Littlehampton pub’s past life as The Beehive revealed

The Crown Inn in High Street, Littlehampton (Picture: Google Maps)
The Crown Inn in High Street, Littlehampton (Picture: Google Maps)

Sometime in 2016 I came across a transcript of the trial of George Bransbury, of Littlehampton, who was charged with fraud in 1870.

During the trial a premises called ‘The Beehive’ was referred to on a number of occasions.

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Having never heard of this place before I decided to investigate and try to ascertain its purpose and location.

The transcript refers to a location ‘on one corner of the lane running into the High Street’, opposite Bransbury’s property.

The lane had to be St Martins Lane as there is no other lane which joins the High Street.

According to the 1871 census Bransbury lived at 44 High Street, Littlehampton, and there was an inn at number 45.

This inn must have been the Beehive.

Research confirmed this location as a newspaper report of 1865 stated that the Beehive was opposite the Dolphin.

In 1841 James Tupper was co-occupier of the land upon which the Beehive was to be built.

Being a builder himself, it would have made good business sense to develop land in the centre of the High Street.

The land was owned by the Duke of Norfolk and the other occupier was a Mrs Hoyland.

The property was described as a house, garden and cottage etc.

It was known as plot 145, situated on the southwest corner of St Martins Lane.

By 1857, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette of December 24 of that year, James Tupper had obviously worked hard and had been able to purchase the land and build a ‘half size’ brewery, complete with cellars and coolers.

There was also accommodation and, of course, the bar.

In 1859 ‘The Beehive’, as it was now called, had been taken over by George Turner.

The name Beehive was quite a popular name for pubs and inns around this period.

From 1861 until c1871 The Beehive was being run by Richard White, from Yapton, with his wife Isabella, from Wolverhampton.

She died aged 47 on August 8, 1866, as reported in the Chichester Express and West Sussex Journal on Tuesday, August 14, 1866.

In 1871 the publican was Walter Charles Stares, from Titchfield, Hampshire, who ran it with his wife Eliza, from Angmering.

The Beehive soon became known as ‘The Crown Inn’ with Walter Holman listed as landlord in 1874.

• I am extremely grateful to Hilary Greenwood as without her research and support, this document would not have been possible.

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