A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

druid's arms

The Druids Arms, Seller Street. Reader Allen Blakeley kindly sent us the photograph on the left of the old Druid's. He tells us that "the girl on the step is my wife's grandmother, Phyllis Webb, who was born in 1900 so I guess the year is around 1905/6. Phyllis was the granddaughter of the licensee, James Moore, whose name can be clearly seen (above the door)".

Allen later wrote to tell us that, "James Moore was a beer retailer in 1906 at 5 Seller Street and was the licensee from 1914 until 1923 at the Druid's, which was located at 16 Seller Street. He was employed by the Albion Brewery Company."  Allen is keen to hear from anyone with information about the family.

druid's armsIn February 2012, Melanie Nicholson wrote to tell us, "I have an update for you on the Druid’s Arms in Seller Street. My OH’s grandmother lived there at the time she got married in 1921.

Now the the 1911 census is out, I can tell you that the Druid's was still a private house then, so Allen’s note that James Moore was the licensee from 1916 is possibly the time when the house became a pub. James was still a waggon maker for the railways in 1911 and the census lists it just as 16 Sellar Street.

I am enclosing what may appear to be a random photo for you [main photograph above]. After studying this long and hard and at various magnifications I believe it to be where the Druid's once was. The photo is certainly of the Foregate end of Seller Street. As you may know Seller Street originally came all the way down to Foregate Street, the 1908 map still shows this. It was chopped to create the Ring Road, which I now believe is called St Oswald's Way. This left the view in the photo, this was taken by my father-in-law possibly in the 1980s, showing the building work for what is now the roundabout that houses Aaron's and other offices.

If you look carefully at the photo, above the doorway to Holly's hairdressers there is a clear mark in the bricks where the licence plate would have been and immediately above a mortar mark, where I think the iron pub sign was fitted. There is another mortar mark directly above it for the other end of the sign.

I can’t think of any other explanation for this photo to be in my in-law’s collection except for the fact that it was the place where his mother was married from. As you know, Sellar Street is no more! It was flattened years ago and there is now an apartment complex there.

It was your write up on the website that actually put me in touch with Allen Blakeley. I had MIL's marriage certificate and was searching for 16 Seller Street and it came up with your website. It was much later that I found this later picture! It turns out that OH's grandmother would have been the Aunt of his wife’s Grandmother Phyllis. Phyllis's mother and her were sisters, being the eldest and youngest of 10 respectively!

Allen had already done quite a lot of research on the family and kindly gave me a lot of information that I didn’t know about. It seems like James Moore started a family trend, going into the pub trade, which only skipped our generation!

I’ve been trying to find out some history behind Seller Street. I have a feeling that the famous Witter family bought up most of the land around there and let it fall into ruin before it was redeveloped. I don’t know if they had plans for it, or were just hanging on for the right offer! It really intrigues me because a Witter turned up on one of our census records as a lodger! It would be great to find out if he was one of ‘the Witters’!

Thanks for this Melanie! We will soon be adding a photograph of the site as it appears today.

Do you have any more information about this old pub?

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