The Railway

‘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).

One of the two Public Houses named after the coming of the railway. From the Evan Strickland collection
One of the two Public Houses named after the coming of the railway.
From the Walter Strickland collection


Taken around 1910 and shows the side entrance since removed.
Taken around 1910 and shows the side entrance since removed.


Photo courtesy of Chris Rowland.

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.

Highbridge Advertiser 1940

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.

Photo courtesy of Chris Rowland.






6 thoughts on “The Railway”

  1. Hello Lorraine,
    My grandparents the Ridd’s ran the Railway Pub in the 30’s-40’s. My mother (now 95) remembers the GI’s coming into the pub in the war. I have some photos I would be happy to share and learn more about. How do I get them to you?
    Kind regards Chris Rowland

  2. Hello Lorraine,
    This is new information to the group maintaining this site. We will mention this to our Local History Group when we can restart our meetings. Thanks for sharing this with us as its only by people sharing memories that these things come to light. We have recently discovered that the Ring O Bells was originally named The Liverpool Inn. Why – we still don’t know.

  3. Talking to my Brother who is aged 90 years he said he remembers The Railway Public House as being called the Jan Rid is there any record as this being fact.

    1. Hi Lorraine.
      After checking information researched by Alan Wheway it appears that Jan Ridd was the name of the person who ran the off-license attached to The Railway in the 1930’s, also recorded as Emily J. Ridd.

    2. Does your brother remember: Alan Ridd (he was in the RAF WWll), Lorna Jean Ridd (my mother now 95). They had two half brother Doug & Jack (one was on mine sweepers in the war). Their parents were Emily and Charles Ridd who ran the pub (my grandparents).

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