Ware's pubs in the 1920s

A poem that lists them all

The Chequers became an antique shop and is now an estate agent
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
The French Horn in 1977. It closed in 1996.
Kibes Lane (with the Jolly Bargeman on the left) in the 1920s. The whole street was demolished in 1936.
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

A poem found many years ago in the loft at a house in Hertingfordbury Road, Hertford, lists every public house [46 of them] in Ware at the end of the 1920s.  There was no indication of when it was written or by whom. 

It’s said there are some pubs in Ware, well yes, there are a few.  This is the place where malt is made, so why not taste the brew?

In London Road, the ‘Red House’ stands, an ancient bike on high.  There are tea gardens at the side, so no-one need go dry.

The ‘Gilpin’ brings to mind the man and his historic ride.  The ‘Malakoff’ a foreign name, near the New River’s side.

The ‘Royal Oak’ will shelter give, no matter wet or dry.  Then cross to the ‘Railway Hotel’, where you can sleep and dine.

In Amwell End, the ‘Eagle’s’ seen, the ‘George Inn’s’ on the right.  The ‘Bull’ keeps watch upon the bridge, for ‘Victory’ is in sight.

The ‘Star’ is seen both day and night, ‘Victoria’ welcomes all.  The ‘Angel’ says ye thirsty souls, there’s drinks for all who call.

The ‘Jolly Bargemen’ and the ‘Harrow’, no Quakers do they fear, the ‘Red Lion’in New Road don’t roar when ‘Silas’ brews his beer. (a)

The ‘Bird in Hand’ just nestles down, next the ‘Saracen’s Head’, where years ago sale took place, of Ware’s most famous bed. (b)

The ‘Bell’s’ a pub near the pillar box, where bakers made their bread.  The ‘Old Bay Horse’ is still alive, good luck he is not dead.

In East Street is the ‘Dolphin’ seen, though he can’t swim at all.  The ‘French Horn’ with its corner pitch, is on the council’s wall.

The happy trio now appear, together in West Street.  The ‘White Swan’ with its music charms, its guests who nightly meet.

The middle house with boxing booth, is called the ‘Bell and Sun’.  The ‘Punch House’ where in days gone by, some funny deeds were done. (c)

The ‘Wine Lodge’ is a modern house, the former was burnt down.  There is a garden on the roof, the only one in town.

Now cross the road for Stinge ale, at ‘Ye Old Brewery Tap’.  The landlord here and the ‘Punch House’, enjoy their Sunday nap. (d)

The ‘King’s Head’ is a royal name, where you can happy be.  Then plunge into the ‘Old Mill Stream’, with mill hands have a spree.

The two ‘Rose and Crowns’, old and new, can mournful tales relate. The ‘Brewery Tap’ and ‘Chequers’ point, the place for one ‘o’er eight. (e)

The ‘Bull’s Head’ is a house well known, the ‘Garden’ was a sight.  The ‘Wagon and Horses’ cars let out, for use both day and night.

The ‘Canon Hotel’ with lovely grounds, a posh club for the nobs.  The ‘Cannon Tavern’ near a spot, where horses are not cobs. (f)

In the ‘Cabin’ you may rest, the ‘Albion’ song may hear.  The ‘White Horse’ is a noble steed, the ‘Prince of Wales’ sells beer.

The ‘Volunteer’ in Jack Dye’s time, nicknamed the bandsman house.  The ‘Jolly Gardeners’ when at work, you never hear them grouse. (g)

The ‘Crooked Billet’ should do well, with council houses near.  For should the water tower fail, they can fall back on beer.

The ‘Rising Sun’ it sheds its light, upon both good and bad.  When Jack was chased right down the hill, he was partly clad. (h)

At ‘Windsor Castle’ we will stop and tally up our score.  Tis forty six but wait a bit, I think there is one more.

At this hotel all drinks are free, if you’ve no cash to spend.  The ‘Western House’ God save the King, and now the list must end. (i)

a) The Harrow and Jolly Bargeman were in Kibes Lane, demolished in the 30s and rebuilt on the King George estate. [The Harrow closed in 2011]

b) The writer saw the bed at the Saracen’s Head

c) At the Punch House, forty live rats were let loose in the landlady’s drawing room, all killed by dogs.  A resident would fill his mouth with live bees and let them out singularly among the customers.

d) The landlords of the Punch House and Ye Old Brewery Tap had only a six days licence.

e)The two Rose and Crowns, now the Worppell and Old Rose and Crown were [and still are] on the way to the cemetery.

f) The Cannon Tavern is near Little Horse Lane

g) Volunteer Jack Dye led up the band at the Rifle Volunteer

h) At the Rising Sun, the landlord discovered a man in compromising circumstances with his wife.  He was chased down the hill with a whip, minus some of his clothes.  [Demolished in 2000s]

i) ‘Western House’ was the workhouse [now The Octagon]


Of all the pubs mentioned, only 19 remain in 2012.

1) The John Gilpin

2) The Royal Oak

3) The Spead Eagle

4) The Victoria

5) The Angel

6) The Jolly Bargeman

7) The Saracen’s Head

8) The Vine [formerly The Bell]

9) The Punch House

10) The Tap Bar [formerly Ye Old Brewery Tap]

11) The Worppell [formerly the New Rose and Crown]

12) The Rose and Crown

13) The Bull’s Head

14) The Roebuck Hotel [formerly the Cannons Hotel}

15) The Canon Tavern

16) The Albion

17) The Rifle Volunteer

18) The Crooked Billet

19) The High Oak [formerly the Windsor Castle]

This page was added on 14/07/2012.

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  • I remember as a boy in the fifties four pubs just in crib street alone ( in Ware )that were open .On the corner of princess street was the “Prince of Wales” and the publican was Tom Hart, on the corner of Francis road was the “White Horse” and the publican of that was a man who’s surname was I think Bone?, then further down was and still is the Albion and lastly at the bottom of crib street was “The Cabin” owned or tenated by the Andrews family .I used to do errands for my old Gran (Mrs Lily Rogers) who lived opposite The Cabin in one the alms houses and I used to call in there to purchase her vegetables on a Saturday morning. Besides selling beer , they sold green grocery and poultry.

    By Martin sharp (18/09/2020)
  • Glynis Blakes was my sister (She was a Miss not a Mrs), and we found quite a few things in the loft, which have gone to Hertford Museum

    By Gill Wrenn (31/10/2017)
  • The Roebuck was demolished March to May 2016.  The Tap Bar is now ‘The Brewery Tap’ and The Worpell is ‘The Maltings’.

    By S Williams (01/06/2016)
  • The John Gilpin and the Cannon Tavern closed in October 2014.  The Vine is now the Snug (2015) and the Roebuck is likely to be demolished.

    By S Williams (30/10/2014)
  • This poem found in the loft at the home of Mrs. Glynis Blakes, 78 Hertingfordbury Road, Hertford, lists every public house in Ware at the end of the 1920s. It gave no indication of when it was written or by whom. Now known to have been written by John Rogers a well know shoemaker in Ware.

    By Diana Perkins for Ware Museum (21/11/2013)