Whittington History Society

A History of The Swan Hotel


Adjacent to the canal, the first “Swan Inn”, was a staging post for canal horses, originally the “Swan Inn” was in the row of small cottages, which are nearer to the canal bridge, and it is believed that the “Swan Inn” was the one, which has a brick archway through the frontage, which has now been bricked up though the old archway can still clearly be seen.

















  • 1834 Whites directory shows George Smith as a Bricklayer and a beerhouse proprietor, but does not specify “The Swan Inn”.
  • 1851 The first known mention of “The Swan Inn”, the landlord was George Smith, Who was also a bricklayer?
  • 1856 Thomas Smith and his wife Emma baptised their son, George Robert Smith at St Giles church on 26th Feb, Thomas gave his occupation as “Innkeeper”, but I have no information on which pub he kept., It is a possibility that he was the son of George Smith, above though I have no proof.
  • 1858 Thomas Smith “Innkeeper” and wife Emma baptised a son George Henry Smith on 26th Feb at St Giles, Whittington.
  • 1860 Kelly’s Directory shows “The Swan Inn” was being run by Thomas Smith, aged 33, born in Whittington, he was also a butcher, with his wife Emma 28, of Birmingham. Whether he was related to George, is not known yet. Thomas and Emma baptised another child Herbert Thomas Smith on 24th April 1860, at St Giles once more. The family also had a servant, Lucy Aston aged 16, and born in Lichfield resident at the 1861 census date.
  • 1862 Thomas Smith and his wife Emma baptised two children, possibly twins, William, and Emma, at St Giles on 25th May, Thomas was an “Innkeeper.
  • 1863 Thomas and Emma did it again, for two more children, twins, they were baptised Septimus and Emma, on 20th September at St Giles. Thomas was still an “Innkeeper”.
  • 1865 Tom and Emma baptised Harriet on 10th December, Tom was still an “Innkeeper”.
  • 1868 Thomas gives his occupation as Innkeeper when registering the birth of his daughter, Clara Smith.
  • 1870 “The Swan Inn” was still being run by Thomas Smith and Emma; he was by now a victualer and coal merchant, surely the same man, but with a different occupation.
  • 1882   I have a map of this era which shows that the Swan Hotel gardens were much bigger than they are now; they used to extend behind the row of old cottages which were at one time, the “Swan Inn”
  • Still in the hands of Thomas Smith, and wife Emma, but he was now also a farmer, it seems he liked a change of jobs, but must have liked “The Swan Inn”.
  • Thomas was still Innkeeper in the census, but it shows he had a Charlotte Leadon from Leeds aged 60 acting as Manageress. His daughter Alice Smith aged 27, of Whittington, was a barmaid.
  • Samuel Pownell of Leek, retired from the army where he had served in the North Staffs Regiment. He and his wife Elizabeth, ran the “Swan Inn”.



















Elizabeth Powell seen standing with her daughter beneath the pub sign board.


  • 1904   Samuel Pownell died at the age of 43, leaving his wife and 5 children to run the pub without him
  • 1911 The new “Swan Hotel” (below) was built, and Elizabeth, ran it single handed. It was originally intended to be a stopping over hotel, near a railway halt, (which may not ever have happened), the idea was for army personnel to reach Whittington Barracks by rail, lower ranks were marched the mile or so to the barracks, whilst officers usually stayed overnight, and were transferred by horse and carriage the following day.
  • 1912 “The Swan Hotel” was now in the hands of Mrs Elizabeth Pownell.
  • 1921 “The Swan Hotel” had another change of hands, Mr Henry Merrison.



















This photo dates from around 1920; note the pear tree in the foreground.



