The New Inn Pub
THE NEW INN PUB
Joseph Woodward (usually called Old Bob) became the Landlord of our village Pub in 1891, and he told the Rector once that, up to 1896 the Pub was called The Golden Fleece. All we can assume about the change of name, is that The Golden Fleece either was burnt down, or just tumbled down, and consequently this present Pub was built in its place. And why not call this The New Inn!! That is only an assumption though.
In the living memory of some of the older people living in our Parish, there were no glasses to drink out of; only blue and white mugs which were served through a hatchway, and anyone wanting to be served had to queue along a corridor to reach the hatch. On warm summer days, most of the customers then wandered outdoors where there were plenty of seats and, I believe trees to sit under.
There was an old large Elm tree on the small island leading to our village street (now a small triangle of grass). In fact, this small island was always referred to as "One Elm", and some of the shade from this tree reached to those having a drink from their blue and white mugs, outside.
Rumour has it, that Old Bob was so slow in serving, that customers once locked him in the Pub cellar to show him how fed up they were with all the waiting. Then they just helped themselves to drink and left their money on the counter of the hatch.
Violet, his daughter, lived and worked at the Pub, but I think mainly doing the housework and cooking for her father. I think I have already mentioned the time when the young lads - and I had this from Vic Radbourne - were playing pranks in the evening when it was dark. They were by the Pub and hiding in the bushes, when they heard the upstairs sash window open above their heads and then felt water splash over them. Vic and his friends ran away fast - believing that it was Violet emptying her chamber pot over them!
There were one or two tragic accidents on the road by the Pub. Now that the road is one straight road, there are even more accidents, but up until 1962, the main road curved round in an 's' shape, with two bends near to the Pub. During the War, an army lorry overturned after colliding with a telegraph pole, and the Pub took casualties in until ambulances arrived. Twenty six soldiers had to be take to hospital, and one officer was killed. Another time, an army motor cyclist was killed at the same spot. It was rumoured he was doing 70 m.p.h! But the worst was when one of the young lads of the Parish was killed in the same spot - and many in the Parish grieved over his death.
Old Bob retired in 1941.
From the Stratford Herald 3rd October 1941
Fifty Years as "Mine Host" Clifford Chambers
"On Monday, Mr. Joseph Woodward completed his Fiftieth year as "Mine Host" of the New Inn, Clifford Chambers.
In the evening, a large number of his customers gathered to congratulate him and showed their appreciation by presenting him with an electric stand lamp.
The presentation was made by the oldest customer, Mr. John Lively who, in the short but appropriate speech, commented that, although he had been a customer for more than 75 years, there had been very little change.
All the Landlords during that period, had some connection with Alscot Park. The first had worked there; the second had married the parlourmaid there; and Mr. Woodward who married the cook, had been employed there as groom.
Mr. Woodward is in his 84th year, and Mr. Lively a few months younger.
Musical honours were given; the 'blue cups' were replenished, and an enjoyable evening was had by all."
Jack Radbourne took over from Joe, with Martha (not her real name but all the villagers called her this) his wife did all the work while Jack just served and chatted.
He only stayed there a few years, and it was Charlie Pugh who came along and made the Pub into a more friendly place with beer being served in a comfortable room behind a counter that customers could lean their elbows on and drink and chat. Chairs and small tables were dotted around the room, and, even on warm summer days, most customers preferred to stay in the cosy and comfortable room with their drinks, than go outside.