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The Seighford Pub Company
Community Pub Project
We are currently working to wards developing an archive of history about the Hollybush, as far as we are aware the information below is correct. If you have any further information please do not hesitate to contact our budding Historian Roy Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org. He would really love to hear from you.
1945 - 1954 -This article is written by Maggie Hughes – A current shareholder
My grandparents, Norman and Annie Hughes, took over as Licensees of the Hollybush on VE Day 1945, moving up from Great Bridgeford. They had a teenage son, Ken, living with them. Their other two children, a son and a daughter were both married, their son – my father was overseas in the RASC. Annie, incidentally, before her marriage had been Lady’s Maid to Lady Harroby at Sandon Hall. My Grandfather worked at Dormans and I don’t think was terribly interested in the pub quite honestly, so my Grandmother ran the Bush to all intents and purposes. Presumably however, in those days a woman couldn’t be the Licensee.
The Hollybush was in fact what I think was more what was called an Ale House than a public house as we know it. There was no bar. The public area was from where the wooden partition in front of the bar is now to the far wall. There was a long pine table that had to be scrubbed every morning, down the centre of the room with a wooden bench on either side. There was a large fire with a wooden settle on each side and a couple of small tables where the old gentlemen played cribbage. Cigarettes were kept in the cupboard next to the fire. There was also the ‘snug’ which is still there of course. Beer was brought up from the cellar in jugs and measured in metal measuring cups (I still have one of the half pint ones). Bottled beer was also sold and I remember that when the brewery delivered in the winter, Grandma would heat the poker in the fire and then put it down the necks of the bottles to give the delivery men a hot drink.
Every morning a lady called Ivy (some of the older people in the village may remember her) would arrive on her bicycle, black beret jammed on her head, to help clean the public areas before opening.
The family living room was from where the wooden partition is to the start of the new kitchen, and behind that there was a scullery. Everything went on in that small living room, including me having baths in a tin tub in front of the fire. That with two bedrooms upstairs was all the accommodation the family had. After I’d had my bath, I had to walk through the public room in my little dressing gown and slippers to get to the stairs leading up to the bedrooms. The men would all say ‘Yaw’ll alright Dook?’ and I felt very important.
What is now the Restaurant and car parking was Grandpa’s vegetable garden and chickens. There were also some wonderful Victoria Plum trees.
There was no running water. The pump, which is now at the front of the building I think, was at the back outside the scullery door and every drop of water had to be pumped up. Just behind where the double doors leading into the bar are now, was a double seater earth closet (it was only used one at a time I stress!). This was the family loo. It was known as The Ladies but I never saw a woman in the pub and I don’t think that women did go to pubs in those days, not in this part of the world anyway. I know my mother, who was a Londoner and had been in the ATS for four years, was very annoyed that the men would go off to the pub in the evening and the women were expected to stay home with their knitting. In the top left hand corner of the now carpark was a pigsty that was the Gents. (I was warned with terrible threats never to go near it, but being an imaginative child I invented all sorts of weird and wonderful things going on there and was terribly disappointed when I discovered its real purpose).
There being so little space inside, anything needing storage was put in the upstairs part of the brick building at the side of the Hollybush.
There was a very active cricket team in the village and Grandma did the tea for the men in the interval, The Hollybush was ideal of course because they all sat either side the long table on the benches.
Next to the Hollybush was the village blacksmith and of course there was the village shop, ran by Nellie, where you could buy sugar and flour loose from huge sacks on the floor.
My Grandfather died when only in his 60s in about 1954. I am presuming that my Grandmother wasn’t allowed, being a woman, to continue on her own and so a few months after his death she left the Hollybush and went to live with her daughter and son-in-law in Doxey.
The Hollybush Inn was built is 1675, probably as a dwelling, but possibly originally serving as house incorporating a beer house.Early beer houses were generally simple domestic dwellings with an area set aside for customers to sit or stand, and be served with beer or ale kept elsewhere in the building. A drinking establishment, or possibly an inn, would have suited the buildings location. on the western approach road into Seighford from the nearest town Stafford.
1945 This article taken from ‘When war came to Seighford’
THE prospect of a thousand thirsty men encamped nearby would cheer the heart of many a modern pub landlord seeking to remain in business as many other cash-hit licensees call time.
Such a dream chance awaited the tiny Holly Bush pub in the village of Seighford in the spring of 1941 - yet was rejected by its landlord - a man called Bromley.
The village was about to witness a war-time transformation as men and machinery moved in to construct a fully operational bomber command station which would forever be known afterwards as RAF Seighford.
The Holly Bush was a small, often standing-room only pub, serving Parkers' ales in a jug brought up from the cellar by a licensee who wanted things to stay just as they were - and they did.
Even when RAF men began arriving, any of them entering the pub in uniform were given short shrift and told that they were restricted to one pint per visit.
Instead licensee Bromley and his local customers were to watch as 480 acres, for which the Eld Estate received just £2.50 an acre in compensation, change from being rambling farmland into playing a vital role in Britain's battle of the air.
As it happened, the young men and gangs of Irish men employed on building the aerodrome didn't pose a problem, with no reports of burglary or rape
1954 onwards Information needed
During the 1960s the landlord was Eric Vanner
It is said that he refused to serve Lord Lichfield because he was wearing Jeans - Exact Dates needed!
During the 1970s Ron Roostenberg was the landlord
Exact dates needed!
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