Memories of the Hit or Miss Pub, Bedworth

Road repairs in Bedworth showing a road roller at work. 1950s [The roadworks were being carried out in Chapel Street(formerly Hob Lane)where it is said there were ghosts because it was marshy at the bottom and the methane from the marsh produced wierd effects.The Hit and Miss pub is on the right of the picture][The Ghost was that of Polly Pinket, murdered(don't know why), who worked at the Hit or Miss. After her demise haunted the Hit & Miss Public House. The Hit & Miss had 33 bedrooms, a Ballroom with stage, a cocktails room, a Snug and the ordinary bar. Larry Grayson (Billy Breen) played the piano in the Bar to entertain the customers at the weekend on a regular basis.]
IMAGE LOCATION: (Bedworth Library)
Reference: Bedworth Library, 375, img: 4035
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I lived at the Hit or Miss pub for a great many years, beginning 1955.

The archway was the entrance to the ‘yard’ at the rear of the pub. It was steeply inclined and it is said that it was used by stage coaches. I’m not sure about that. While there were many upstairs rooms, very few of them were actually bedrooms. For example, the top floor, where I played as a child had a series of room-like areas, all of them with two openings.  You had to pass through every ‘room’ to reach the next.  There were never any doors. If there had been, they would have been very wide indeed. Above that was an attic accessed through a very small hatch.

Ballrooms and cocktail rooms

The next floor down originally had a ballroom, a living room with access to a flat roof over the pub toilets, the “front’ room and a bathroom.  While I lived there my dad had the ballroom converted into bedrooms with their own corridor.  That meant that that floor had two corridors running alongside one another.  As with the cocktail room (that was never used) that conversion was done by a Mr Powel who was the local butcher with premises next door to the off-licence part of the pub along Leicester Street towards a factory referred to as Clear Hooters.

The ‘cocktail’ room was an empty store room for beer crates prior to Mr Powel building a bar for my father.  However Mr Powel fell through the floor in that room because the floor boards and beams were rotten.  I believe he required hospital treatment.  The room was eventually finished but was never put into use because access to it was through the private area.  There was one gathering for invited guests but after that it was kept closed for the remainder of the time we lived there.

Famous visitors

Billy Breen [an early stage name of Larry Grayson] never played the piano at that pub.  He did play the piano at the Rose in Nuneaton, not far from where he lived, which was also managed by my parents. Billy Breen remained a friend of the family and during the time he appeared in Crossroads he occasionally brought the entire cast to my parents’ next pub, The Bull, in Exhall.  On one occasion he had Danny La Rue accompany him to the Bull.  Unfortunately the locals, being of a certain type, took offence to their presence. That was the last time we saw Billy although I did meet with him many years later. During the time he played the Piano at the Rose for my dad, he was also my baby-sitter.

The picture is Chapel St.  Hob Lane I believe was a side road towards the bottom of the hill opposite a set of flats.

Polly Pinket, I was told, lived in one of the tied cottages in Chapel St.  I believe she was a cleaner at the pub and also worked in the cellar where there were several large areas built into one of the walls where it was thought bread was baked  (not in my time there). There was an opening around the bend in that cellar where smoke could have got out but I’m sure it would not have been very practical.  In the cellar there was also a small stream that ran in a depression in the stone floor. It ran from the direction of Chapel Street towards Nuneaton and then around the bend so that it ran parallel to Chapel Street. It disappeared through a small opening in the wall at the end of the cellar. Quite a large family of frogs lived in the cellar.

Ghostly occurrences

I was present when certain strange occurrences occurred (frightened the life out of me) – those occurrences were reported in a local newspaper…I have a copy somewhere.  Those events were attributed to the ghost of Polly Pinket. Basically, items on a shelf in the bathroom suddenly took off and fell to the floor. There were other incidents that I did not witness.

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