Trevor lifts the lid on Honiton's pub history

PUBLISHED: 12:36 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 00:05 16 June 2010

Trevor Hitchcock.

Trevor Hitchcock.

IN 1913 Honiton s police superintendent complained there were too many pubs in the town. In fact, there were so many there was one for every 145 inhabitants and 11 of them were within 120 yards of New Street corner.

IN 1913 Honiton's police superintendent complained there were too many pubs in the town.

In fact, there were so many there was one for every 145 inhabitants and 11 of them were within 120 yards of New Street corner.

But that's not the highest number of pubs recorded in the town. As research conducted for a new book reveals, there was once a pub for every 75 residents!

Author Trevor Hitchcock, 70, has penned Honiton Inns, his third book about Honiton.

The retired engineering manager of the former Ottermill Switchgear is a volunteer at Allhallows Museum, in Honiton, and has a keen interest in local history.

"We had a list of pubs at the museum that the late Les Ackland and Ralph Pope added to. Then Dennis Cooper came along and added some more," said Mr Hitchcock.

"We had a request for a book about Honiton inns from Alan Beckett, of Ringwood. We sent him the list and he responded by sending us £10 and a note saying he hoped we could put it towards starting a book. That's how it started."

Honiton Inns was to be Mr Hitchcock's second book, but ended up being the third when he diverted his attentions to a book about Pat Perryman's 40 years as a lace maker.

"The number of inns in Honiton today is not quite the lowest it's ever been, but almost," he said.

"Honiton was a natural stopping off point for people travelling with horses. Lots of the inns were very, very small. The largest was the former Golden Lion, which is now Manor House."

Many of Honiton's former pubs were closed down for being disorderly houses.

Mr Hitchcock said: "My research was complicated because so many of them changed their names - some, which kept their names, moved to different premises."

Honiton Inns, which lists 112 pubs and two temperance hotels, will go on sale on September 12, when a free open morning is being staged at Allhallows Museum to mark the book's launch.

The illustrated book, which includes photographs dating back to 1852, will be available from the museum gift shop priced £5. Proceeds will go to the museum.

The cover of the book depicts a painting of a fictitious inn, similar to The Volunteer, crafted by museum member Brigitte Flammant, of France.


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