Last week I featured here an interesting postcard I’d spotted for sale on eBay, featuring a cafe on the Watling Street I’d not heard of before – The Jubilee, which turned out to be what is now an Indian restaurant, but was previously the Happy Eater, and the adjacent garage of Paul Depper MGs.
It turns out lots of you remembered the Jubilee in various forms over the years – it seems to have been a very notable transport cafe for most of it’s life which many recall fondly.
Well, Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler got the scent of a good fry in his nostrils, and went archive digging, and the beginnings of The Jubilee seem somewhat remarkable.
Thanks to Peter for another fine contribution, and please, if you have any memories of this lost roadhouse, or any others locally – particularly the ones in Shire Oak and Stonnall on which we have very little – I’d love to hear them.
You can see the item that sparked this all off on eBay here – at £30 I think I’ll pass, cheers…
Beginnings of the Jubilee.
“Nearly half-a-century ago on Watling Street, between Cannock and Brownhills, the Wilkin Pit, then one of the most famous Staffordshire collieries ceased to operate, and the site, until May 9th, 1935, was a series of huge pit mounds and derelict buildings. To-day, on that site stands one of the most up-to-date social clubs and cafes thanks to the personal enterprise of a fifty-two year old man—Henry Dakin.
Mr. Dakin, who hails from Lichfield, became manager and licencee of an hotel near these pit mounds. He gave up his position, purchased the land on which these unsightly mounds stood, built himself a caravan and proceeded to bring into reality a life-long ambition. He commenced with the aid of local labour by removing more than 26,000 tons of rubbish. He then proceeded to straighten out the land, and having so done, drew up his own plans for a garage and petrol station. These he quickly erected, making even his own cement and iron work on the spot. The next move was to build the Jubilee Cafe cosy, up-to-date, comfortably furnished and complete with a day and night restaurant service. To this he added the Jubilee Social Club, which is complete in every sense of the word. The whole makes an imposing block of buildings with its roof gardens, tennis courts, lawns and other social amenities.” (Tamworth Herald August 1936)
It looks like Mr Dakin lasted until September 1944 when the Premises came up for sale….
“THE ROAD HOUSE AND CLUB known as the JUBLILEE CAFE with possession as a Going Concern.
Situate on Watling Street, 1.5 miles from Brownhills, 3 miles from Cannock.”
It seems that not all was going well. The Jubilee had been mentioned in March for obtaining feeding stuffs without coupons, and in June for the felonious receiving of wines and spirits.
Please comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.