the history of yeovil's pubs





railway inn / tavern / hotel

Hendford Hill


Hendford was Yeovil's first station and opened on 1 October 1853. The Railway Hotel in Hendford, variously known as Reid's Hotel, the Hendford Hotel, the Railway Inn, Railway Tavern and the Railway Hotel, opened around 1858 to serve the travellers using the station. The station closed in 1861.

The Railway Hotel (marked 'B' on the map at left) was possibly built on the site of an old alehouse, the Barley Mow.

The Railway Hotel is a deceptively large building, double fronted to the street elevation and two storied with a windowed attic gable above a signage fascia. It is built in stone with dressed stone string and cornice courses and stone surrounds to doorway and windows. Multiple extensions to the rear are in red brick with stone window surrounds. The whole is under a hipped Welsh slate roof. The entrance has a dressed stone surround and a flat, corbelled hood while the fenestration comprises twin-light stone mullioned windows flanking the entrance at ground floor level with matching windows at first floor. A two-light double-dome-headed window is aligned over the entrance with a similar window to the side lane that leads to the stable block at rear.


Yeovilians remember....

Thanks to Will Rich for the following - "Re The Railway Hotel in Hendford: My father was a keen skittler and played for St Ivel A, who were quite successful in the fifties and sixties, at least he always seemed to be bringing home tankards as prizes. When he died most of them were thrown out but I still have one engraved Y.S.L 1959-60, when they presumably either won the league or were runners-up. I only went "sticking up" for him once, which was at the Railway Hotel. I remember getting paid five bob, which was quite good money for a couple of hours work in those days. I certainly had to pay for it next day, though. I was aching all over from the unaccustomed exercise."

And from me - "You're lucky Will, I spent many hours sticking up when I played in the 'seventies and never got paid a penny! For many years I played in Tony Robins' team at the RAFA Club on Fiveways roundabout and we frequently seemed to be without a young lad to do the sticking up for us so had to do it ourselves. In the late 'seventies and early 'eighties I played in the Crewkerne & District League and we had exactly the same problem there."




I could find no information on the first licensee Alfred Reed other than the two references below and little more on the next licensee, Archibald Campbell other than he was born in Scotland around 1830.

Edward Horwood, the son of John Horwood and Susanna, née Willy, was born in Barwick, just south of Yeovil, around 1825. He married in October 1849 and in the 1851 census he was listed living in Chilthorne Domer, just north of Yeovil, with his wife, Sarah, and baby daughter, Susan. Edward's occupation was given as farmer of 60 acres employing two labourers. They left Chilthorne sometime after 1854 and were living in Yeovil by 1858. In 1866 Edward was listed as the licensee of the Railway Inn but he had certainly left the Railway by 1871. In the 1871 census he is listed as a haulier, living with Sarah and six children in Kingston, Yeovil. After this the family moved to Ealing, west London and Edward tried his hand at a variety of jobs; in 1881 he was a general dealer in Ealing, Middlesex, in 1891 he was a widowed market gardener in Ealing but by 1901, at the age of 75, he was living on parish relief in Old Brentford, west London. Edward died in Brentford in September 1905.

James Weaver was born in Curry Rivel, Somerset, in 1827 as, indeed, was another James Weaver and the only way of telling them apart was that our James Weaver married Mary Matilda while the other James Weaver married Mary Ann. James was first listed as the licensee of the Railway Tavern in Kelly's Directory of 1875 and in the 1881 census was listed as a timber dealer and innkeeper while Mary M was listed as the landlady. They were listed again in the 1891 census with James' occupation listed this time as a hotel keeper. James died in June 1892 aged about 65 and Mary M took over the license of the Railway Inn until her death at the age of 67 in December 1899.

Walter Bond, the next of the Railway's licensees, was born about 1855 in Yeovil, the son of labourer William Bond and his wife, Sarah, née Hodges. In 1861 the family lived in Wine Street. By 1871 the family had moved to Rustywell, off Hendford, and 16-year old Walter was working as a porter at Hendford Halt railway station. Walter married Yeovil-born glove machinist Lydia in 1876. By the time of the 1881 census Walter, now a printer's compositor, and Lydia were living at 62 South Street with their baby daughter, Louisa. Within the next ten years the family had moved yet again and by 1891 William was licensee of the Crown Inn in Huish. They stayed here until 1897, according to Walter's listing in Kelly's Directory, but by 1901 Walter was running the Railway Inn in Hendford. In the 1911 census Walter and Lydia were living at 32 Crofton Avenue with their 13-year old granddaughter, Daisy Adams. Walter was once more working as a printer's compositor.

I could find nothing on the following two licensees, C Dennett and JJ Dennett - perhaps they were related to Harold Dennett who ran Yeovil's 'other' Railway Inn in Middle Street during the 1940's, '50's and '60's? Does anybody out there in cyberspace know?

