Pub Histories: The Melbourne, Wallington

A vintage photo of an old building

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Wallington Bridge and Station from the north (the stand of trees to the left, stood in front of The Melbourne.)

The London, Brighton & South Coast (LBSC) Railway opened Carshalton Station on May 10th 1847 – part of the new line from Croydon to Epsom. Its position, though, was a mile to the south-east of Carshalton, so in 1868 it was renamed Wallington.

The land on which the Melbourne Hotel was built has a convoluted ownership history because it was leased for a 500-year term (at a peppercorn rent) by Sir Nicholas Carew in 1684. 

The most likely scenario for the Melbourne’s construction dates it to 1850 on the initiative of Edmund Batley Beynon. He was a J.P. and rector of St. Leonards in Chelsham. The name chosen derived from Lord Melbourne, who died in 1848. He was a favourite P.M. of Queen Victoria and also known as the cuckolded husband of Lady Caroline Lamb who famously portrayed Lord Byron, with whom she had an affair, as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”.

More certainly, by 1855 the Melbourne had been built and sub-leased to James a.k.a. Thomas Pellett. The lease included the land with inn, stables, coach-houses and outbuildings. He and his wife Sophia moved there from the Black Horse in Reigate Heath. An incident in 1856 following Thomas’ cab ride from Croydon to Wallington ended in court when his refusal to pay above the normal 3s for an after-midnight fare led to a scuffle causing damage to a coat and a glass pane.

Also in 1856, Edwin Winder purchased a 300 year lease for the Melbourne. At that time it was described as having “good Coffee and Club and Sitting-rooms, and every convenience for doing a first-class business, together with good stabling, coach-house and everything complete”. Three neighbouring villas to the north, and land to build one more were included in the sale. 

Edwin became instrumental in the rise of music hall. The Mogul Tavern, where he lived, was converted into Middlesex Music Hall and he subsequently took over the White Lion on Edgware Road to create the Metropolitan Music Hall

In 1858, when the Pelletts emigrated (to Melbourne, Australia, of course), Winder took over the license, though I expect that running the hotel was not his long-term intention. The name of the pub was then referred to as the “Railway Hotel, Carshalton”, but I think that is most likely a colloquialism, rather than a genuine name change. The road name at that point had evolved from The Hollow Way to Hollow Road to Station Road and High Road, before finally settling on Manor Road.

The Melbourne Hotel and villas on Station/Manor Road c. 1875-80

By 1860 Robert and Harriet Triphook were running the hotel – they had three lodgers at census time (1861). Subsequent censuses recorded only family and servants, so the hotel business seems to have soon dropped away. In 1881 one of the servants’ families was living in rooms above the stables. The Triphooks were successfully sued by a 16-year old former servant, Sarah Street, when they refused to pay her for the 26-days work she had done for them (at 4s per week), following a dispute.

Thomas and Caroline Ovenden were there in the mid-1860s. Caroline accused Mary Page of stealing “two night dresses, one white petticoat and one white sleeve” in 1864, which was admitted. The Ovendens went to the Tigers Head in Lee and, later, The Cricketers in Addington.

From 1866, Henry and Mary Ann Jones, who had been at The Fox in Camberwell, ran the pub for at least five years. 

Devereux Horatio Whiting (great name!) was newly widowed when he came there in the mid-1870’s from Middle Wood in Shropshire. While residing at the Melbourne, he married Ellen Clarke in February 1877 at Holy Trinity in Wallington, which had been built only ten years earlier.

In 1882 Edwin Winder established a trust for his daughter Elizabeth, such that she should receive the net rents and profits from the Melbourne. She had married her cousin Erastus Winder in 1880 (a practise that was more common and accepted in the 19th century than subsequently). A forty year lease on the pub was offered for auction in 1883, described as ”good profitable trade with a palace-like home … with extensive stabling and garden”, together with this hyperbole: “It would be impossible to find a better positioned, constructed, or more pleasing property in the whole of Surrey. The trade is large, easily-worked, and done at LARGE PROFITS”. Erastus Winder became the owner of the pub and the four neighbouring houses subsequently. They lived at one of these – Gloucester Villa – on Manor Road. 