  • 1922   A sad event, Douglas James Renfree, was buried on the 28th of January, and his last abode was the “Swan Hotel”. Electoral Rolls show that Henry Beskeen Treglown, and Bertha Treglown, was resident at The “Swan Hotel”, but it doesn’t say if they were running the pub.
  • 1931 The “Swan Hotel” was now in the hands of Mr Horace John Clarke, and Mary Clarke his wife. There is also a mention of a Mary Johnston at the Swan for that year, it may have been the maiden name of Horace John’s new wife, or it could have been someone else.
  • 1932 Horace John Clarke is still in charge according to Kelly’s directory.
  • 1936 Horace John Clarke was still there as he and his wife Mary are still on the Electoral Registers.
  • 1937 on the 14th April John Vincent Leo Drury, had taken over at the Swan Hotel, he was helped by his wife Dorothy Catherine Drury. An inventory of this date values stock and Furniture and fixings at £248:18:11. Vincent was also a haulier of sewage sludge, Dolly played piano or did she? One of the items in the inventory was 1d in the slot piano!





















Vincent Drury outside the Swan with his Pony and Trap in the late 1930s.


  • 1938 Vincent Drury is still in charge according to “Kelly’s” Directory.
  • 1949 Ernest John Crompton, was now the licensee his wife is named Edna. In the same year, a Swedish gentleman named Stig Persson came to live at the “Swan Hotel” on 2nd November, whilst working for a drilling company “Craellius”, he kindly sent the photo below, taken whilst he was living at the “Swan Hotel”, and working in the Lichfield area, the man with the hat is Henrik Johansson from north Sweden who came to Whittington from Africa, the man on the right, is Torsten Edholm, also from north Sweden who was previously a sailor.


















The background of this photo shows a row of cottages which were demolished about 1970, and Bill “Footy” Allsops’ field which for many years held a store of old agricultural implements.



  • 1950 Stigs’ wife Freda, from Aston, gave birth to Andrew Stig Persson in the upstairs right bedroom of the “Swan Hotel” on 10th December, Andrew was baptised 21 Jan 1951.
  • 1952 Ernest John Crompton and his wife Edna baptised their son Neil Edward Crompton on the 16th November 1952, and daddy gave his occupation as “Publican”, and abode as “The Swan.
  • 1953 In October, Fred Holbrook, and his wife Edith Alice, took over the running of the “Swan Hotel” Fred died in 1958.
  • 1960   Edith Alice remained in charge of the “Swan Hotel”.
  • 1961 The Middleton’s, Arthur and Margaret kept the pub.
  • 1966 My own wedding reception was held in the function room upstairs, at the rear of the pub, it was entered by means of a steel staircase outside, and had a separate bar.
  • Midland Red bus service 822, used to terminate outside the “Swan Hotel” until the late 60’s, and some recall fuel pumps at the right side of the “Swan Hotel which were the property of Vincent Drury, who also ran a haulage company.
  • 1970 Following severe flooding, of the OLD Swan cottages, which were inundated with run off storm water about 3 feet deep, and requiring the RAF, to install huge drying hoses, blowing hot air; a large storm drain was installed to take surface rainwater from the roads surrounding the pub, directly into the canal. The garden land was later divided, and a large conifer hedge is now the boundary line.
  • 1984 Their son, also named Arthur Middleton and his wife Joyce, were in charge. Another son, Ernie Middleton, assisted his mother Margaret.
  • There is a concrete construction pig-sty, at the back of the stable block, which Ernie used to keep chickens in. Ernie Middleton was once asked by a group of boat people from the canal, if he could recommend a suitable bottle of wine to accompany chicken, he sold the appropriate wine, only to find 2 chickens missing the following morning.
  • In the mid-1980s Arthur Middleton again, ran “The Swan Hotel” alone. Arthur’s daughter, Anita Booth, (nee Middleton), and her husband, Bob Booth, then ran the pub for a while, and later, Anita Booth ran the pub alone
  • 1990 Whittington Golf Society formed, using the “Swan Hotel”, as 19th hole.
  • 1992 David Michael Rees, and Anne K Rees, of West Bromwich ran the “Swan Hotel”.
  • 1994 David and Anne were still resident at the Swan in mid November.
  • 1998 Jennifer Hignall made an application for a license to run the Swan Hotel, but never continued with it, so there was an 8 day “Limbo” period.
  • 1998 Lavinia and John Godsell of Bristol ran the “Swan Hotel”. The brewery at that time drew up quite an elaborate set of plans to modernise the pub, but the plans must have fallen by the wayside due to the high cost that would be involved.
  • Alf Hood presented the “Swan Hotel”, with his largest cucumber ever, which lasted for weeks, and it cost the landlord more in free beer.
  • 1999 David Leese had the “Swan Hotel” for just 3 months.
  • 2000 From March, A couple from Liverpool, Christine and David R Callaway were in charge of the “Swan Hotel”.
  • 2001 The “Swan Hotel”, had some minor revamping done, rooms were altered, and the former bottle store was made into part of the bar area. The whole renovation was far less than the plans drawn in 1998.
  • 2003 New family Mike and Elaine Angseesing with daughter Maxine and her husband Antony King took over the “Swan Hotel” in June. They re-equipped the pub gardens with new children’s toys, including Wendy house, car, tricycles and children’s picnic tables etc. The Swan Hotel is once more served food. However, following surgery on her legs, Elaine was no longer able to stand and cook, and the Swan was sold.
  • 2005 Around 10 June, Victoria Goodacre, from Nr Loughborough, an ex Television company employee, who was made redundant has took over the Swan Hotel. A new menu was introduced with more variety.





















