Half Moon, Hemel Hempstead

April, 2011



Hemel Hempstead

David Collins (d.collins340 @t btinternet.com) of Wormington, Worcs, writes: I am researching my 2nd Great Grandfather, Harvey Henry SOUTH (1815 - 1872) who started life in the hamlet of Broughton, Pershore, Worcs, as the son of a tailor.  By 1837 he was living in London and as a Master Tailor lived in Knightsbridge and Chelsea including Eaton Square so I assume he was quite wealthy.  He had a shop in the Kings Road. In 1866 at the baptism of his last child he referred to himself as "A Gentleman".

Just 5 years later, in 1871, he was living in High Street, Hemel Hempstead with three of his children and he stated his occupation was "Publican".  His wife was living in Slatters Yard, High St., H. H. with my Gt. Grandfather. He died on 23rd March 1872 of T.B. and in his will it states he was a publican at the Half Moon inn and that he left "less than 450".  I know no more detail.

Do you know if there would be a local licensing register to show if he was a landlord or owner of the property and if so how can I get that information?  As he was a pub landlord is it likely his death would have been recorded in any local newspaper?



The Lower End of Hemel Hempstead High Street showing the Half Moon public house (see detail)


Valentine Card No 54936 - which indicate the photograph was taken in 1906 - at the same time as many other view cards of the town.


I will start with a comment about the 1871 census. No location is given about where he was a publican in the High Street, but he is just down the road from the White Hart - which suggests he was in the Half Moon but the name was not recorded.

In answer to your direct questions the guide to the records held at HALS, Tracing Your Family History in Hertfordshire says Between 1830 and 1869, restrictions on the opening of inns and public houses were removed and the JP's power to control them were weakened. For this period there is consequentially less evidence available for pub licensing.  They then outline their holdings - and it would appear that you are unlikely to find anything relevant for the period 1866 to 1872 - which are the relevant dates for Harvey Henry South.

The local paper at the time was the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, which was founded in 1867, and is still published with an active web site, with heritage pages provided in conjunction with the Dacorum Heritage Trust. They may be able to help you, as my experience with other local Hertfordshire papers at this time is that there may be no more than a two line mention of the death. If he was only in the town for a short time, and may have been ill for much of the period with the developing T.B. he would probably not be given the somewhat limited coverage given to well known local tradesmen. It is worth a try as you know the date of his death - but don't be surprised if there is nothing helpful.

However I can provide a time line (see below) for the Half Moon - which may provide some useful background. The information comes from a draft directory of the High Street (made up from old trade directories) I made some years ago, and also from a book Time's Highway, which refers to some deeds without giving their location (possibly HALS?) and which includes an earlier photograph to the one given above.

January  2016

Alister Rayner wrote: In the 1780's the Half Moon was owned by Dr. Hugh Smith, who left it to his daughter Lydia, and he provided in his will that the then tenant, Richard Sweby, could continue to occupy the premises provided that he purchased his beer from Lydia's husband, James Holloway, who lived and worked in Two Waters. James and his son George were 'Brewers of Hemel Hempstead', who owned a few pubs, although I don't know what, if anything they called the brewery. They operated from at least the 1780's until George's death in 1827. George's daughter married into the Weller family, much larger brewers of Amersham, and although the pubs were passed to George's son, they ended up in the Weller estate, and the son went into the church.

Do you know anything more of the Holloways as brewers, either in Hemel Hempstead or Two Waters? I'm trying to recreate my grt grt grandfather's beer, Weller's Entire, but it would be fun to bring back a Holloway brew too! Beer in the blood. Also, do you know anything of Dr Hugh Smith? I gather he was quite famous?

I checked through my records about early Hemel Hempstead breweries - and have nothing on Dr Smith or his family, but found a few snippets relating to the Holloway brewers and the Weller brewery.

The book Brewers in Hertfordshire has nothing specific to say about the brewers in Hemel Hempstead before 1841 when it identifies the Anchor Brewery, which was at Bury Mill End, the owner being William John Liddon, followed later by Thomas Elisha Deacon. Checking earlier trade directories  I find the following brewers listed for Hemel Hempstead


George Holloway (1797, 1823, 1828) (He died Aug. 17th, 1827 aged 63)

John William Liddon (1823, 1828, 1839) of Bury Mill End

Mary Hall (1839) of Pope's Lane (1846) of Bury Mill End

Isaac Winter  (1839) of Two Waters

Thomas Elisha Deacon (1846, 1851) of Bury Mill End

William Deacon (1846, 1851) of Boxmoor

John Francis Bontems (1851) of High Street

Mary Hall's brewery was presumably the one adjacent to the Six Bells at Bury Mill End, which is later referred to as the Star Brewery. The Hemel Hempstead Land Tax Returns from 1746-1830 would provide more information, year by year about the owners/tenants, possibly including data onDr. Smith's owning property in the area.


