Memories of The Beehive

Graham Bell

My family links with the Beehive Inn go back to 1938 when my grandparents , Jack (Harold Victor) and Lucy Turrell became the tenants of this Whitbread owned pub. They moved from a pub in the east  end of London called Ye old Three Tuns the  Picture above was taken at the time of the tenancy exchange in 1938. They were the tenants until the early /mid 1950s.  

The pub has one or two large oak beams reported to have come from wrecked Spanish galleons.                                                                                                                   

Food and snacks were sold from the kitchen window to customers in the garden.    There was a large turnover in food sales because Lucy was a very good cook. She worked very hard starting at 6am every morning. When they were filming  she supplied up to 400 meals a day to Welwyn Studios.  She also did teas for the cricket club  in a large green wooden shed to the right of the main building.   Lucy kept chickens on the garden to the right hand side of the pub and also kept a goat called Calle.

The pub was in a rural area close to Mill Green Camp which is where my Mother and Father first met. My dad had been in the Royal Air Force  since before the war, being stationed in India, Burma  and later at Biggin Hill. He was transferred to Mill Green Camp for his demob. My mother worked at Murphy Radio as an inspector.  They married in 1945  and lived with my grand parents at  the Beehive. I was born a year before the start of the National Health Service at Applecroft Maternity home at a cost of £22. 2. 0d ( I know the exact amount as my parents gave me the bill on my twenty first birthday.)

My grandparents had always had dogs at  the pub, Herbert a scruffy mongrel had a taste for beer and would drink the beer out of the slop  pots, fall  asleep and snore loudly.

As the Beehive had a large garden they had a gardener, Legge. He gave me a catapult to shoot at Crows to keep them off the Pea’s and other veg.  

When viewed from the front the Public bar was to the left and the Saloon bar was through the door to the right.

During WW2 Jack Turrell was the armourer for the home guard  and sometimes held meetings at the Pub. 

Jack used to like playing cards and played regularly with Jimmy Handley and Jimmy Sheriden whose wife Lisa made studio portraits of both my mother and grandmother.

The serving area  between the bars was also used by us to eat in.

My dad having a late lunch.

Jack enjoying a pint by the backdoor.

The garden was  the ideal location for family portraits.      

Jack and Lucy with my sister Zena and myself in the garden. 

Lucy with her sisters Daisey and Nell.

My sister and I with our dad in the Beehive garden.

Being in a rural area the pub had a few problems with an over zealous policeman.  At night he would hide in the carpark to try and catch a local poacher,  in conjunction with Jack the poacher used to keep a sack of horse manure in the beehive hedge. If Jack was heard telling the police officer to get off the pub property he would switch  sacks.

Jack had a problem after returning from a Spurs football match when he and a few friends  were enjoying a meal in the middle bar and the  policeman burst in via the backdoor. As some money for match tickets was left on the table he was charged with serving outside licensing hours. When they told the Whitbread agent about it, Whitbreads provided a Barrister to act on his behalf. The case was dismissed at Welwyn Magistrates court after the Barristers opening address.

They left the pub in the early 1950s when the rent was doubled and Whitbread wanted him to become the manager. Something they would never do having been their own bosses for all of their working lives.

This page was added on 30/12/2023.

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