The Old Bell Inn & the Bird in Hand

Two unidentified pubs

By Nicholas Blatchley

The Old Bell Inn
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
Bird in Hand
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

We’ve been unable to identify where in Hertfordshire these two pubs were, or maybe still are.  Can you identify them?

The picture of the Old Bell Inn has no text written on the back.  The brewery is Christie’s which was based in Hoddesdon, but their pubs were spread out over quite a wide area, so this doesn’t really help.

There are currently Old Bell Inns in Harpenden, Hemel Hempstead and Sawbridgeworth, but available photos don’t seem to match this one.

The picture of the Bird in Hand pub is marked as “St Albans”, but a comment written on the back says “Can find no mention of this pub in St Albans”.

Do you know of a Bird in Hand in St Albans in the past, and if so where?  Or do you recognise it from anywhere else?  There’s a Bird in Hand pub in Hitchin, but it doesn’t appear to be this one.  We’d love to hear from you, if you have any suggestions.


This page was added on 15/01/2013.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.

  • Many thanks for the information, Adrian.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (30/12/2015)
  • Unfortunately, there’s some incorrect information been given about these 2 “mystery” pubs.

    The facts are:

    The Bell is, as most confirm, definitely in Braughing. But it was a Christie’s of Hoddesdon house – not Truman’s (unless they sold it on to Truman’s, which seems very unlikely). It did close in 1923, before Christie’s were taken over by the Cannon Brewery of Clerkenwell (in 1928).

    The 2nd is the Bird in Hand in Braintree, which still exists today. It was a Hawkes of Bishop’s Stortford house, until 1898 when Benskins took them over.

    By Adrian Perry (28/12/2015)
  • This bird in hand looks like the Bird In Hand in Stondon, Bedford Road, Hertfordshire.  I lived in the row of cottages in Bedford Road which in the 1950 were next to the Bird in Hand.  I was there only a short time but we had a gang hut at the bottom of the garden over which we could look into the rear gardens of the Bird In Hand.  My friend Penelope Pellisier’s parents  ran the pub.  Mr. Albert Sell and his wife Dolly, (Dorothy and Bert) lived at the end of the row.  The cottages were for workers in the local Fruit Farm but I cannot remember the name of the farm.   I went to Stondon School.  The Bird in hand is still called by that name and still operates but the present building seems to be lacking the extension on the side of the pub.   The cottages had dry toilets.   I came from Scotland and I was horrified that a place so near London had dry toilets which was very unusual even for remote rural islands in Scotland as Edinburgh University was and is a world leader in medicine and water was a major concern in all areas to give the population sanitary conditions.   The area was beautiful and I went up Stondon Road to the frog pond on a regular basis. I used to watch the RAF boys drill and I made up my mind I was going to become a pilot which was not a sensible career move for a 7 year old girl. (Henlow RAF Camp).    

    By anne miller (24/11/2015)
  • The first picture is The Bell Inn which is now the post office.  It was owned by Truman Hanbury Buxton & Co Ltd and closed shortly after 1920.  My grandfather was the publican at the time and my mother was born there in 1920.  Her baptism record can be found in the local church.  This record shows my grandfather reported as a licensed victualler.

    By LincolnshireDyke (18/07/2015)
  • Thanks, David. They certainly look pretty much identical.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (26/11/2014)
  • I think the Bird in Hand is the one in Coggeshall Road, Braintree, Essex.  See

    By David (23/11/2014)
  • I would say that the Bird in Hand pub strongly resembles the Bird in Hand in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.

    By Owen Simons (29/08/2013)
  • Hi – The picture of the Bird in Hand pub looks like the current Golden Fleece pub in Green End, Braughing.

    By Sally Eaton-Jones (14/08/2013)
  • I agree with Sheila re: The Bell Inn, now the post office in Braughing. However, the photograph of the Bird in Hand is definitely not the same building as still exists in Green End. I have old photographs of the Bird in Hand in Braughing and none come anywhere near matching. This belongs somewhere else.

    By Peter Boylan (21/06/2013)
  • Thanks for that. I’ve now linked the article to the Braughing section.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (17/01/2013)
  • The Old Bell Inn is at Green End, Braughing, and is now the Post Office and H & N Green, grocers shop. It is c17th century and still has the old bell set in to the porch. The pub closed in 1923 and was taken over as a shop in 1930, becoming the post office in 1939. There is also a Bird in Hand along the same road (B1368), same side, further north, now a private dwelling (no 26 Green End). The building shape is very similar to your photo, with gates to the left, but the facade is completely different. It is also 17th century and also closed in 1923.

    By Sheila White (15/01/2013)