with great interest and so much nostalgia, all of the comments about the old Red White & Blue pub. As a young man in his early twenties, I was a regular there during the 1960s and enjoyed many many joyful evenings playing darts and dominos and enjoying the company of a small group of lovely people. Mrs Mason was the elderly lady who looked after the pub and as there was no bar etc, we were served through a small hatch in the wall into what was no more than a one time, small front room. Maurice (Mrs Mason’s son) was a frequent member of our group and many is the time Mrs Mason would prepare a wonderful supper of fat bacon and grey peas, which was served free of charge to the regulars. A super elderly guy called Cyril was also a regular (a one time high up in the police force) and he would tell great stories (after a few barley wines) of times gone by. One such story was how a donkey was raffled in the pub one Christmas eve. Amazingly, it was also the only pub I ever knew of with a rifle range in one of the side rooms and on a few occasions I recall we would challenge another local pub to a shooting match with .22 air rifles. Just imagine mixing alcohol with air rifles these days, I shudder to think. I will always treasure the memories I have of such wonderful times at the R W & B and I wish the present owners all the luck in the world. You live in a house that prompts so many memories and has so much history. My kindest regards to you all. David Danks

    • Paul Mason MBE,BSc says:

      David. Thanks for the post. I am Paul Mason the eldest Son of Maurice and Janet Mason so I know this house very well. I am currently working in the DR Congo. If anyone wants to know more please drop me a line to paul.mason755@gmail.com
      regards
      Paul

    • Alan Mason says:

      Hi there,David,I’m Alan Mason,the second eldest son of Maurice and Janet Mason and unlike my brother Paul who left the Red,White and Blue pub at 17 years of age,I was still living thereMy mom said Cyril used to come over and play dominoes of an evening after the pub shut on several occasions.I’d be very interested to keep in contact with you.I Iwent back there last year and met the current owners and got a guided tour through the house.It was amazing to see the alterations.I am still in contact with her.It’ll be good to hear from you sometime. Cheers,Alan.

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