The Swan in 2005.



  • 2007.  In late February, Victoria Goodacre, decided to close down the Swan Hotel, as it was not making sufficient money.
  • The Swan was closed for a week or so, and then in early March, Punch Taverns installed a temporary manager. Alan Lowe, former landlord of the “Trent Valley” as the temporary landlord, he ran the Swan until mid June 2007.
  • In September 2007 Andy and Vicky Harris became the new licensees. The opening hours were drastically reduced, the pub only opening at evenings on weekdays.
  • 2008. During the first two months of the year, The Swan was closed entirely, however, in March it re-opened under the new management of Kim, and Steve her partner, both were trained chefs. However, the venture appears to have been a money drain and the Swan closed on 23 Nov 2008. It was said to be losing Kim and Steve around £2000 per month.
  • Around 18 Dec 2008 David Arthur Turner, and his wife Joanne (nee Turley),  in a partnership with Peter Hickey, have re-opened The Swan Hotel, David, having previously and successfully run the Bell Inn.
  • 2009 Redecoration was carried out and massive Leylandii hedgerows were severely reduced in height, and at the frontage removed altogether.
  • A popular event was held in the summer of 2009, a raft race to raise funds for Daisy Grace who died of meningitis.
  •  In March 2010, the Swan closed yet again as the takings were insufficient, but in April, it has re-opened under new Management, with a TAW agreement with Punch Taverns. (Tenancy At Will) offers a low risk entry into the market.
  • “Fisherwick Shoot and Fishing Club” used to have their early morning “Hunters Breakfast” at The “Swan Hotel” before engaging in their sporting activities.
  • 26 Sep 2010, the pub car park was fenced off, and a couple of men were seen throwing every last item out of an upstairs window, and into the back of their tipper truck.
  • It was rumoured that the pub would be converted into flats, but for almost a year later, nothing happened, the old pub stood empty.
  • September 2011, Sadness as The Swan sinks celebrating it's centenary. Demolition began on Whittington’s 100-year-old Swan Inn in September 2011. Burton-on-Trent developer John Garton bought the pub under a veil of secrecy in the Summer of 2010. Initially villagers were reassured by the Parish Council that the building would be saved, however the unlisted pub building could not be legally protected from demolition.










































The Swan being demolished in Autumn 2011.



Compiled by Philip James Wood

More information is required, could you add anything? Do you have any stories or old photo’s?


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