Vincent Moore was born in 1880 at Stanford Bridge, Worcestershire, the son of farmer Vincent Moore and his wife, Fanny. In 1901 24-year old Vincent was employed as the butler at Trent Manor House, two miles northeast of Yeovil. In 1907 Vincent was listed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser as the licensee of the Volunteer Inn just a few yards away along Hendford. By 1911 he was aged 31 and was living with his 20-year old his wife of one year, Gladys, and his five-year old daughter Hilda, at the Railway. Both Vincent and Gladys were listed as licensed victuallers.




This photograph dates to about 1910 and looks up Hendford Hill with the Railway Hotel at left, next to the Hendford Supply Stores in Aldon Terrace. Hendford Halt station was to the right of this photograph, in what is now Bradford's builders' merchant yard. 


The same image as above was also used in this postcard dated 1913.


Courtesy of Chris Rendell

Almost the same view photographed in 1985. Note that at this time the small shop seen in the previous photograph next door to the Railway Inn was still trading (and that the baby in the pram was all grown up). At the far end of Aldon Terrace was Saunders' garage and car sales.


From the Cave Collection (colourised), Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

The Railway Hotel, circa 1967, showing the extensions to the rear of the building and the short lane leading to the stable block. The pub sign / post on the pavement in the previous photograph was demolished in the period between these two photographs by a runaway Sidney Morris gravel lorry that ended up crashing into the wall left of the pub (thanks to Roger McElliott for that snippet).


The Railway Hotel in 2012.


The bar of the Railway.


... and the pool area.




The following four interior shots of the Railway are by Chris Bromfield, courtesy of John Penny.





The skittle alley.




Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson

The stable block at the bottom of Hendford Hill, behind the Railway Inn, at one time owned by the Quicksilver Mail in order to assist with the long, hard pull of horse-drawn mail coaches to the top of the hill by adding another trace of horses to pull the coaches. Photographed in the 1990s.




1858 – Licensee not named, Reid's Hotel (Map of 1858)
1859 – Alfred Reed (Harrison, Harrad & Co 1859 Directory) listed as Hendford Hotel
1861 – Archibald Campbell – Inn Keeper (1861 census) listed as Railway Hotel
1861 – Archibald Campbell – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1861 Directory)
1865 – Mr Wills - Spirit license application - refused (Borough Petty Sessions)
1866 – Mr Wills - Spirit license application - refused (Borough Petty Sessions)
1866 – Edward Horwood (Kelly's 1866 Directory, listed as Railway Inn
1867 – Mr Wills - ale-house license refused (Petty Sessions)
1870 – Job Taylor - summoned for selling within illegal hours (Petty Sessions)
1873 – Mr Caines - License transfer (Petty Sessions, May)
1873 – Mrs Boon - License transferred (Petty Sessions, May)
1875 – James Weaver (Kelly’s 1875 Directory) listed as Railway Tavern, Hendford Hill
1881 – James Weaver – Timber Dealer & Inn Keeper (1881 census) listed as Railway Inn
1882 – John (sic) Weaver (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Railway Inn
1889 – James Weaver (Kelly’s 1889 Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1891 – James Weaver – Hotel Keeper (1891 census)
1892 – Mary Matilda Weaver - License transfer (Petty Sessions May)
1895 – Mary Weaver (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) listed as Railway Tavern
1897 – Mary Weaver (Kelly’s 1897 Directory)
1899 – Walter Bond (Whitby's 1899 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1901 – Walter Bond – Hotel Keeper (1901 census) Listed as Railway Inn.
1903 – Walter Bond (Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1907 – C Dennett (1907 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Hotel, 24 Hendford
1908 – JJ Dennett – Proprietor (Whitby's 1908 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1911 – Vincent Moore (Whitby's 1911 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser )
1911 – Vincent Moore – Licensed Victualler (1911 census) listed as Railway Hotel
1914 – Vincent Moore (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) listed as Railway Hotel
1915 – Frederick Charles Keates (Whitby's 1915 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser )
1919 – Frederick Keates (Kelly’s 1919 Directory) listed as Railway Hotel
1923 – Frederick Keates (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) listed as Railway Hotel. By 1936 Frederick
            Keates was licensee of the New Inn in Middle Street
1935 – Thomas Henry Masters (Kelly's 1935 Directory)
1936 – TH Masters (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Tavern
1938 – TH Masters (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Tavern
1939 – Thomas Masters (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Railway Hotel
1947 – WJ May (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1949 – WJ May (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1951 – WJ May (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1954 – WJ May (1954 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1957 – WJ May (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1960 – WJ May (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn
1968 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1968 Directory) listed as Railway Hotel
1969 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1969 Directory) listed as Railway Inn (The)
1970 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1970 Directory) listed as Railway Inn (The)
1971 – Brian & Pauline Pither (thanks to John Penny for the info)
1972 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1972 Directory) listed as Railway Inn (The)
1973 – Licensee not named (Kelly’s 1973 Directory) listed as Railway Inn (The)
1974 – Licensee not named (1974 Yeovil Directory) listed as Railway Inn (The)
1987 – Licensee not named (Denton’s 1987 Directory) listed as Railway Hotel