This fascinating photo of the Railway Arms, Green Street, Sunbury, was taken between 1905 and 1907, when Henry Farr was the licensee of the pub. A brewer’s dray, drawn by a couple of draught horses who seem to be enjoying a well-earned nosebag, is seen delivering to the pub, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers.
The beer would have been from the Mortlake Brewery of Watney, Combe, Reid & Co, who owned the Railway Arms and whose name appears on the building. They had only acquired it a few years before in 1903, when the former owner, the Knowle Green brewery of Staines, was taken over by Ashby’s, also of Staines. Godfrey’s Cottages, to the right of the pub, were demolished in the early 1960s and replaced by the present parade of shops.
The house to the left of the pub was sadly demolished by a German bomb in 1940, and its site is now the car park. To the left of the dray is a horse drawn delivery wagon, owned by the London Parcel Delivery Company. In case you that think ordering items and having them delivered to your door by courier is something new, these people were doing it a hundred years ago!
For those of you who can’t place the Railway Arms, I should explain that it was originally built in 1862 to take advantage of the expected railway line to Shepperton, due to be built though Sunbury Village, with a station in Green Street. Unfortunately for the enterprising pub owner, landowners in the area objected to the railway and would not sell their land, so instead of taking a route south of Kempton Park, the railway went north and the station was built on Sunbury Common instead.
After bearing its inappropriate name for a century, a competition was held to decide on a new name. The winner was ‘The Admiral Hawke’, after the famous sailor who lived at Hawke House on the other side of Green Street.
‘The Wey Navigation’ by David Hunt (National Trust) is the subject of the next meeting of the Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society. The meeting takes place on Tuesday 19th March at Hazelwood Centre (London Irish) off Green Street, Sunbury, starting at 8pm. All welcome, admission £2 for non-members.