The A30 which runs through Camberley and Bagshot was the main trunk road from London to Exeter, and has seen many changes over its hundreds of year’s history. One of the main changes has been the number of public houses/ale houses/taverns etc. which have come and sadly gone.
One of the most prominment buildings on the A30 in Camberley that is still serving beer is the Cambridge Hotel, now part of the R.S.V.P group. The hotel was built in 1862 by Captin Charles Raleigh Knight, a property speculator, in association with the development of the Miltary Academy which was across the road. The area around the hotel became known as Cambridge Town but was remaned “Camberley” in January 1877 to avoid confusion by General Post Office with the Cambridgeshire university town of the same name. Generally the building has survived well, with only a few additions and changes from its origin.
Heading towards Bagshot, up the hill on the right just past Middleton Road, once stood The Wooden House Tavern. This is where it is alleged that a Parson Darby, who was a vicar in Yateley, held up the Royal Mail coach. After being caught the “Parson” was hung opposite the tavern, where there is a stone to mark where the gibbet was located.
At the junction of the A30, A325, and the Maultway now stands the American Golf shop which previously had been the Mongolian BBQ and, as some of us will remember, the Jolly Farmer pub. However just across the road, to the north side of the Maultway, stood the Golden Farmer pub,which was built in the late 17th century. It’s alleged that the Golden Farmer name came from a highwayman called William Davies who worked on Bagshot Heath and is said to have only taken gold from his victims. His Identity was uncovered as being a local farmer who only paid his taxes in gold. The Golden Farmer subsequently became a Post Office and was closed in 1879. But in 1818 the licence of the pub was transferred to Thomas Thick, who owned a farmhouse, which suspects it then became the Jolly Farmer in 1823 and survived until 1996.
The next pub on the way into Bagshot is the Foresters Arms. The pub is located opposite the nursery, where nurserymen in the late 19th century would fill their bottles with beer and take them to work, to quench their thirst. This could the reason why Mr Draper, the owner of the building, agreed to sell it in 1895 to H&G Simmons brewers, based in Reading. Mr Draper then became the Foesters Arm’s first landlord.
H&G Simmons supplied beer to the Royal Miltary Academy, Sandhurst, from the early 1800, then from the 1850’s to wider miltary when Aldershot was established as the home of the British Army.
Continuing down the road, the next pub is the Bird in Hand. This was a beer house in the 1770’s. It would seem that this beer house may have been a place of ill repute. Like many others it had a reputation as a haunt of criminals and prostitutes: some pubs even became brothels. In 1853 there was a petition against granting the Bird in Hand a spirit licence. By 1865 the premises were purchased by John Waterer, the owner of the nursery (now notcutts) across the road. Saying says that Mr Waterer wanted his employees to buy beer from him rather than from the Foresters Arms? The current building (which has been empty since 2009) was built between the two world wars, when it was set-back from its original position.
On the opposite side of the road to Yaverland Drive was located the Chequers. This was a late 16th century building erected by Richard Jenkins, after whose family Jenkins Hill is named. By 1806 the Chequers was leased to Thomas Thick, later licensee of the Golden farmer. Then in 1812 the pub changed hands again, this time owned by Thomas Fagg who renamed it the Bell & Crown. The pub survived until 1854.
Between the Bell & Crown and Bagshot High Street there was a 15th century inn, called Chequers but now there is an 18th century house standing on the site.
At the junction of the A30 and Bagshot High Street the road canges to what we know today as the Bagshot by-pass. Prior to the 1930’s the old trunk road would have passed through the centre of Bagshot.
This change in the road system means that the next pub would now be in the middle of the A30, before the Fighting Cocks and the Windle Brook. This defunct pub had a number of names starting with the Coach and Horses. Then in 1832 it was leased to John Knight who in 1854, during the Crimea war, changed its name to The Heroes of Inkerman. By the time it was sold again in 1885 it had changed its name the Hero of Inkerman.
Following construction of the bypass, a new Hero of Inkerman was built where now stands the Windle Brook. This new pub lost the “of Inkerman” part of its name in the 1980’s and was then destroyed by fire in 1991.
Across the road stands a pub which has been on this site since Elizabethan times. In those early days it was known as the Blackboy but as some time in the late 15th to mid-16th century the name was changed to the Running Deer. It was further changed to the Bull and finally to the Fighting Cocks in the early 18th century. The current building dates from around 1925, just prior to the building of the by-pass.
The final pub on this crawl along the A30 is the Cricketers, on the edge of Bagshot. Although the pub advertised it dated from 1605 there is evidence to support this. In 1872 the cricketers was owned by Charles Dawkins of Chobham. By the early 2oth century photos show the building to be of grande design. As its name suggests, cricket was played in its grounds. Today the site is a Beefeater grill and Premier Inn Hotel chain. Although there have been extensions added to both sides of the main building, it still has a design of a grand roadside building.