Hertfordshire Genealogy

Answers to Questions


ALDRIDGE, Welwyn & Barnet, 1820-82

December, 2003





Terry Aldridge (desleyw @t doggy.com.au) of Caloundra, Queensland, Australia, writes: I scanned with great interest, your site re Aldridge Publicans of St Albans.  I have in my possession, a copy of my Great Grandfather's (Henry Aldridge) memoirs written in 1932.  He states that in approx. 1850, when he was about six years of age, his father William, my Great Great Grandfather, was keeping a beer house called the Black Horse in High Street Welwyn.  Sometime later, he purchased a block of land from Squire Block's Estate at New Barnet, where he built a public house called the Leister Arms.  Being slightly too far from the Great Northern Railway, he purchased another block near the railway station.  As there was another hotel called the Railway Hotel already built there, he decided to call his the Railway Tavern. (The original hand written specification for this tavern is dated 20 Feb 1854).  In 1855 his wife Mary Ann (nee Smith) died and he remarried Elizabeth Lovett in London 17 Sept 1855.  Sometime after that he mortgaged his properties on a Mortgage of Equity of Redemption, which was supposed to have cleared the mortgage over 20 years.  After that, it is not stated what endured, but the family migrated to Australia. in 1875-76 
Later in 1883, Henry (his son) and family, returned to Welwyn from Australia, after inheriting his Uncle Harry Aldridge's (intestate) estate.  He bought out the tenant of his father's old hotel (the Black Horse) Welwyn, where he grew up.  He notes that he sold the best beer for 4d a quart and best ale for 6d a quart.  After this he operated the Queensland Gold Mining Stand at the Colonial & Indian Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London.  They returned to Australia in 1886.
What I have been trying to do is tie in my Great Great Grandfather William Aldridge, born  1820    to a family in the area.  After looking at your St Albans information, it is obvious that the Aldridges were well rooted into the hotels in the area.  If you could assist in any way, it would be greatly appreciated..

There is nothing relevant under Welwyn in  Hertfordshire Inns or Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses. However the latter includes the following reference to the still surviving Railway Tavern at Barnet:

3 East Barnet Road
Earliest known reference 1862
Full licence
Charles Wells [Beer now sold]

The licensee in 1862 was Robert Knowlman. Owners have included a Mr. Thrale, farmer, of Walthamstow in 1879, Mann Crossman (from 29/8/1898) and Charrington & Co (!/9/1898).

In 1892 the justices served notice on Thomas Daynes, licensee, that renewal would be opposed at the next licensing day as it was in excess of the requirements of the locality - probably an early sign of pressure from local temperance organisations. But it survived closure then and in 1928.

[The book also notes that development in the area started in 1850, with the opening of the railway station.]

Gelder's book Historic Barnet mentioned that with the coming of the railway station in 1850 there was a major expansion in the area, and there was an expansion of public houses, first for the navvies building the railway, and later for the inhabitants of the newly developed area of East Barnet. These included the Railway Bell, the Railway Hotel, the Railway Tavern and the Platelayers Arms.

A check of the Trade directories I have easy access to (they were published at about 4 year intervals) shows that the Aldridge family were beer retailers in Welwyn between at least 1850-82, but none refer to their establishment by name or give a street address.

1839 Pigot's Directory - Welwyn - No Aldridge (any occupation) and no Black Horse

1851 Post Office Directory - Welwyn - Aldridge George, beer retailer - Aldridge James, beer retailer

1862 Post Office Directory - Welwyn - Aldridge Henry, beer retailer

1882 Kelly's Directory - Welwyn - Aldridge Mary (Mrs), beer retailer

1886 Kelly's Directory - Welwyn - No Aldridge

As there was still an Aldridge present in 1881 the census return was the place to look - and the Black Horse is located.

The Black Horse Beer House, Fore Street, Welwyn

 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
 Emily ALDRIDGE   Head   Widow  Female   53   Hatfield, Herts   Beer House Keeper 
 George FAITHFULL   Grandson   U   Male   18   Barnet, Middlesex  Carter (Ag) 
 Mary A. BISHOP   Granddaur   U   Female   15   Ayot St Peter, Herts   General Serv 
 Charles WEBB   Boarder   U   Male   31   Wheathampstead, Herts   Ag Lab 
 Joseph WELCH   Boarder   Widower  Male   65   Hatfield, Herts   Ag Lab 
 William HOLLINGSWORTH   Boarder   U   Male   30   Weston, Herts   Ag Lab 

I am wondering whether the "Emily" of the 1881 census was the "Mary" of the 1882 directory - such "errors" can happen. - The grandson born at Barnet is interesting in view of the Aldridge connection with that area.

I did a quick, and non-comprehensive search of familysearch for relevant baptisms and found the following for Welwyn:

Henry Aldridge 26th May, 1844 - father William Aldridge, mother Mary Anne

James Aldridge 6th February 1859 - father William Aldridge, mother Elizabeth

The information so far shows that the Aldridge family were beerhouse keepers in Welwyn for at least 30 years, that Henry Aldridge was born there, that the opening of the Railway Tavern in East Barnet by William Aldridge fits with the development of the area, and he may have returned to Welwyn in 1859, when James was baptised. The relationship between William and the 1851 beerhouse keepers George and James is unclear (could one be his father, the other a brother???). No links with the St Albans Aldridge family have been established at this early stage. (ALDRIDGE, Fishpool Street, St Albans, 19th century)

What Next? You clearly have the foundations for a major onslaught on the Aldridge family history. I would suggest viewing the 1851 census microfilms for Welwyn, and if you purchase James Aldridge's birth certificate the address of his birth could help you to search the 1861 census microfilm as well. You may well find many of the other help pages on this site useful. I suspect that the facilities available to you in Calaundra are very limited. According to familysearch the nearest LDS Family History Centre is at Redcliffe, but it might be better to travel further down the Bruce Highway for the far better facilities in Brisbane.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.