 Brewers in Hertfordshire is more helpful about the Amersham Brewery, founded in Church Street, Amersham, in 1771 by William Weller. It was taken over by Benskin's of Watford in 1930. At the time of the takeover Weller beer was still sold in eight Hemel Hempstead pubs: Bricklayers Arms, Leather Bottle (Leverstock Green), Papermakers Arms, Queens Head, Railway Tavern (Boxmoor), Red Lion (Leverstock Green), Red Lion (Nash Mills), and Saracens Head. It had earlier supplied the Half Moon and the Salmon.

Time Line for the Half Moon

1750 Thomas Partridge granted a lease to Edward Barker.
1756 The landlord William Sage had only one bed, but billeting for 10 horses.
  The Quakers are said to have stabled their horse there during Sunday services.
1780s Owned by Dr Hugh Smith, and passed to daughter Lydia Holloway. Richard Sweby tenant selling James Holloway's beer.
1797  John Blackwell was victualler at the Half Moon.
1804 DIED: On Saturday last, at Hemel Hempstead, Herts, Mrs. Lydia Holloway, in an advanced age, daughter of the late Dr. Hugh Smith, formerly of the same place. Morning Chronicle (2nd August)
1823 J Dyer was landlord.
1827 Tenants Kitchener & Hoar. Tenancy put to auction - see Disposal of George Holloway's Estate
1827 A bill of sale describes it as a brick built and slated dwelling house containing tap room, bar, kitchen and four sleeping chambers.
1828 Samuel Kitchener was landlord
1839 Benjamin Juffs was landlord
1846 Mrs Rachel Handley was tavern keeper
1851 & 1866 William Mann, landlord
1870 Harvey Smith [sic - presumably South], landlord
1871 Harvey South, publican (census)
1872 Battalion Prizes: ... 5th Prize Private Dolt (Hemel Hempstead), a bottle of gin, given by Mr. Addison, of the Half Moon. ... Hemel Gazette (19th October)
1874 William Addison of High Street Hemel Hempstead was charged ... with keeping pigs, so as to be a nuisance and injurious to health ... Hemel Gazette (31st January)
1874 Deaths: On the 3rd inst., [August] at High Street, Hemel Hempstead, after a protracted illness, Mr William Addison, landlord of the Half-Moon public-house, aged 35. Hemel Gazette {8th August)
1875 ... Pickled tongue and bottle of gin, given by Mr. Youngerman and Mrs Addison, won by Private Walker. Hemel Gazette (23 October)
1876 SOUP KITCHEN - The sale of soup and bread in the Half-moon Yard will commence on Wednesday next, January 5th, 1876, at 12 o'clock, and will be continued on Saturdays and Wednesdays at the same hour, during the winter. Hemel Gazette (1st January)
1878 Mrs Mary Ann Addison, landlord
1879 [Prizes] Mr. Ellis and Mrs. Addison, best woollen shirt, bottle of gin, Pvt. Lovelock. Hemel Gazette (11 January)
1882 Mrs Mary Ann Addison, landlord
1886 Thomas Cadd, landlord
1886 Thomas Fountain, in custody, was charged with stealing a pair of opera glasses, value 10/-, the property of John David Green [who said] he resided at Apsley End. He quitted the Beehive public house, Hemel Hempstead, on the 9th June ... The opera glasses produced were safe in his possession ... Thomas John Cadd stated that he kept "The Half Moon" Hemel Hempstead. He knew the prisoner [who] said he was short of money and ... [Cadd]  let him have 3/6  [for them]. ... Hemel Gazette (24th July)
1890 & 1899 William Cook, landlord
1901 Wellers, of Amersham, brought the freehold
1902 Horace Albert Yelland, landlord
1912 Half Moon closed on 31st December
1914 & 1922 William Frederick Williams, fruiterer
1929 & 1937 William Brown & Co. auctioneer, land, estate and house agent

NOTE: At the time this timeline was prepared only a few years of the Hemel Gazette had been digitised

so a search in a few months time should reveal many more entries relevant to the Half Moon,

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

May  2011   Page created