Heritage: Exploring the history of pubs in Cranham

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The Thatched House on St Marys Lane. - Credit: Dr AW Fox

Andy Grant continues his look at public houses in Cranham, delving into history of licensing struggles, building permission and publican tenures. 

The Plough

When James Gates died in 1881, the Plough Beerhouse was sold to Seabrooke and Sons, the Thurrock Brewers, for £725.

Built by James Gates in the 1870s to replace an earlier beerhouse, the new premises was a small, timber-framed, weather-boarded building on a 2.5 acre site.

After Seabrooke took over, James Gates Junior continued to serve as the tenant-landlord until the mid-1880s, when he was succeeded by James Flack.


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In the early 20th century, George Aaron Anderson became the landlord and successive generations of the Anderson family continued to hold that position for many years.

In 1939, proposals were submitted to build a new public house on the corner of Ingrebourne Gardens on a plot acquired in 1938.

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Requests were made to transfer the licences of Louisa Anderson and her son William to the new premises.

However, the war prevented rebuilding, delaying the opening until 20th December 1956, with “Bill” Anderson as the landlord.

The old beerhouse was sold to S.B. Young & Son, builders, for £4,500 in 1957 and the land to the rear of the beerhouse was sold to Upminster Park Estate for £175 and Hornchurch Construction for £500.

Plough rise now commemorates the site of the former beerhouse.

The Thatched House 

This beerhouse built by James Gates in 1857 was of brick construction, with weatherboarded extensions and a thatched roof.

George Claydon, the publican since 1871, had a tenure lasting over half a century. In 1907 and 1909, applications were made by Seabrooke to rebuild the beerhouse, but were refused.

By 1912, the chairman of the licensing committee objected to there being two public houses in such close proximity - The Thatched House and Jobber's Rest - and stated that only one should remain.

Although both licences were renewed for one year, the threat was again repeated in 1913.

A serious fire in the thatched roof in 1916 ultimately led to the demolition of the original premises in 1926.

A replacement was subsequently built, standing further back from the road than the original.

In 1927, George Frederick Barton successfully applied for an excise licence for the new premises.

In 1983, the two small bars were knocked through with further major renovations in 1996.

Jobber's Rest

The uniquely named Jobber's Rest beerhouse stood to the east of the present building, one of a group of four terraced cottages once used as the parish workhouse.

Around the time of World War One, two of the cottages were demolished and a new building replaced the old one.

The longest tenure of the pub was held by the Salmons, Albert and Daisy. During the 1950s and 1960s, a pub pianist "tinkled the ivories" for the benefit of the customers.

By 1968, the landlady considered that the pub would have a better atmosphere without the music, particularly having the likes of actor Victor Maddern and footballer Jimmy Greaves as regulars.

In September 2016, it was bought by the White Brasserie pub and restaurant chain for refurbishment as a gastro-pub.

The Golden Crane

The Golden Crane was built to cater for the growing Upminster Park estate, opening on September 11, 1958.

This was another uniquely-named pub, based on an erroneous notion that Cranham took its name from the hunting of Cranes.

Cranham as it might have been

Seabrooke brewery bought a parcel of land to the west of Moor Lane, adjacent to the new A127 road, with the intention of building a new pub/hotel at a cost of £10,000.

Permission was given and a licence granted upon payment of a "monopoly fee" of £2,250 during 1927.

Matters dragged on until 1930, with council resistance hardening until 1933, when further applications were refused. The pub was never built.

If the scheme had materialised, it would have been inevitable that a large roundabout would have been built when the A127 was made a dual-carriageway.

  • More Andy Grant articles can be found on the Romford History Facebook group. 

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