© David Hallam - 2007
Individual Inns & Pubs in Beeston - M-Q
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The Queens Hotel - this "local" pub (shown in its current form on the left), situated on Queens Road - Beeston’s lower main road -
can perhaps best be described as utilitarian. Nevertheless, it’s early history was particularly interesting, pointing as it does to the significant
changes that happened at that time - changes in which The Queens paid its full part.
By the time its first owner, Edward Mason, came to Beeston, around 1880, his career as a lace designer - probably the most respected and lucrative of
all lace trade jobs - was already well established. Born in Radford in 1828, he had married Ann - from another Mason family - at the age of 19, in 1847
and had had thirty years as a draughtsman and designer in the lace trade in Lenton.
See a full genealogy of the Mason family.
By 1880, their children - three sons and three daughters - were all either already married or were about to marry so perhaps it was time for a change.
For those who could afford it, building a villa within reach of the station in Beeston had become fashionable and it may have been that aspect that
was attractive to a couple who must, by then, have found themselves relatively able to afford this new direction. In what was to prove a particularly
shrewd move, they relocated to Beeston where they established themselves on Queens Road, on the corner of Mona Street - then only just beginning to be
developed, with just a handful of residents.
By the time of the 1881 census, the Masons were living at their new home - described as on Mona Street, Beeston - with Edward Mason still working as a
lace designer. This certainly tends to the likelihood that the original building - evident today as the core of the building - was probably built as a
house with later additions and alterations transformed it in the building it is today. Having said that, the relatively large scale of the original building,
does seem over-large for a couple whose family was leaving home and it was perhaps for that reason that, later in 1881, its use changed to respond to the
opportunities that were fast emerging in the area. The "Hotel" designation implies that it then provided rooms as well as refreshments to visitors - commercial
travellers and the like, arriving by rail - as well as catering for a growing local trade.
In this original form, it was a double fronted house with bay windows on the ground floor either side of a central doorway approached by steps. The bay
windows extended up to the first floor. Through the central door one entered a central hallway; on the left was a bar with a tap room behind it and on
the right was a smoke room. A clubroom extended for the whole length of the front of the first floor.1 The existance of this club room is typical of
pubs in the area which issued checks - of which The Queens was one - see an example here
The area where Mason had built was on the lower fringe of the village core, near to the Midland Railway station but relatively little else - but, as Mason
had identified, either before or after their move, things were changing. It was probably the classic combination of land, communication links and a proven
local workforce that had begun to attract investors to this area with new engineering industries which offered diversification from the traditional
- predominantly hosiery, silk and lace. For Beeston, the change that was happening - the beginning of a decline in the traditional replaced by a surge
of new industries - was to ensure its continuing relative prosperity through the end of the 19th and right through the 20th centuries.
This change of emphasis in the local economy had started in 1875 when Thomas Humber and others set up a factory making bicycles on the site next to the
station that was later to become Ericsson’s - and is now Siemens. By the time Mason came to Beeston, this factory was employing 80 workers and had begun
to provide the impetus for expansion of this lower area - although, in this early stage, much of it was an expansion out of the village core by those
working in Beeston’s traditional industries. By the time the Queens Hotel opened, around 1882, Queens Road had over 100 residents and Windsor Street
and its terraces were home to nearly 150.
Edward Mason’s venture into the licensed trade corresponded with a change in direction of the career of Samuel Theodore Bunning, who was probably
already a friend of Edward Mason. Bunning (Click to read about this remarkable man )
had been Beeston’s stationmaster for over ten years but by sometime about this time - certainly by 1885 - he had moved to take a position with Beeston
Brewery which had been built next to the railway, west of the station. It is probable that the two collaborated in the Queen’s Hotel venture - either
from its origin or sometime later in the 1880s. In July 1888, Edward’s wife Ann died and it is remarkable that, within six month’s he had remarried - to
Mary Brown, the sister of Bunning’s wife, Sarah. Certainly from that time at least, their lives and business interests ran a parallel, if not combined, course.
It seems that it was at this date that Samuel Mason, Edward’s youngest son, assumed the licence of the Queens, continuing until his own early death in 1894.
Meanwhile, Bunning’s influence and reputation at Beeston Brewery and through the licensed trade in the wider local area was growing. As we have described
elsewhere, by 1891 he had become the Manager of the brewery and had also begun to accumulate a substantial portfolio of licensed houses, all within 30
miles of his base in Beeston. It appears that it was during this time, probably after the death of Edward’s wife - and almost certainly by the time of
the later death of his son - that The Queens passed into Bunning’s control. By April 1891, Edward and his second wife (Bunning’s wife’s sister) had
left the Queens - where his son was now licensee - and were to be found living as visitors, with the Bunnings in the Manager’s house at the brewery.
By this time - 1891 - with the continued growth of local industry, the area around the Queens had seen a boom in building and a large influx of residents
many of which would, no doubt, become its customers. The Humber Company in particular, had moved to a new, much larger site at the corner of what is
now Humber Road and Queens Road and was to eventually employ up to 2000 people. Housing for these workers and others sprang up quickly in the area - on
Evelyn Street, Salisbury Street, Hawthorne Grove, Dallas York Road, Lower Regent Street, Humber Road, Thyra Grove, Dagma Grove, Mona Street and Queens Road
itself. All these new residents were close enough to call The Queens their local.
