Pubs, Carriers, Smiths and Health care
Ale Houses, Taverns and Pubs
Over the centuries, there have been three types of ‘pub’. Most common were ‘ale houses’ – private houses where beer was brewed and sold to customers sitting at benches in the proprietor’s living room. Towns and cities had ‘taverns’, larger establishments which served food as well as drink. On coach routes there were ‘inns’, which provided accommodation and food for travelers as well as stabling. East Meon was not on a coaching route but had its fair share of maltsters, small brewers and ale houses, two of which have survived as pubs. There was even a ‘brewery stores’, Crowley & Co Ltd .
The oldest ale houses in East Meon were The George in Church Street, which dates back to the 16h century, and The Angel in The Cross, 17th century. The building survives as Cross Cottages. The Old Bell was next door to a saddlery business. People walked in with the shoes which they wanted mending, often their only pair, and would sit drinking ale in the Bell next door, whilst waiting for their shoes to be mended.
“William Luff, licensee of The George Inn owned a wagonette and dogcart, available for journeys to places like Petersfield and West Meon, especially to meet trains.” Clara Fisher
“If full up with goods, White would only carry one passenger, who sat with him on the front seat, open to the elements. In 1921, my sister Dorothy, then 15, travelled to Portsmouth by carrier for a holiday with our aunt. The wagon left at 5.30am, arriving at its destination, the Gosport Ferry, at 12.30. It was a cold October day, and on arriving my sister was so cold and stiff she had difficulty moving.” Clara Fisher.
“The Aburrow family carried on their wheelwrights’ business where East Meon Stores now stands, and at Pond Meadow, the old parish pound. Horse-drawn vehicles were taken there to be repaired or have wheels replaced, and new wagons were built. The family owned a traction engine, used to draw timber from the woods, and when stationary, to operate a belt-driven circular saw.” Clara Fisher.
“The smithy stood, as it still does, at the junction of the High Street and Frogmore Lane, a hive of activity, with many horses queuing up for shoeing. Three or four farriers worked there including Jim Hobbs, the boss. It was thrilling to watch horses being shod, and iron bands put on wagon wheels, with sparks flying from the fire, and more from the anvil, as shoes were hammered into shape.” Clara Fisher
In sickness and in death
“The midwife, Mrs Micklam, brought children into the world; Mrs Budd, as the village ‘Layer Out’ together with the help of Pinky Kille or Henry Coles, took care of one at the other end of life.” Margery Lambert
“Granny Fisher at the Coombe end of the village and Granny Luff, in the High Street, kept the community well oiled and ‘potioned’ with herbal advice.” Margery Lambert. In the 1990s, herbalist Tina Stapley lived in the same house, Brook Cottage; she grew herbs in the garden and published books on herbal medicine and cookery.
“There were two Undertakers. Pinky Kille, as he was known, with an unfortunate name for such a profession; he was also the village painter and carpenter. Henry Coles too was an undertaker, and had his coffin- making workshop at Chalk Dell. He laid out the bodies in part of the house known as Cross Keys, down in The Cross, and we would often peep through the cracks in the shutters to see them lying there. Henry Coles made visits to the sick when they were ill.” Margery Lambert.