THE MASONS ARMS
The old Mason’s Arms, which had been a one time brewery and a long time gathering spot for town tradesmen stood at the junction of Victoria St. and Regent St. When this building was erected Alfred St / High St. did not exist as we know it now, there was a narrow alley between the building and the one at the east end of Regent St , where the brewing vats could be seen. The Masons Arms was demolished in 1894 and ‘The Lifeboat’ Temperance Hotel was built on the site and opened in 1895.
A notice in a Burnham Gazette of 1895 indicates that the premises were at the time of sale owned by the Holt Brothers Brewery. The sale figure was £450. The license was revoked in the transaction. The article stated that “the purchasers name has not been notified”, however it is now known that it was Joseph Braithwaite.
THE EXCURSION TAVERN / ROYAL MARINE
The south west corner of High St with Adam St (No. 28 High St) is believed to have housed ‘The Royal Marine’ Tavern. The photo above, from the Glyn Luxon collection, is the only one discovered which may show this. It was described in the Thomas’s ‘Book of Burnham’ as having “innumerable small panes of glass in its windows and doors and a double sided picture sign with a ‘character’ displayed on it”. The latter is not visible above.
More recently a retrospective item in an early issue of the Burnham Gazette has come to light which refers to an even earlier notice in the then long defunct ‘Burnham Star’ newspaper. This mentions the ‘Excursion Tavern’ in Frederick Place (now western Adam St) as being run by Isaac Winter. A John Winter is shown as running the Mason’s Arms in the 1861 census which is oddly also listed as Frederick Place . The 1871 census records the Royal Marine as being run by John Winter Jnr. It therefore seems likely that The Excursion Tavern was an earlier name for The Royal Marine.
The premises were later occupied by Miles Butchers (c1902-14). The corner door was ultimately removed apparently due to the brickwork above being unsafe. The property is now occupied by West Coast estate Agents.
Sam Nash’s notes refer to an account given to him by an elderly lady who as a girl recalled an old sea-faring man who lived in what was later “Mr May’s shop” in the High St. It is likely that this was May’s Fruiterers which was at No 28 between 1935 and 1963. The notes go on to mention that Mr May had talked of ships timbers forming part of the structure. Could this be a link with the name ‘Royal Marine’?
As mentioned on the Whitbread Inn Signs collectors card below, the Lighthouse was built on the site of the Holt Brothers’ Brewery.
Above is the original sign. People may remember a subsequent sign showing a very nice but unrelated painting of the original Eddystone Lighthouse (below).
The sign is currently a painting of Burnham’s Low Lighthouse. Given the distance of the inn from the lighthouses the name might be a bit of a puzzle to those who do not know its true origin.