The Swan Inn      
                     The Builder's Arms 

     This Inn opened in the mid 1800's as the Swan Inn, the same name as the Inn further up Brettell Lane on the same side, and the name was changed to the Builder's Arms in 1897 when it was purchased by Benjamin Sedgley.

    Job Coley was living in the Swan Inn in 1851, born in 1798 in Hartlebury, he was working as a letter messenger and publican. He wed Mary Cooke of Oldswinford on St. George's Day (23 April) 1821 at Kingswinford. Children were Sophia (21), William (25) a drapers assistant, Henry (18) a letter cutter engraver, and Richard (8) a scholar. None of the family appear to have worked in the Inn. Eighteen year old Sarah Jinks from Wednesbury worked as the family servant. The children were all born in Oldswinford, showing that the family were recent arrivals in Amblcote.

    Kingswinford born Joseph Sutton (49) was the publican of the Swan Inn in 1861. Joseph wed Eliza Coley (48) of Belbroughton on 1st November 1834 in Kingswinford, and they had two children at home in 1861 - William (19), an iron roller, and Emma (18), a general servant, both born in Kingswinford.

    1871 saw the Swan being run by William Durbin, a 59 year old beerhouse keeper from Somerset, with his wife Mary (b1830 in Nailsea, Somerset) and their two sons.

    The 1891 census shows Joseph Bullock, a 'shingler at ironworks & inn keeper', who was born in Brierley Hill in 1862. Joseph wed 28 year old Mary A Russell at St. Michael's Church, Brierley Hill in 1885. Their children, Sydney (5), Percy (4), Henry A (2), and Amy V (1), were all born in Wollaston. Mary's  mother Caroline was also living with the family.

    The 1901 census lists Benjamin Sedgley, born 1861 in Brettell Lane, as a Publican 'living on own account', and working at home. Benjamin was single, and lived at the Inn with brothers Thomas aged 28 years, also born in Brettell Lane, and 20 year old Joseph, born in Wordsley. Thomas was working as a barman at the Inn, and joseph was brewing the 'Home Brewed Ales'. Also lodging at the Inn was A Leonard Short, 22 years old, who was employed as another barman. He had been born in Birmingham. It was Benjamin who changed the name of the Inn from the Swam to the Builder's Arms in 1897.


     The Inn occupies the first half of the large, butterfly-roofed building to the left of the advertising hoardings, and is a (dirty) cream colour in this picture. A pawn broker shop occupyies the other half of the building, and is a grey colour. The pawn broker sign (three balls) can just be seen between the third and forth windows, and the Inn name can be seen on the side of the building, just above the advertisements to the right of the tram cable pole. The right half of the Inn frontage was taken up by an entry, which allowed delivery of the ingredients for producing their 'Home Brewed Ales'.


    Twenty years later the advertising hoardings have gone and so has the name - weathered away - but it can be noted that the Inn at one time sold Home Brewed Ales. It is interesting that so many pubs sold 'Home Brewed Ales', ales, strictly speaking, were brewed without hops, whilst beers were brewed with hops. Tastes change, and today lager seems to be more in favour than beer. The pawn broker shop is still in business, the sign hanging between the last two windows. Lime trees have been planted along both sides of Brettell Lane, but only a few survive today. The Builders Arms Inn ceased trading as a public house in 1937, about seven years after this photograph was taken.





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             amblecote history society 2009