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OverviewIndividual PubsPublicans, Landlords, etcPub ChecksBeeston Brewery
Pubs, Inns, etc in Beeston

Text & Photographs
© Grenville Chamberlain - 2005

Page Design
© David Hallam - 2005


Beeston Public House Checks - by Grenville Chamberlain

Beestonian Grenville Chamberlain has studied coins for most of his life and is respected throughout the local and wider numismatic community for his knowledge and dedication. His relatively recent work on the Roman coin collections in Nottinghamshire museums has brought him well deserved acclaim. For over 20 years, he has been collecting and studying tokens and checks from Nottinghamshire and has published a definitive work on Nottingham market tallies. His original work on pub tokens in particular has been persued with characteristic thoroughness. He has been a member of the Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire for 50 years and has served as its Secretary for 25 years.

Background - these metal checks, each with a face value, were issued by public houses. Up to December 2005, 284 such checks, referring to 208 separate establishments, have been recorded for Nottinghamshire as a whole. Over 40% of them displayed the name of a licensee, his initials or a countermark allowing the checks to be dated within the parameters of his tenure at that house. The earliest check can be dated to 1850/51 and the latest was made c1912. However, some of these checks were certainly in use up to the Second World War. With one exception, all checks are made of brass and measure between 23mm and 36.5mm.

Usage - A small number of the checks used in the City of Nottingham indicate what they were used for - examples being for bowling clubs (skittles), money clubs (savings clubs) and for sick & annual clubs. In general, they were redeemable for beer and perhaps food, etc or to pay for facilities - such as skittles or billiards - at the issuing premises and may have been issued at a discount on the face value or given away as an incentive or reward. In that way, both issuer and customer would benefit.

Although no check used in the Beeston area shows an actual use on it, some 30 years ago I interviewed Mrs Nellie Clarke, then in her 80s, whose father had been licensee of the Rose Inn (or Rose of England Inn) and later moved next door to the Star Inn. Mrs Clarke herself had succeeded her father as licensee of the Star Inn and she told me that she recalled a sick & annual club that met at the Star used the check mentioned below as part of a system we now know as "wet rents." Thus would imply that a group which met at a particular establishment would "pay" for the use of its facilities by the purchase of checks for the use of its members. This, I believe that many, if not all the checks that do not state a use may well have been used by sick & annual clubs meeting in the specified pub. About the same time that I interviewed Mrs Clarke I also interviewed Mr Ted Gaynor who had been secretary of the Edward VII Sick, Death & Annual Club which met at the Durham Ox in Beeston and he told me that his club used hand written signed notes that were used in the same way as the brass checks.

My father George Chamberlain, was a member of the Royal Oak Sick & Annual Club on Villa Street Beeston and after he died I found his rule book. Rule number 30 states the following -

"All cases of sickness and general expenses of management, shall be met by members' contributing 3d. per week. On every night marked on the Contribution Card as a quarter-night, every member shall pay an additional 3d. He shall receive a ticket entitling him to that amount of refreshment at any time it is tendered. All members not having paid either personally or by deputy by 9.30 shall forfeit their share, the residue to come in to be consumed by the members present at the discretion of the Committee any person paying for a member shall receive his ticket."
Beeston Area Checks - Eleven checks for the Beeston/Chilwell area have been examined and they refer to ten different establishments. However, I have actually recorded 13 specimens for the area (see "Commercial Inn" below). The checks at present known for Beeston & Chilwell, all of which were probably issued during the period 1890-1910, are as follows:

Boat Inn Check

Boat Inn, Beeston Ryelands (sic)
Brass 3d
Diameter 23.5 mm
Made by W.Smith, New Meeting St., Birmingham.

 
  Chequers Inn Check

Chequers Inn, Chilwell
Brass 1½d
Diameter 26mm
Made by Sale of Birmingham.
Note : this pub is just over the Beeston boundary, in High Rd, Chilwell

 
  Cricketers Arms Check

Cricketer's Arms, Beeston
Brass 3d
Diameter 26mm
Maker unknown

 
  Prince of Wales Check

Prince of Wales, Beeston
Brass 3d
Diameter 24mm
Maker unknown

 
  Queens Hotel Check

Qeens (sic) Hotel, Beeston
Brass 1½d
Diameter 26mm
Made by Vaughton of Birmingham.

 
  Rose Inn Check

Rose Inn, Beeston
Brass 1½d
Diameter 26.5mm (Uniface)
Made by W.Smith, New Meeting St., Birmingham.

 
  Royal Oak Check

Royal Oak, Villa Street, Beeston
Brass 3d
Diameter 23.5mm
Maker W.Smith, New Meeting St., Birmingham.

 
  Royal Oak Check

Royal Oak, Villa Street, Beeston
Brass 3d
Diameter 24mm
No maker stated

 
  Star Inn Check

Star Inn, Beeston
Brass 1½d
Diameter 26mm
No maker stated but known to be by Lewis Rose of Birmingham

 
  3 Horse Shoes Check

Three Horse Shoes, Beeston
Brass 3d
Diameter 24mm
No maker stated

 
  Commercial Inn Check

Commercial Inn, Beeston
Brass 3d
Diameter 24mm
No maker stated

This is the only Beeston check, so far discovered, to bear an indication of its issuer "JN" - John Robert Norton, who was licensee of the Commercial Inn from 4th June 1892 until 7th November 1896.
The check is also countermarked with the initials of two later licensees:
"HF" for Harry Flowers, licensee from 7th November 1896 until 5th November 1898 during which time the old Commercial Inn was demolished and the new one built; temporary premises were used at that time.
and
"JH" for Joseph Halladay, licensee from 12th August 1905 until 7th November 1908.

This is the only check so far examined for the Commercial Inn and it is assumed that a check without countermarks exists or existed as did another with just Harry Flowers' countermark thus adding two checks to the list.

 

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