Memories of Welwyn Garden City in the 1950s and 1960s

The Woodman Public House

By Ted Hewitt

The Woodman
Welwyn Garden City Library

The Woodman pub in Cole Green Lane was quite big.  Although it had some small bars, it had one enormous bar in which there were rows and rows of long tables, with bench seats down each side of the tables. On a Saturday evening there would be over 100 people in the bar. This large bar was a relic from the war years when there was a camp at Mill Green, and The Woodman was popular with the soldiers!  

With the permission of the Landlord, the ‘Sally- Ann’ (Salvation Army) personnel on a Saturday evening used to work their way around the tables with their ‘tin’ and their ‘war cry’ papers!  Often the Sally-Ann lasses were requested to sing ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ hymn. The pub was later modernised into smaller, more intimate bars and its name changed to The Chieftain.  Eventually the owners decided to close it, and flatten the whole site!

This page was added on 06/07/2009.

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  • My parents rented a room in cottages (now pulled down) not far from the Woodman pub. They were then given a council house in Cole Green Lane and l
    was born in 1953. My sister and l used to buy crisps and bottles of pop from the little window at the side of the pub at the weekends. When we became older
    we did not drink in the Woodman, we thought the Beehive was the place to be.

    By Denise Chadwick (28/01/2021)
  • remember it all very well my parents run the hollybush pub when it was built

    By john parker (18/02/2019)
  • Our family lived in Cole Green Lane…in which the Woodman sits…and then Ludwick Way around the corner from the Woodman, so this was my Dad’s local. It had a Welsh bar…in which my Dad being Welsh, felt very much at home …..and a Scottish bar and an Irish bar to accommodate all the builders that had come to help build WGC from all over the UK. We moved to Ludwick Way when I was five but I remember when living in Cole green Lane there was a field next to the Woodman with horses in which my older sister and I used to go to see. None of the regulars ever accepted the change of name to the Chieftan…it was always their beloved Woodman ! It’s interesting to note from the maps that the spot was previously the home of a Woodman !

    By Christine Winnan (28/01/2019)
  • We spent our Sunday evenings at the Woodman, where Dad used to socialize with his friends and Mum her bridge group. When I was small, Mum used to stay at home with me but have her bridge group play at our house. Children weren’t allowed in pubs in those days, so my mum used to buy me a packet of crisps and went off to play bridge. There were no official drinking age laws, but it was considered fine to purchase and consume alcohol at 15 years old, the school leaving age at the time. In 1973, a government-passed policy (not an act) set the legal drinking age to 17 years old. Once I reached 15, I used to sit indoors with my dad and socialize with his mates. We kept a busy social life then, despite the fact we had no means of getting around other than by public transport, bicycle or walking.  

    By George Boston (18/09/2015)
  • The Camp at Mill Green was RAF Mill Green, see article in the Wartime section.

    By Robert Gill (24/09/2013)
  • I used to drink in the Woodman. I lived in Broadwater Road and went to Howard school.

    By Tony Richmond (18/09/2013)
  • I’ve always called this pub The Woodman even though the name of the pub was changed to The Chieftain in 1978. I can still recall a school friend and myself back in the late 1960s & early 1970s taking the empty lemonade bottles back to this pub and the Ludwick Arms (in Hall Grove) as well and claiming the few pence money on the returned empty bottles at the off-license part of the pub and then buying Arrowroot biscuits & crips in return.

    By Michael S (11/12/2012)