Forge Hammer & Speedwell, Sedgley

The Forge Hammer & Speedwell is recorded as being a Beerhouse and in 1865 my great, great, great Garndfather Joseph Hyde was shown to be the licensee in 1865.

The Beerhouse was attached to the shop/house Joseph had in Spring Vale, Coseley, Sedgeley and in accordance with so many other similar premises of the time, Joseph's main trade was not a pub licensee but a Butcher.

Spring Vale today is a relatively small area of Wolverhampton bounded by the Black Country Route road, the Birmingham Canal and Millfields Road Ettingshall.

The 1903 Ordance Survey map shows Spring Vale to be a hive of activity. It included a canal basin, coal mines, forges, furnaces and iron works (the Staffordshore Steel & Ingot Iron Works was in Spring Vale). All these places had one thing in common - they employed a lot of men, men who most likely consumed beer & ale. So opening a Beerhouse in Spring Vale was not a fanciful idea, more of a golden opportunity to make a fair few extra bob to supplement the main business of the licensee.

About Beerhouses

Originally beerhouses and alehouses only sold ale or beer whilst taverns sold additional beverages such as wine and spirits. Inns and especially coaching inns were bigger establishments offering larger more comfortable rooms and accommodation. A Beerhouse could only sell beer.

Originally beerhouses and alehouses only sold ale or beer whilst taverns sold additional beverages such as wine and spirits. Inns and especially coaching inns were bigger establishments offering larger more comfortable rooms and accommodation. - See more at: http://www.genguide.co.uk/source/publican-brewery-and-licensed-victuallers-records-occupations/127/#sthash.zonoMirI.dpuf
Originally beerhouses and alehouses only sold ale or beer whilst taverns sold additional beverages such as wine and spirits. Inns and especially coaching inns were bigger establishments offering larger more comfortable rooms and accommodation. - See more at: http://www.genguide.co.uk/source/publican-brewery-and-licensed-victuallers-records-occupations/127/#sthash.zonoMirI.dpuf

Following the introduction of the Beerhouse Act 1830, anyone with a potential trade could obtain a license to brew and sell beer upon payment of 2 guineas (about £2.10 in todays money). Many craftsmen & food related tradesmen had facilities behind their shops - Nail Makers & Blacksmiths had forges, Bakers had ovens, Butchers had abbatoirs and or hot water boiling facilities. These "rear" premises were ideal for the establishment of a small brewhouse for the production of beer for the masses, which was then sold via the front of the premises, often after the main business closed for the day. Often the brewing of beer would be an adjunct to their main occupation, something to legally bring in some extra income.

Known Facts

As we only have recorded facts to go on (1861 Census) and they do not include plans of the premises there has to be an amount of educated guesswork, although it is all based on recorded history. The 1861 Census shows the Spring Vale premises to be a "public house" and Joseph as a Butcher. Hitchmough's History of Black Country Pubs (Dudley) shows that Joseph Hyde had the license for the Forge Hammer & Speedwell in 1865.

Joseph Hyde died in 1870 so his Beerhouse was a shortlived operation (1860 - 1870 perhaps) and there is no record of the Forge Hammer & Speedwell continuing after his death.

However, his experiences of operating a "pub" did rub off on his wider family, as will be seen in future articles.

Information Sources:

http://www.genguide.co.uk/source/publican-brewery-and-licensed-victuallers-records-occupations/127/

http://www.blackcountrysociety.co.uk/articles/westbrominns.htm

http://www.historyhouse.co.uk/articles/beerhouse.html

http://www.longpull.co.uk/

1861 Census