Delving into the Past
So how did it all begin?
From records, other archives and picture library’s we can see some of the past of what today we know as the White Lion at Crays Pond. Now some of you may have earlier records or other items to share and we would really like you to contact us for inclusion in 'the Pubs Tale'
We started with an early 1830s Ordinance Survey map that shows a cluster of properties around the Crays Pond junction.
We also find an entry in the 1860 census to a Charlotte Harris as an Innkeeper but shown as Shervilles Bottom and not Crays Pond, could this be the White Lion or an early reference to the Rifleman Pub later seen on Shervills Hill. If you know or have records of The White Lion at this time please let us know we would love to hear from you., and add this to 'the Pubs Tale'
In 1871 the census shows the Pub is named as ‘The Lyon’ ( was this the real name or a Quill pen error by the recorder? ) and was run by George Bushnell and his wife Eliza. The Pub is also indicated on the 1878 OS Map but there shown as The White Lion.
In 1881 Eliza seems to be running the Pub on her own with some domestic help and the name appears to be now spelt as The Lion.
The 1899 OS map shows the White Lion in greater detail than before and the 1891 Census now shows one named Edwin Bush and his wife Elizabeth running The White Lion.
The map also shows Crays Ponds other Pub ‘The Stag and Hounds’ now and for many decades a private residence.
The latest census is that for 1911 and again indicates the White Lion as being run by an E Bush (Edwin we suppose) and also indicates on this page ‘The Rifleman’ Pub at Shirvell Hill (new spelling) and the wider census (not shown here) shows The Stag and Hounds and The King Charles Head as Pubs in the area, spoilt for choice then weren't we!
The census shows the growth of Crays Pond and the surrounding area ( a lock up shop and bake house, a workingmens club and more properties) and the map of a similar date (1912) shows this too.
If you have records or photos or other information of The White Lion at this time or during the First World War or later please let us know, we would love to hear from you.
We can now move on to other records.
We would like to thank Mr Raymond Simonds of the Simonds family for his help and allowing us to use photos from his site www.simondsfamily.me.uk , and also Pub Pages and the Brewery History site for other information.
Simonds as you may know was a considerable business in Reading and other areas. The Simonds Brewery was situated on the site of the modern ‘Oracle Centre’ today and until the business merged with Courage in the 1970s was a thriving independent business with a brewery and many pubs in many locations and also a Bank in Reading.
If you are interested the Simonds family site is well worth researching.
Raymond has provided 3 photos of the White Lion, the first 2 of unknown date (but could be around 1910'ish, unless you know differently) and the third (controversially these days showing a Hunt) being from the cover of The Hop Leaf Gazette in 1961 (it’s very last Issue).
We are also saying thank you to the Francis Frith Collection who gave us kind permission of show some of their photos showing the White Lion.
They are from the 1950s, and here are 2 of them.
So we have travelled from the 1830s to the 1960s stopping along the way, and here is where you can take over.
The White Lion has a great 'Pub Tale' and we would like to tell more of it here.
Whilst we wait for the Owners further appeal against the Council granting ACV status (now postponed due to you know what) lets see if together we can fill in the background of this our local Pub.
Stories, anecdotes, archive material and photos are all welcome. Tales of landlords past, tales of you working there, tales of events there we would like to hear them all.
So get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you haven't registered as a supporter yet just go to the bottom of the home page and send in your details.