Ware's pubs in the 1920s

A poem that lists them all

Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

The French Horn, 1977
The Red House, London Road
The Chequers, an antique shop in 1981

A poem found many years ago in the loft at a house in Hertingfordbury Road, Hertford, lists every public house [46 of them] in Ware at the end of the 1920s.  There was no indication of when it was written or by whom.

It’s said there are some pubs in Ware, well yes, there are a few.  This is the place where malt is made, so why not taste the brew?

In London Road, the ‘Red House’ stands, an ancient bike on high.  There are tea gardens at the side, so no-one need go dry.

The ‘Gilpin’ brings to mind the man and his historic ride.  The ‘Malakoff’ a foreign name, near the New River’s side.

The ‘Royal Oak’ will shelter give, no matter wet or dry.  Then cross to the ‘Railway Hotel’, where you can sleep and dine.

In Amwell End, the ‘Eagle’s’ seen, the ‘GeorgeInn’s’ on the right.  The ‘Bull’ keeps watch upon the bridge, for ‘Victory’ is in sight.

The ‘Star’ is seen both day and night, ‘Victoria’ welcomes all.  The ‘Angel’ says ye thirsty souls, there’s drinks for all who call.

The ‘Jolly Bargemen’ and the ‘Harrow’, no Quakers do they fear, the ‘Red Lion’in New Road don’t roar when ‘Silas’ brews his beer.

(a)   The ‘Bird in Hand’ just nestles down, next the ‘Saracen’s Head’, where years ago sale took place, of Ware’s most famous bed. (b)

The ‘Bell’s’ a pub near the pillar box, where bakers made their bread.  The ‘Old Bay Horse’ is still alive, good luck he is not dead.

In East Street is the ‘Dolphin’ seen, though he can’t swim at all.  The ‘French Horn’ with its corner pitch, is on the council’s wall.

The happy trio now appear, together in West Street.  The ‘White Swan’ with its music charms, its guests who nightly meet.

The middle house with boxing booth, is called the ‘Bell and Sun’.  The ‘Punch House’ where in days gone by, some funny deeds were done. (c)

The ‘Wine Lodge’ is a modern house, the former was burnt down.  There is a garden on the roof, the only one in town.

Now cross the road for Stinge ale, at ‘Ye Old Brewery Tap’.  The landlord here and the ‘Punch House’, enjoy their Sunday nap. (d)

The ‘King’s Head’ is a royal name, where you can happy be.  Then plunge into the ‘Old Mill Stream’, with mill hands have a spree.

The two ‘Rose and Crowns’, old and new, can mournful tales relate. The ‘Brewery Tap’ and ‘Chequers’ point, the place for one ‘o’er eight. (e)

The ‘Bull’s Head’ is a house well known, the ‘Garden’ was a sight.  The ‘Wagon and Horses’ cars let out, for use both day and night.

The ‘Canon Hotel’ with lovely grounds, a posh club for the nobs.  The ‘Cannon Tavern’ near a spot, where horses are not cobs. (f)

In the ‘Cabin’ you may rest, the ‘Albion’ song may hear.  The ‘White Horse’ is a noble steed, the ‘Prince of Wales’ sells beer.

The ‘Volunteer’ in Jack Dye’s time, nicknamed the bandsman house.  The ‘Jolly Gardeners’ when at work, you never hear them grouse. (g)

The ‘Crooked Billet’ should do well, with council houses near.  For should the water tower fail, they can fall back on beer.

The ‘Rising Sun’ it sheds its light, upon both good and bad.  When Jack was chased right down the hill, he was partly clad. (h)

At ‘WindsorCastle’ we will stop and tally up our score.  Tis forty six but wait a bit, I think there is one more.

At this hotel all drinks are free, if you’ve no cash to spend.  The ‘Western House’ God save the King, and now the list must end. (i)

a) The Harrow and Jolly Bargeman were in Kibes Lane, demolished in the 30s and rebuilt on the King George estate. [The Harrow closed in 2011]

b) The writer saw the bed at the Saracen’s Head

c) At the Punch House, forty live rats were let loose in the landlady’s drawing room, all killed by dogs.  A resident would fill his mouth with live bees and let them out singularly among the customers.

d) The landlords of the Punch House and Ye Old Brewery Tap had only a six days licence,

e)The two Rose and Crowns [now the Worpel and Old Rose and Crown] were [and still are] on the way to the cemetery.

f) The Cannon Tavern is near Little Horse Lane g) Volunteer Jack Dye led up the band at the Rifle Volunteer

h) At the Rising Sun, the landlord discovered a man in compromising circumstances with his wife.  He was chased down the hill with a whip, minus some of his clothes.  [Demolished in 2000s]

i) ‘Western House’ was the workhouse [now The Octagon]

Of all the pubs mentioned, only 16 remain in 2020 1) The Royal Oak 2) The Spread Eagle 3) The Victoria 4) The Angel 5) The Jolly Bargeman 6) The Saracen’s Head 7) The Sung [formerly The Vine, formerly The Bell] 8) The Punch House 9) The Brewery Tap] 10) The Maltings  [formerly The Worpell, formerly the New Rose and Crown] 11) The Rose and Crown 12) The Bull’s Head  13) The Albion 14) The Rifle Volunteer 15) The Crooked Billet 16) The High Oak [formerly the Windsor Castle]

Closed since 2012 – The John Gilpin [demolished], the Cannon Tavern [converted], The Roebuck Hotel (formerly the Canons Hotel, demolished)

Opened since 2012 – The Quiet Man

2022 update – The Victoria, The Albion and The Jolly Bargeman have closed

This page was added on 27/07/2012.

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  • Great memories so pleased to have found this.
    Grew up in Ware in late 60’s and return a few times a year. Jolly Bargeman was my nearest pub but 2021 saw it sold for development of housing. Victoria has also closed 🙁
    Thanks for sharing

    By Dave Barker (07/04/2022)
  • Was it my great uncle Charles Scott who chased a partly clad man down the road after finding him with his wife?

    By Pamela Ashton nee Scott (21/08/2020)
  • Love this poem as several of my ancestors ran these inns/pubs at one time or another back in 19century.
    I am particularly interested in where the Malakoff was situated.

    By Pamela BEAR (21/05/2019)
  • The Malakoff was in London Road by the New River

    By S Williams (17/06/2020)