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135 Bath Road (formerly The Fountain Inn)
The Cheltenham Examiner of 27th September 1843 reported that Mr Bullock of the Fountain Inn, in Bath Road, had a prize sow pig measuring 9 feet long and 3 feet 10 inches high. It must have been a sight!
During the 1880s the licensee here was Martha Hoatson, the Yorkshire born wife of Alexander Hoatson, a retired accountant.
In September 1893 Charles Jordan was fined 5 shillings (25p) for leaving his horse and cart unattended outside the pub for the space of half an hour. This was deemed an act of carelessness, presumably because the horse might have bolted and been a traffic hazard. It seems however that this particular horse was quite content to be left standing here at the kerb!
The owners of the Fountain Inn were the Stroud brewers Godsell and Sons and they were licensed to sell only ale. The licensee around the turn of the twentieth century was Mr Frank Young, assisted by his wife Harriet. She had previously been married to Mr George Child, also a publican. Frank and Harriet stayed at the Fountain until 1907 when they moved further up the Bath Road to the Five Alls.
Early in 1907 the next licensees Mr George Washington Standen and his new wife Elfrida took over. George had previously had a good position as a huntsman with the Romney Marsh Harriers and Elfrida had been chief waitress at the New Inn at Gloucester. Both George and Elfrida had pooled their savings to invest in the Fountain Inn. Life was quite hard as a landlord and care had to be taken when serving customers. To supply drink to a drunken person or to permit drunkenness on licensed premises could result in the landlord being turned out by the owners of the house.
Both of these charges were brought against George in the autumn of 1907. On the day in question George was in bed with a severe cold and Elfrida was left to manage the bar alone. Just after mid-day she left the bar to prepare some gruel for her sick husband and when she returned, she found the alleged drunken person in the bar about to eat the food that he had brought with him. Elfrida served him with a pint of beer and he appeared sober enough to walk up to the bar and collect it and return to his table. Elfrida then left the bar to fetch some refreshment for herself and it was some time later that she heard a noise coming from the bar. She quickly returned to find two police officers there, accusing the person of drunkenness. The officers then escorted him to the police station. Despite the fact that there were many more witnesses claiming he was sober compared to those stating he was drunk, the case was proved against the Standens and they were fined £2 and costs for permitting drunkenness and £1 and costs for supplying a drunken person.
Over the next decade or so other landlords here fell foul of the law for permitting drunkenness with the fines ranging from 10/- (50p) to £2. The last licensee at the Fountain Inn was Harry Braint, here after the First World War until the licence expired in August 1930.
After refurbishment these premises became shared between the Bath Road branch of Modern Radio and the Magneto Service Company. The latter company was a firm of electrical engineers specialising in car electrics. They had gone by 1935 and Modern Radio followed a year or so later.
For the next dozen years this was the ‘joke-shop’ of Frank Edward Gerrard and his wife, Molly. A dark little shop, all sorts of jokes, false wigs and props could be bought here – when it was open! Opening hours fitted around Frank’s conjuring business, where he was known as Professor Bovey. Both he and Molly were colourful characters and dressed in gaudy Chinese costumes. They gave amazing displays of magical tricks and illusions and were regular entertainers at the Eversfield Pleasure Grounds at Bishop’s Cleeve for many years.
By 1950 the property had been acquired by the tailor, Mr George Barrett, who by the end of the decade had leased this part to Mrs Lilian Garthwaite to sell ladies lingerie.
In 1963 these premises, along with the adjoining one, were sold to the supermarket Fine Fare. It was opened on May 22nd 1963 by the television personality Katie Boyle. She was assisted by the popular Dagenham Girl Pipers who marched along the Bath Road prior to Miss Boyle cutting the ribbon to open the new store. It has continued to be run as a supermarket, in recent years trading as Gateway, Somerfield, Spar and since 2010, as Sainsbury's.
137 Bath Road (formerly 4 Northwick Place)
This was also known as Marlborough cottage and was the home and business of Samuel Henry Phipps. It was one of many properties in this area owned by him. Samuel was a ‘hosier, hatter and shirtmaker’ and was born in Cheltenham in 1852. The Phipps family had lived in this part of Bath Road for many years and had owned and run the Fountain Inn back in the 19th century. Elizabeth, his wife had also lived locally, she being the daughter of Jethro Butt, a bootmaker of Great Norwood Street. Samuel and Elizabeth had two sons, Walter Glover and Samuel Henry. After Samuel’s death in the summer of 1902 his widow continued for a while and then moved to Langdon Road with her spinster sister, Sarah Jane Butt and her son, Walter. She remained here until her death in 1927.
In 1906, the business was bought by Mr C Barrett, tailor and outfitter. By the early 1920s it was run by his son George who earned a reputation as a first class tailor. He was described as a real gentleman and used to begin his day stood in the doorway of his shop wishing all the passers-by a good morning!
George preached at the Pilley Chapel and ran Pilley Boys Club for many years. He was also a Scout Commisioner and scout uniforms could be purchased from his shop. He always had plenty in stock of all sizes. During the 1950s Barretts took over the adjoining premises (135 Bath Road) and leased that part to Mrs Garthwaite (see 3 Northwick Place).
In 1963 Mr Barrett sold these premises to Fine Fare, who redeveloped the site and opened a supermarket here later that year. Barrett's then relocated to 53 Great Norwood Street. This Bath Road property is now part of Sainsburys.
Researcher: Marilyn West.
Updated: Stuart Manton (Dec 2016)
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