The Crown Inn

The Crown was located in Oxford Street between Princess Street and College Street and  was originally a Beer House, which meant that it was not licenced to sell wines or spirits. It was clearly an old building, it appears on the 1843 Tithe Map and originally sported a thatched roof (W & R Thomas).

The notice below from the press in February 1877 indicates that it was previously known as the ‘Market House Inn’, no doubt due to its proximity to the market in Princess St.

In a retrospective article by Ivor Punnett  in The Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News in 1992, Mrs Nellie Munro (95), landlady for 21 years from 1934, recalled:

“Our best beer was 7d a pint and it was always drawn from the wood. It was so good in those days we were one of the most popular pubs in Burnham.” She went on to say “My husband [George aka Alex]  used to work as a police driving instructor in London and when we came to Burnham on holiday we liked it so much we decided to move here. He found a pub through the Bridgwater firm  of Starkey, Knight and Ford, but at the time I was certainly not keen on going into the trade. I wouldn’t have minded a shop but I knew a pub was a seven day a week job which meant lots of hard work. [when they moved in]  It was in a dreadful state, it needed decorating and was very dirty. The first thing we did I remember was to throw out all the spittoons. There was a lead sink in the bar and the bath was as brown as mahogany. There used to be a forge in the yard run by Henry Welland and farmers would come from miles around to have their horses shod. One farmer came every Friday from Lympsham and I bought many hundreds of eggs from him which I used to pickle for bar snacks.. We also had a weekly produce market in the skittle alley and  that was run by Andrew Brown, a local auctioneer. And every Friday a woman came over from Bristol and sold fish.”

Mrs Munro also recalled how she used to supply all her customers with mince pies on Christmas day and hot cross buns on Good Friday.

The article goes on to say that the pub had two skittles team and a darts team, and once the latter played a telephone match with a team in Yeovil. On that occasion the M.C was well known local playwright Ben Travers.

During the WWII, with beer rationing, the pub had to close on two days a week to eke out its supplies.

“But the biggest change of all was when the Americans arrived. Oh, they certainly made things hum in the town. They were very good customers and they were also very well behaved. They liked whisky of course, but when that was in short supply they would drink a pint of beer, half draught and half bottled to give it a fizz. Of course there was jealousy with our servicemen because the Americans were paid much more, but that wasn’t their fault and they were good people.”

The Crown Inn was located in Oxford Street and demolished in 2007.
Image kindly provided by Mike & Eileen Long
Image kindly provided by Mike & Eileen Long
Image kindly provided by Mike & Eileen Long
Above: Crown Skittles Team presentation, date unknown. Photo courtesy of Ann Popham.

The photo of the team below appears to be later, possibly 1970s. We have some of the names  of people in this picture: Trevor Beatty; Jack Sheppard; Jack White; John Stone; Dusty Miller; Jack Manley and Phillip Nicholls. Can you help us identify the others?

The Crown was demolished in 2007 and the site used for the building of Crown Gardens Flats.

Image kindly provided by Mike & Eileen Long
Image kindly provided by Mike & Eileen Long

3 thoughts on “The Crown Inn”

  1. We lived in Kingsway Road for a while, one block away from the Crown, and my father used to pop in for the odd pint. When my sister and I were young before we lived in Kingway he occasionally took us there (they had a children’s room). One day in about 1954 I asked him why they had a sign saying “NO GYPSIES SERVED HERE” and he explained that it was because gypsies didn’t always eat regularly, and drinking on empty stomach could lead to unruly behaviour. The landlord had two sons, one of whom became a farmer. The other got his car stuck on Burnham beach once and had to call his farmer brother to come with his tractor and pull him out. The farmer gave his brother quite a lot of free advice on this occasion, much of it in very colourful language, interspersed with questions like “How long have you lived in Burnham, anyway?”

  2. My parents owned a caravan on Lakeside Caravan Park in Westfield Rd. Our neighbours in Birmingham owned the caravan next door to us, and we had many fantastic holidays in Burnham. Our parents loved to go for a drink in The Crown, and I Am sure that there was a family room on the right hand side as you faced the pub. My father always drank in the bar on the other side. I hope my memory is not deceiving me. Such happy days.

    1. Thank you Ray for sharing your memories of this building. I hope one of our readers will add to your comment.

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