The Druids Tavern


On the 18th August, 2009, if you walked to the end of High Street near to the Arnold Leisure Centre you would see a new open patch of ground. Until the week before this was where the Druids Tavern public house stood.

Built in 1828, this public house opened in Arnold away from the many taverns that had been built and thrived on Front Street. The new building was constructed on Back Street (now called High Street) on land that had formally been open fields. The building was a simple detached two story construction built near the road leading to the old Mansfield turnpike.

There is very little known of the early years. The first licensee was Robert Bean who ran 'the Druids' for four years until W. Spreckley took over in 1832.

More detail survives of the next known landlords, the Hearsons. John Hearson was born in 1801 and by the 1841 census was a widower living in Folly Lane with his three daughters. He married his second wife Alice in 1842 and the couple had a daughter, Eliza in 1843. The family took over the Druids Tavern in 1853 but unfortunately, within a few years John died and in 1860 Alice now a 57 year-old widow took over running the Druids with their daughter Eliza.

The Hearsons gave up the licence in 1863 when it then passed to Samuel Oscroft who remained in residence for 10 years. He then took over the Butchers Arms on Front Street in 1874. The address of the Druids at this time is recorded as 25 High Street.

One of the longest running licensees was Sarah Loyn who took over from Sam Oscroft. Sarah was a widow who ran the pub with the help of a 17 year-old servant, Marie Cartwright who also helped look after Sarah’s 2 year-old granddaughter, Sarah Tweltridge. Sarah Loyn remained resident landlady until 1890 by which time she was 75 years old.

In 1897, Joseph Perkins, 51, became the new licensee. The address of the pub is now recorded as 67 High Street indicating that more of the fields were built on as the Arnold population increased.

By 1903, the Druids was owned by W.B Spencer but was operated on license by Kimberley Brewery who provided their own landlords.

Henry Stocks was in charge from February, 1903 until June, 1915 when his son James took over. In November Samuel Cottam was in charge.

In May, 1926, Kimberley Brewery bought the Druids from W.B Spencer and Walter Barker became the next landlord. He only held the license until December 1927 when Harold Hopewell took over.

By 1932, William Watson was in charge. During World War Two a Mr Robinson took over the running of the pub; the license passing from Watson in 1936.

Many other landlords passed through the Druids doors introducing many changes over the years. The address also changed again to the final one, 109 High Street as the remaining land was built on. The Druids experienced rapidly dropping custom so it was decided in 2007, after 178 years of service to close. It eventually closed its doors for the last time in 2008 and was demolished in 2009 to make way for a new police station. After the demolition the police decided that the new station project was too expensive and the ground was sold to Gedling Borough Council who built a hi-tech car park on the site.

All articles © Bob Massey

The Druids Tavern pictured in 2008 shortly before its demise.