The 1880s were a decade of short-lived tenancies. Until 1881 it was James Bowyer (previously at The Lord Nelson in Sutton). George Henry Salmon from the Duke of Kent in Greenwich was there until 1884. James Edward Betts had been there less than two years when he died, aged 52, leaving a widow, Eliza Sarah. Then Charles William Nicoll from The Princess Alexandra Hotel in West Ham from 1888, but he retired the next year.

George Gibson and William Randall’s (1885) pub crawl, funded by home-made florins, came to an end at The Melbourne. (They had started at The Coach and Horses, but Emily Duff and friend had made themselves scarce at the Fox and Hounds.) They met up with William’s brother Edward Randall who offered a florin in exchange for a pot of beer. The barman broke it in half and returned it, so Gibson had to pay for the beer with good money. After their arrest, Gibson was identified as having the alias John Singleton, as who he had previously been convicted of housebreaking and larceny. 

Alfred and Sophia Ware from 1889 for ten years ran the pub with assistance from Sophia’s two unmarried sisters, Margaret and Eliza Leggett, who also lived there. 

Erastus and Elizabeth Winder moved to Canterbury in 1893 and in 1897 Alfred Ware acquired the lease from the Winders. This seems to have triggered a substantial investment in the building, although it was William Carpenter Hall (from the Crown Hotel, Willesden) who was the owner on the plans first submitted in 1898. These involved a ground floor extension to the front, allowing the addition of a private bar between the public and saloon bars. This was implemented with a grander façade than before, featuring granite columns and Corinthian capitals. Also included was a two-storey extension along Melbourne Road, and a larger two-table billiard room replacing the bagatelle room. 

Pub check tokens such as those above were likely used in the connection with the pub games of the era. The landlord would probably receive something like 8d for the use of a table. The games were typically played for the next round, and the tokens may have been used as prizes in lieu of a pint or a half. It is possible they were sold as a workaround for the strict gaming laws.

The Wares had moved on to The Woolpack Inn in Banstead, so William and Florence Holland were in charge at the Melbourne for the first half of the 1900’s. As well as their three daughters there were two other live-in staff. After them, Edwin Harrison Davy and his wife Alice Mary Trace Davy took over. They had four live-in staff. Edwin died in November 1911, aged only 42, and Alice took over running the hotel. 

The Melbourne Hotel c. 1910

By the First World War, commercial uses had overtaken the neighbouring houses to the north of the pub. There was a bank, a dental surgery, a milliner’s and a “music warehouse”.

In 1915 the hotel was sold again to Frederick Hazell and after his death in 1924 by his widow Winifred to Hoare & Co, the brewers, who were later acquired by Charrington & Co.

James Ernest Johnson helped his brother run the Mitre Hotel in Tooting and among their staff were two sisters (barmaids), Caroline and Violet Parker. Their mother, Clara, was proprietor at The Plough in Beddington. Violet married Fred Ford in 1915 and they ran The Windmill in Stafford Road for many years. In April 1920, James married Caroline and they moved to the Melbourne Hotel to run it together. In July of the following year, however, James died aged only 36. Caroline ran the pub for nearly forty years until her death in 1959. 

When newly widowed, she was assisted by her brother Horace, until he left to run the Dukes Head. For the last decade she was joined by her youngest sister, Ivy. She was also widowed by then, having run the Packhorse & Talbot in Chiswick with her husband Charles Brooke, until his death in 1948. So all three of the Parker sisters ran pubs, matching their three brothers!

Thomas and Kitty Goldsmith were the proprietors throughout the 1960’s. In the late 1970’s the pub achieved notoriety through being frequented (the public bar particularly) by some of the more pugnacious Crystal Palace supporters. Around the turn of the decade, an attempt by the landlord (Gordon O’Brien) to bar a couple of the regulars over use of the pool table, prompted a retaliation whereby they had some friends in the building trade brick up the front door in the early hours. This amusing story was widely circulated locally and made the national Sunday papers.

Between 2004 and 2011 it was operated as part of the O’Neill’s Irish pub chain. It returned to using the Melbourne name for a while but from 2017 changed its name again and is now known as The Star

The Melbourne 1954

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