Then and Now: The Millwright Arms, Warwick

Millwright Arms, 1890s. | Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH480/127
Millwright Arms, 1890s.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH480/127
Millwright Arms, 2015. | Photo by Benjamin Earl
Millwright Arms, 2015.
Photo by Benjamin Earl

This fine pub still exists at 69 Coten End. It is first listed as a pub in 1880 but the building is much older and is described in detail in the Victoria County History. It is “a timber framed structure of two stories and attics built circa 1600 or slightly later. The upper floor is jettied on exposed joists and the original entrance was at one end of the front wall. The framing is of square panels with diagonal struts. A lateral brick chimney stack is contemporary with the house, heating the hall at the west end and the room above. At the front of the house the roof slope probably had two dormer gables of which only the western one survives. Adjoining the inn at its east end is a lower timber framed addition of one bay.”

The St Nicholas Parish Poorhouse

Kemp1 states that this pub had been the St. Nicholas Parish Poorhouse. It closed when the Warwick Union Workhouse was established in 1838 in what was known as Union Road, now called Lakin Road. It was sold in 1851 by the local Katherine Burton’s Charity. By 1857 Thomas Davis a millwright and machinist had set up in the building and had established a beerhouse cum waiting room for his customers. A full license was granted on 31st March 1937.

Up till the 1960s there were only 13 licensees listed. After this date the names of licensees are no longer given. It is fairly rare for a pub to pass from one member of a family to another but in this case it happens three times and in one case it passes to a third member!

A humble beerhouse

When the pub was first listed it was a humble beerhouse which was the most basic classification, surprising for such a fine property. There is a little confusion around the name of this pub which I have yet to get to the bottom of. In Kemp it says “Proceeding along Coten End… picturesque timbered inn; this was formerly the poor house for St. Nicholas parish.” I assume this to be the Millwright Arms and it goes on to say “near to this was the Wheelwright’s Arms.” Kelly’s Trade Directory for 1927, 1928 and 1929 lists Henry G. Clamp at the Wheelwright’s. This must surely be the same H. Clamp listed in the other Directories so has this pub had two different names or were there once two pubs close to each other with similar names? Can anyone help with this one?

It seems that Kellys directories were confused by these pubs Their entry for Thomas Henry Payne 1908 should have applied to the Millwright Arms not the Wheelwright. Likewise Henry George Clamp was at the Millwright’s between 1923 and 1941.

Used by carriers

Once again a pub on a main road was used by carriers but surprisingly not for very long. They ran between 1907 and 1916 on Tuesdays and Saturdays (except for 1909 when they ran on Wednesdays and Saturdays) but destinations were not given. The pub is well worth a visit with two fine rooms full of old timbers and a small cosy snug at the back of the bar.

The text for this page was originally published on the History of Warwick Pubs website.


1 Kemp, Thomas. History of Warwick and its People (1905)2 Ibid, p. 205.

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