The history of yeovil's pubs
Found listed as early as 1851 the London Inn only lasted for some fifty years, being listed as a private dwelling by the time of the 1911 census.
The fact that the establishment was named and the licensees invariably referred to as inn keepers, suggests this had a full public house license rather than being a simple beerhouse.
Marked 'A' on the map at left, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, the London Inn was situated in Hendford directly opposite Hendford Manor and two doors away from Yeovil Vicarage. Today the site of the London Inn is where Manor Road joins Hendford and it is most likely that the London Inn was demolished when Manor Road was laid out just before the First World War.
As seen in the photographs below, the London Inn was a two storey mock-Tudor timber framed building under a slate roof. The ground floor, constructed in stone, had a three-light stone mullioned window. It is not known if the shop-fronted part of the building (seen in the photograph boarded up) with a separate entrance was part of a pub-cum-shop setup that was so common at this time. The first floor, with its black and white mock-Tudor appearance had projecting cantilevered bay windows.
From the advertisement shown below, it is known that the house was owned by Earle Vincent, of the Royal Osborne Brewery in Sherborne Road, in 1892. As seen from the advertisement below, the London Inn was sold in July 1906.
In February 1908 the renewal of the London Inn's license was objected to (amongst others) at the Borough Petty Sessions as the Bench deemed it was "very desirable that a further reduction be made" in the number of Yeovil's public houses. The license was considered again at the Petty Sessions the following month but no decision was made.
In July 1908 a final session was held regarding the fate of the London Inn at which time it was disclosed that the owners of the house at this time were Mr H Strong, of West Bridgford, Nottingham, and Mrs Alice M Jones, Keighley Road, Colne, Lancashire, while the licensee was Mr C Miller. The owners, albeit not present, did not object to the license being refused and Police Sergeant Boobyer said that it was "a poor sort of house for the class of neighbourhood, and he considered that it was in the wrong position at Hendford, for there was very little trade done in the house. There were two other licensed houses within 250 yards of the London, and in his opinion it ought to go before the others." The license was refused and the house was referred for compensation.
According to Harrison, Harrod & Co's Directory of 1859 the first licensee was Joseph Melron - unfortunately I could find no reference at all to any Joseph Melron in either the 1851 census or the 1861 census. Then of course, some several weeks later, I twigged that Joseph Melron was a misprint of Joseph Nelson.
Joseph Nelson was born about 1799 at Piddlehinton, Dorset. In the 1841 census he was running a beerhouse and living in Green Quarry with his wife, Elizabeth, and six-year old daughter, Mary. Joseph was listed as an inn keeper. In 1851 Joseph was licensee of a beerhouse in Hendford with Elizabeth and dressmaker daughter Marie Ann. He was still listed there in Kelly's 1861 Directory but Joseph died in the winter of 1861. Elizabeth took over the license on the death of Joseph and was still there in 1866, being listed in Kelly's Directory of that year.
Thomas William Daley, or Dealy, was born around 1843 at Holwell, southeast of Sherborne, Dorset, the son of an Irish gardener, John Dealy, and his wife Ann. In the 1861 census Thomas was also working as a gardener and living in Brunswick Street, Yeovil, with his parents and siblings. He married Martha Ann Nelson on 9 November 1868 at All Saints church, Dorchester, Dorset, and by the time of the 1871 census they were living at the London Inn where Thomas' occupation was given as nurseryman foreman and innkeeper. By 1881 his occupation was listed in the census as nurseryman, seedsman & inn keeper. He and Martha were still at the London Inn but by this time they had three sons; Thomas, Herbert and George. Thomas died in September 1885 at the age of 42 and the license of the London Inn was taken over by Martha. Martha was a few years older than Thomas and had been born in Dorchester around 1839, the daughter of innkeeper Joseph Nelson. In the 1891 census she was listed as the innkeeper of the London Inn and lived there with her three boys, now aged 19, 18 and 14, who were working as a reporter, a solicitor's clerk and a railway clerk. By the time of the 1901 census the boys had left home and Martha had moved next door to the London Inn where, as a 65-year old widow, she lived on her own and on her own means. Martha died in June 1914, aged 74.
