In White Lion Square was the Travellers’ Rest, landlady Mrs. Bell.
William was landlord after his mother’s death.
Phoebe Riley was the daughter of Brinsley shoemaker John and Mira (nee Moss) and from April 1825 the wife of William Bell, blacksmith, framesmith and victualler, living near the confluence of Nottingham Road and Stanton Road — formerly Boot Lane — in an area previously known as Outram’s Buildings.
Both originally from Nottinghamshire, Phoebe and William came to Ilkeston after their marriage and raised a family of many daughters and two surviving sons, the elder of whom, William, took over the control of the Inn when Phoebe died in December 1879, aged 71. Her husband had died in August 1854.
Initially the Travellers’ Rest was a beerhouse and its name was ‘singularly inappropriate’ in the view of RBH, recalling the area as it was in the mid-1870’s.
Outside the inn every Saturday evening the Irishmen of this area — and there were many!! — would provide “a series of the most bloodthirsty combats it was possible to imagine”, at times necessitating the participation of William Bell junior.
“I well recollect, as a boy of 7 or 8 years, seeing Mr. Bell himself, who possessed a very straight left, knock down half-a-dozen of the drunken Hibernians, one after the other with admirable coolness and scientific precision”.
I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn’t make it worse ….. Brendan Behan
It was ‘the law’ — in the form of police constable William Neath — with which William junior came into conflict in September 1874 when he was accused of keeping a disorderly house and allowing too many drunken people in it. Can you believe it??!
The P.C. had been alerted by loud noises coming from the Travellers’ Rest and had gone inside to investigate. There he discovered the source of the racket — several drunken customers. One however was asleep with his head on the table and the P.C. ordered landlady Elizabeth Bell not to serve any more drink to the latter (!!). She refused.
Enter her husband William junior who immediately ordered ‘the law’ off the premises.
“Get out or I will chuck you out” shouted the innkeeper and true to his work he manhandled the P.C. out of the door. This was just as the latter was threatening charges of permitting drunk and disorderly conduct on the premises, of assault, and whatever else he could think of.
At the subsequent Petty Sessions hearing, several witnesses spoke in William’s defence, but as most of them were members of the ‘drunken party’ their testimony was treated as suspect.
William was convicted and fined 10s and costs, though his licence was not endorsed.
Perhaps William had been feeling vexed with the forces of authority when he encountered P.C. Neath. Earlier in the month his application for a wine and spirits licence had been refused by the magistrates at Heanor Brewster Sessions.
However in September 1875 William’s beerhouse licence was renewed — despite the fact that he had been convicted for permitting drunkenness on his premises and for assault – because his licence had not been endorsed.
Perhaps the magistrates might not have been so forgiving had they known what was to come in the next month.
In November 1875 Mr. Neath had now left behind the police force — as well as his common sense — when he tried to get a drink at the Travellers’ Rest one afternoon. He was ordered out by William’s wife, Elizabeth.
Enter – once again– husband William who threatened once more to kick him out.
Perhaps the memory of his fine then took a hold of William, causing the landlord to take a hold… of Mr. Neath’s throat. His strangulation of the ex-PC was interrupted by onlookers who had to prise his hands away.
This led to another fine for William. The latter’s counter charge that Mr. Neath was drunk and refused to leave the inn was considered but dismissed in court.
William had to pay for the costs of that case also.
There is no record that William Neath ever entered the Travellers’ Rest again.
In the late 1870’s William junior was engaged in building alterations at the Inn and the Local Board permitted him to bring forward the frontage of the public house — but charged him for it of course! By 1881 William had discovered that he owned the land he had built on and so the Board had no right to charge him. Thus he applied for – and secured — a £4 rebate!
For several years after Mr. Neath had been ejected from the Travellers’ Rest, William Bell managed the Inn impeccably. But in April 1882, he found himself in trouble once more, when he was charged with supplying drink to a couple of labourers who were clearly drunk when they entered his Inn. William tried to talk himself out of a fine at the Petty Sessions, but to no avail … and another black mark next to his name.
For one of the labourers — Irishman Michael Waldron of Trueman’s Court — this was his fifteenth appearance at court, and he was fined accordingly.
‘Outram’s Building’ appears on the 1841 census, sandwiched between Boot Lane (Stanton Road) and Evans Row.
The Outram connection to Ilkeston may come via John Outram, the son of Joseph and Ann (nee Micklethwaite), married in 1776.
Joseph was of a distinguished Alfreton family and had been married twice before, having several other children by his second wife, Elizabeth Hodgkinson.
His son John had owned some land on the east side of what is now Lower Stanton Road, which he sold to Matthew Hobson senior in 1817.
Off White Lion Square was Wakefield’s Yard.