After Samuel Mason’s death in 1894, Joseph Taylor became the licensee and is know to have stayed there until about 1912 (except that for a short period,
around 1905 when William Dodson, who was also the licensee of the Prince of Wales in Beeston was manager for Taylor for some reason). Taylor, originally
from Lincolnshire, had come to Beeston as a young man, around 1870 and had worked as a servant locally - latterly as a coachman and gardener. His new position -
as a manager for the owner - would have offered a change of direction and perhaps more stability for Taylor and his family - and an opportunity now
that business at the Queens was really taking off. Taylor was undoubtedly, a manager who was respected by Bunning as the Queens was the venue - presumably in
the Club Room - for the Annual General Meeting of The Beeston Brewery Company Limited for most years between 1907 and 19132. By this latter
year, George James Brown had become the licensee and is known to have remained there for at least 10 years.
The initial period of excellent fortune for the Queens, would have continued into the 20th Century - with even more industry arriving. Beeston Boiler Company
opened its foundry on the adjacent site in 1897, the Humber Company expanded its range to make motor-cycles and cars and its old site near the railway
station was now occupied, first by the National Telephone Company and, from 1903, by Ericsson Telephones - who were to remain a major employer and
continue, in new ownership, to this day. Nonetheless, the Humber Company’s sudden move to Coventry in 1907, taking several thousand workers - many of
them likely to be Queens regulars - with it, would have been a major blow - as it was to Beeston’s economy as a whole.
In February 1922, control of The Beeston Brewery Company Limited was acquired by James Shipstone & Sons Ltd. Brewing at Beeston was then discontinued
and the brewery converted in a maltings in 1924.3 It would, therefore, be from that date that The Queens started to sell Shipstones products (widely
referred to as "Shippos"). However, in clear indication that the Queens had been owned by Bunning personally - with Beeston Brewery supplying
the beer - actual ownership of The Queens did not pass to Shipstones until May 1928 when it was bought for £537 13s 11d. plus £32 3s 7d for the
unexpired license.4 This date is significant as Bunning had died in the previous month and Probate had just been obtained.
Notwithstanding actual ownership, it was Shipstones, in 1922, who made major alterations to the premises, much of which are clearly visible in today's
building - the ground floor was extended at the front to the street and the layout of the public rooms was much altered. The clubroom disappeared, being
now divided into two to add to the private accommodation. In 1936, further alterations to the ground floor were made, creating an entrance to the lounge
with an additional flight of steps constructed next to the entrance to the Off Sales on Mona Street - clearly evident today as two short flights of steps
divided by a wall. The alterations can be seen clearly in the 1983 photo of The Queens (shown left) then in Shipstone's livery.1
Life at The Queens over the next few decades would not have been as buoyant as it was in its early days - it would have benefited from Shipstone’s
management but the general economic conditions of the 1920s and 1930s would have reflected badly. However, it was fortunate to be close to a growing
workforce at Beeston Boiler, an even bigger employer at Ericssons - where the workforce reached 4500 by 1939 - and a large new employer at the nearby
In September 1939, of course, War came again and The Queens would have played its part as a "local" within the constraints of the time. But,
on the night of the 7th/8th April 1941 it found itself caught up in the damage caused by incendiary bombs dropped across Beeston, one of which caused
considerable damage to the front of The Queens (shown right). Despite wartime shortages and restriction, repairs - costing £585 - were put in place
Shipstones is no longer, of course an independent brewery - having been acquired by Greenalls in 1978 - but The Queens remains today as part of the
Punch Tavern chain, as always, serving and responding to the changing local community.
1I am indebted to Grenville Chamberlain for providing the 1983 photograph and details of the original layout of The Queens and the alterations
by Shipstones. Both the 1922 and 1936 alterations were from plans prepared by Messrs W. B. Starr & Hall, Architects & Surveyors of 12 Victoria Street, Nottingham.
The 1922 plans were approved at the transfer sessions held at Shire Hall Nottingham on 9th September 1922. The 1936 plans were passed at the Adjourned General
Annual Licensing Meeting held at the Shire Hall on 7th March 1936.
2Minute Book of Meetings of the Directors of The Beeston Brewery Company Limited : Nottinghamshire Archives - DD SH 11/2/1/2
3The House of Shipstone (Published 1953) : Nottinghamshire Archives - DD SH 5/3/67. More details of the terms of the take-over are
contained in the Minute Book of Meetings of the Directors of The Beeston Brewery Company Limited (see footnote 2). Letters discussing the
proposed terms, found loose in the Minute Book are at Nottinghamshire Archives - DD SH 11/2/1/2
4James Shipstone & Sons Ltd, Public House Valuation Book : Nottinghamshire Archives - DD SH 8/12
5James Shipstone & Sons Ltd, Repairs Ledger : Nottinghamshire Archives - DD SH 5/3/67. The photograph of the damage is from one of two that
are displayed in the bar at the Queens. More details of this air-raid, including damage to houses in Mona Street are to be found in "Beating the
Invader" compiled by Judith Church (Chilwell Publishers, 2006) ISBN 0 9553849 0 7
This page is still under construction
We expect it to be completed in late 2007
Details of Individual Beeston Pubs: B - C
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