The following licensee, John Mitchell, was born around 1858 in Tiverton, Devon, the son of hairdresser Henry Mitchell and his wife, Elizabeth, who was eighteen years his junior. At the age of twelve John had left home and was one of two apprentice basket makers in Thorverton, Devon being taught by 74-year old basket maker Thomas Norman and his son-in-law, Robert Jarmin. By 1881 John, by now unmarried but a qualified basket maker, was living in Exeter and boarding with the family of basket maker Henry Way. By the time of the 1891 census all had changed for John, he had married Elizabeth, and they moved to Yeovil where they had two sons and two daughters aged 5, 4, 3 and 2. They lived at the Cow Inn in South Street where John was described as a licensed victualler and basket maker. By 1895 John had moved on from the Cow Inn and was listed as the licensee of the London Inn in Kelly's Directory of 1895. By 1901 he and his family, now with an additional two daughters, were living in Beer Street where John described his occupation as a withey basket maker.
William Albert Whensley was born in Yeovil in March 1876, the son of engine driver John Whensley and his wife Jane, née Greenstock. In the 1881 census William is listed living with his parents and five siblings in Victoria Buildings at the end of Addlewell Lane. Like many other groups of Yeovil dwellings Victoria Buildings had been erected for the 'labouring poor, as the working classes were referred to in the early 19th century, and were little better than slums with little or no sanitation and were greatly overcrowded. The family were still living there in 1891 by which time William, now aged 16, was employed as a printer compositor. He married in Yeovil in April 1894 and by 1898 he was listed as the licensee of the London Inn in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser. The 1901 census lists him, his wife Florence and their two children, Florence and Percy, living at the London Inn (although it was not named as such in the census) where William's occupation was given as newspaper printer compositor - presumably Florence ran the pub during the day and William took over in the evening, as was common practice. William was listed as licensee again in the 1903 edition of Whitby's but by 1911 the family were listed in the census as living in Worcester, Worcestershire, where William worked as a linotype operator (printer).
Collin's 1907 Directory listed C Miller as the licensee of the London Inn but I couldn't trace him in the records. In February 1908 the renewal of the London Inn's license was objected to (amongst others) at the Borough Petty Sessions as the Bench deemed it was "very desirable that a further reduction be made" in the number of Yeovil's public houses. By 1911 the London Inn was listed in the census as a private dwelling and was demolished a year or two later when Manor Road was constructed.
An advertisement showing the London Inn was to be let from the 1 July 1892 edition of the Western Gazette which shows that Earle Vincent, of the Royal Osborne Brewery in Sherborne Road, was the owner of the house.
Notice of sale of the beerhouse known as the London Inn in the 13 July 1906 edition of the Western Gazette, just a couple of years before it closed its doors for the last time.
This photograph, looking south along Hendford, dates to about 1955, the London Inn is boarded up and awaiting demolition.
A closer view of the London Inn in another photograph of about 1955. Dibben's bakery (by the time of this photograph it was Chappell's bakery) is the large three-storey building at left.
Courtesy of the Western Gazette
.... and another photograph, this one from 1956.
The London Inn at left in this photograph looking north along Hendford in the 1960s.
1850 – Joseph Nelson – Beer Retailer (Hunt & Co's 1850 Directory) listed in Hendford
1851 – Joseph Nelson – Inn Keeper (1851 census) pub not named
1852 – Joseph Nelson – Retailer of Beer (Slater's 1852/3 Directory)
1859 – Joseph Melron [sic] (Harrison, Harrod & Co 1859 Directory) as London Inn, Hendford
1861 – Joseph Nelson – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1861 Directory)
1866 – Mrs Elizabeth Nelson – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1866 Directory)
1871 – Thomas Dailey – Nurseryman Foreman & Innkeeper (1871 census) listed as London Inn
1872 – Thomas William Daley – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1872 Directory)
1875 – Thomas William Daley – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1875 Directory)
1876 – Thomas William Daley – Beer Retailer ( Post Office 1876 Directory)
1881 – Thomas Daley – Nurseryman Seedsman and Inn Keeper (1881 census) at 61 Hendford
1882 – Thomas William Daley – Seedsman (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
listed as London Inn, 61 Hendford
1885 – George Brooks - License transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, November)
1885 – Mrs Daley - License transferred (Borough Petty Sessions, November)
1891 – Martha Daley (51 year old widow) - Inn Keeper Pub (1891 census) listed as London Inn
1892 – Earle Vincent, owner - house to be let (Western Gazette, July)
1895 – John Mitchell – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) pub not named
1898 – William A Whensley (Whitby's 1898 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as London Inn
1901 – William A Whensley – Newspaper Printer Compositor (1901 census) pub not named
1903 – William A Whensley (Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as London Inn
1907 – C Miller (Collin's 1907 Directory) listed as London Inn, Hendford
1908 – License objected to in order to reduce number of houses (Petty Sessions)
1911 – Listed as Private House (1911 census)