A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

hare & hounds

The Hare and Hounds Tavern was remarkable for its variations of address over the years- 149 and 117 Handbridge, Old Wrexham Road and 51 & 81 Overleigh Road. The landlord in 1781 was John Morgan, in 1818-28 Edward Phillips, in 1840 Thomas Jones, in 1850 Edward Neild, in 1857 T Jones, in 1880 Edward Blacow.

In July 2012, Graham Whitley wrote to tell us that "the census of 1881 shows my great grandfather William Whitley, aged 44, living at the Hare and Hounds as Innkeeper, with his wife Jane 44 and four children, Charles 13, my grandfather Albert Edward 9, Sarah 6 and William 4. I was delighted to meet the current owners recently and the building has been beautifully renovated".

Apart from the smart coat of paint, the only external alteration is that the front door has been moved slightly to the right, where the hanging basket now is.

We're grateful to Graham and his wife Linda for the information and also for contributing the modern photographs on this page.

hare and hounds 1950
The old inns in 1950

The licencee in 1902 was Thomas Edward Griffith, and from 1910 to its closure, when the licence was withdrawn in 1922, John Hanmer. He was the brother of William Hanmer, landlord of the Duke of Wellington.

The white house next door to the old Hare & Hounds in our lower photograph was once The King's Arms, whose landlord in 1818-28 was James Murphy, in 1840 Daniel Davies, in 1871 Hiam Ives, in 1880 Thomas P Garrett, in 1902 Mrs Betsy Speed, in 1910 Joseph Speed. The Speed Family were licencees for the last 30 years of its existence. It closed in 1922 (this seems to have been a year of mass extinction for Handbridge pubs).

Around 1902, licencing magistrates were empowered to close premises which they regarded as redundant and the Handbridge committee proposed to do just that to the two adjoining old pubs in Old Wrexham Road. To save her business, Mrs Speed, the landlady of the King's Arms, engaged a Birkenhead solicitor who had a reputation for winning similar cases. He succeeded here too, enabling the King's to remain open for another couple of decades until once again, it was declared redundant. This time the landlady declined to contest the decision. When asked why, she replied that she was unwilling to trust anyone but her former advocate but had been unable to engage his services- which was hardly surprising, as he had since been elevated to the title of Lord Birkenhead, the Lord Chancellor.

hare & hounds 2

Do you have any more information about this old pub?

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