‘The Railway’ was at one time known as ‘Liley’s Railway Hotel’, however, the innkeeper recorded in the 1861 census is James Hallett. This record, together with what we know about the chronological development of the town centre, indicates that ‘The Railway’ was probably built not that long after the opening of the Somerset & Dorset Railway’s Burnham spur. It therefore probably predates the Somerset and Dorset pub.
It was possibly the first building on the large plot of land known as ‘Barley Pen’ which lay between Alfred St (High St) and Oxford St, to the south of Victoria St (Tithe map 1843).
Following comments on this page, and correspondence, it has been established that Charles and Emily J. Ridd ran the Railway pub and neighbouring off-license between the wars. Charles also worked at Holt’s Brewery. Chris Rowland, their grandson, has sent us these photos and information. The picture above shows a local Hunt in front of the Railway. The wine shop can be clearly seen next door with the name E.J. Ridd over the door.
Below is the Ridd family taken in 1932. Jack Ridd, at back left with dog, served on minesweepers in WWII as Commander D. Tatton Ridd. Back middle is Vera Ridd (who died of T.B.) and at right her husband Doug Ridd. He participated in a local carnival wearing a grass skirt, which caught fire causing him serious burns and preventing him serving in WWII. Front centre are Charles and Emily with children Lorna at left (Chris’s mother) and Alan, right. Alan later flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the war. Lorna recalls that her mother described the pub as very smoky and had to work very hard running the bar.