Hoole Road - South Side

Lightfoot Street to the Shell Garage

The Lord of the Manor, the Earl of Shrewsbury, owned this land and on the 1789 plan of his Estates, the western part (No.3) was rented to Edward Ommanney Wrench the owner of Dee Mills which burnt down in 1789. Ommanney Wrench was a Lt. Colonel in the Royal Chester Regiment of Local Militia and there is a large memorial to him in Chester Cathedral. The eastern part (No.4) was rented to the Artingstall family, who ran the Ermine Hotel. John Lightfoot (1758 to 1832) married Mary, the widow of John Artingstall, the Landlord, in 1783. He then became the Landlord from 1786 to 1818. John Lightfoot eventually owned a number of properties in Flookersbrook, and must have acquired this land from the Earl of Shrewsbury. Following John Lighfoot’s death in 1832, research suggests that the land rightfully belonged to his Trustees, although the Tithe Map Records (c.1839) show the land to be in the ownership of his son in law, Thomas Walker.

The prominent property on the land rented by Edward Ommanney Wrench was the western facing Ashtree House which was set in extensive grounds. William Williams who ran the Flookersbrook Tanyard for Thomas Walker was also his tenant at Ashtree House. After his death in 1860 his wife continued to live there. However, by 1878, Ashtree House had become a Ladies School run by Mrs. Thomas whose husband, Thomas Lloyd Thomas was a newspaper reporter. When Tomlinson Street was built in the 1880’s the house was demolished.

The earliest record of a licensed premises appears in an 1857 Directory. The 1861 Census lists the Globe Tavern run by Robert Hand, who was described as a “railway servant and beerhouse keeper”. An application for a fuller licence in 1884 revealed that The Globe had been replaced by a new hotel called The Beehive. This was owned by Thomas Henry William Walker, an architect from Liverpool. Together in partnership with his brother, John Lightfoot Walker, he also owned the Lion Brewery in Pepper Street, Chester. They were the great grandsons of John Lightfoot and the grandsons of Thomas Walker. Refusal for the fuller licence resulted in a fresh application in 1886 which described The Beehive as “picturesque and pretty and having 8 bedrooms and stabling for four horses”.

During the application, it was revealed that T.H.W. Walker was the owner of land on either side of The Beehive. As an architect, he probably designed the new hotel and the houses built on either side (the terrace to the west was named Brookside Villas to the east was Hawthorne Villas). The application was again refused apparently on a technicality, but opposition from The Ermine and from the abstinence movement no doubt played a large part in the decision.

A chronology of events:

Between 1876 and 1885 newspaper adverts for The Lion Brewery show G.F. Clough as the proprietor, but in an 1882 advert John Lightfoot Walker appears as Managing Partner.

September 1884 - Licensing Sessions Chester Castle. Application made for full licence for The Beehive. Mr Thomas Walker, Architect, Liverpool the owner – refused.

August 1885 - Public Notice. T. H. W. Walker, J. L. Walker & G. F. Clough dissolved their partnership in The Lion Brewery – G. F. Clough withdrawing.

May 1886 - Hoole Local Board Minutes. Plans of houses to be erected by Mr Walker on the corner of Lightfoot Street but facing the main (Hoole) road were approved.

September 1886 - Licensing Sessions Chester Castle. Re-application made for full licence. "A former beerhouse has been rebuilt as a small hotel in the semi-rural district of Flookersbrook ... the house was picturesque and pretty having eight bedrooms ... stabling for four horses had been built". "The owner had bought adjoining property and was building on it five houses ... on the other side a similar number of houses had already been built".

September 1886 - Flookersbrook Improvement Bill. Plan shows "Five houses being built".

December 1888 - Liverpool Mercury. Partnership in The Lion Brewery dissolved - T. H. W. Walker retired.

August 1890 - Change of Licence Application for The Beehive. "T. H. W. Walker, 39 Kelvin Grove, Prince's Park, Liverpool is the owner and J. L. Walker of The Lion Brewery is the Lessee"

July 1893 - John Lightfoot Walker sells The Lion Brewery to Thomas Montgomery.

The name “The Beehive” first appears in 1869 when the Innkeeper was William Smith.  It was Albert Bailey, the Landlord in 1884, who first applied for a full licence. Over the next 30 years there were to be 9 different Licensees. T.H.W. Walker withdrew from his Lion Brewery partnership in 1888 and his brother sold the business to Thomas Montgomery in 1893. The Lion Brewery continued to supply the beer until it was taken over by Bents Brewery in 1903.


List of Landlords at The Beehive:

(Periods of Tenure based on recorded incidents and not always exclusive)

1857 to 1864   Robert Hand (The Globe Inn)

1869 to 1881   William Smith

1883 to 1886   Albert Bailey

1887               Miss Ann Powell married to become Mrs. Evans

1888               Charles Hampson

1889 to 1891   Samuel Blount Jackson

1892 to 1896   W.J. Armstrong

1897 to 1899   Christopher Mulligan

1900               Sarah Ann Watts

1902               James Ernest Galt

1903 to 1906   William Arthur Farmerey (wife died mysterious death from strychnine)

1911               John Charles Grimes

1914 to 1939   George Albert Jones

1940               Alan James Earle 

1940 to 1942   Martha Florence Earl

1952               William Ross

The 1891 Licensing Register shows that The Beehive had “6 beds for travellers and accommodation for supplying refreshments for 30 people”. Functions were held at the Hotel and the annual supper of “Railway Bus and Cab Drivers” was held from 1869 onwards, presided over by Mr. Samuel Weaver, whose cab and posting business effects were sold by auction there in 1895. Coroners’ Inquests took place and when Chester Football Club played at the Tomkinson Street ground The Beehive was used for changing purposes. During the First World War, Hoole Urban District Council distributed surplus sugar from here to soft fruit growers for the making of preserves and jams [See Allotments Article]


Another application for a full licence was made in 1892 prior to the Royal Agricultural Show being held in Hoole in the following year. The only opposition was from The Ermine Hotel. However, in spite of support from the Chairman and several Members of the Hoole Local Board, and a petition signed amongst others by the Rector of Plemstall and the Church Wardens of All Saints Church, the application was refused. This was probably due to the advice of Colonel Cope, on behalf of the Police, that the full licence was not required.


The occupants of Brookside Villas and Hawthorn Villas were mainly from the professional classes- clergy, surveyors, auditors and doctors and dentists. Some of the houses were used as surgeries. From 1900 the properties were assimilated into the numbering of Hoole Road and lost their identities. Before the advent of the big banks further along Hoole Road, the need for banking services for the working man had been recognised by the Chester & North Wales District Savings Bank and their Hoole branch was built into the fabric of No.13. It eventually became Lloyds TSB and for many years the clock in its window was the only public time piece in Hoole to rival that on the steeple of All Saints Church.

Time has not stood still; the bank has closed and The Beehive is now a branch of Richer Sounds.

Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, June2017, Hoole History & Heritage Society

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