Monday 9 February 2015

The Dove and Rainbow

The Dove and Rainbow was a public house (PH) that’s now long-gone from the centre of Nottingham, England. Imagine my surprise when I found that my ancestor once owned it, and that its location was just beside the bus-stop I used to use. This post is as much about that pub as it is about my ancestor.

George Proctor was born in Nottingham in 1847 to James Procter [sic: the surname spelling changed during George’s generation] and Melicent Kirk (later “Millicent”).[1] In the 1851 census, he was living with his parents at 2 Cambridge Street, Nottingham.[2] In the 1861 census, he was living with his parents at 133 Peas Hill Road, and was a “Confectioner’s Assistant”.[3] In the 1871 census, though, he’d moved to 2 Manchester Street, Liverpool, and was a confectioner lodging with the family of a George Elston, another confectioner from Hull, in Yorkshire.[4] Manchester Street used to link Dale Street and Victoria Street, although it barely exists today due to inner-city redevelopment.

It’s unknown why George moved to Liverpool, but his younger brother, Thomas, also moved to Lancashire some years later. Thomas was a confectioner, too, and after marrying Louisa Freeman in 1870, in Nottingham, they moved to 2 Spring Terrace, Crumpsall, Manchester, sometime before 1881. Although these addresses are both in Lancashire, they are a good 35 miles apart. Whereas Thomas married in Nottingham, and then moved to Manchester — where he and his wife both remained — George had returned to Nottingham during 1871–72, and then married Mary Jane Bradley (b. 1845 in Newark) on 20 Jun 1872 at Nottingham St. Mary.[5]

It wasn’t until I found an 1876 reference to George Proctor being associated with the Dove & Rainbow in a city directory[6] that I even suspected he’d changed his occupation from confectionery, but was he the pub owner or merely a resident landlord?

The only surviving image of the pub (and a partial one at that) that I was able to find was on the Picture the Past Web site which hosts a photographic history of the East Midlands. You can just make out part of the pub to the left of the picture.

Dove & Rainbow PH, 18 Upper Parliament St, Nottingham, c1890s.
Figure 1 - Dove & Rainbow PH, 18 Upper Parliament St, Nottingham, c1890s.[7]

In order to put that location in a modern-day context, the figure below is a “live” Google Street View from 2012 of the same frontage. There’s no mistaking the windows either side of the stepped roof. That small bit of history is now sandwiched between two modern red-brick buildings, but it’s nice to know that some part of the original was retained.

Figure 2 - Equivalent frontage from 2012.

That section of Upper Parliament Street is currently full of different bus-stops. Interestingly, though, back in the 19th Century the pub was a regular pick-up point for carriers (i.e. horse-drawn wagons or carts) to villages north of Nottingham, including Arnold, Blidworth, Calverton, Hucknall, and Sutton-in-Ashfield.

The Dove & Rainbow was finally closed on 1 Jan 1910[8], but its original opening is harder to determine. The earliest newspaper reference I could find was from 1849, and recorded that “Samuel Shaw, of the Dove & Rainbow, Parliament Street, was convicted, on his own confession, in the mitigated penalty of 20s., for having his house open during hours on a Sunday, forbidden by statute”.[9] However, it was mentioned as early as 1815 in a city directory[10], and was probably much older than that. During 1950, the local Nottingham Evening Post mentioned the pub in a number of exchanges with the public in a regular historical series entitled “On The Square”.[11] Each piece was quite brief but the paper received letters from people who actually remembered the pub; first-hand primary information. There was some debate about its true location as two editions of a “History of Nottingham” (1853 and 1861; author not given) located it at 121 Upper Parliament Street, rather than no. 18, and it was initially thought that this was an error. The Improvement Committee of the Town Council undertook significant renumbering of house and buildings during the early 1860s, and there are notes to this effect in the preface to the Wright’s Nottingham Directories of that period.

Prior to George Proctor moving in, the pub was run by a James and Lucy Franks. James died 17 Apr 1875, aged 71, after contracting Erysipela — an infection of the skin and lymphatic system.[12] They had already lost their eldest son, William, aged 42, on 23 Sep 1871[13], and the pub went to auction. On 28 Sep 1875, George bought the Dove & Rainbow at the Exchange and Mart; one of several properties under the will of Robert Knight, gentleman deceased. It was described as occupying 178 sq. yds., and having tenants “in the yard” (identified later as Dove Yard) let at £65 15s per annum net. George bought all this for £2,650, which was a considerable sum.[14]  At the time of writing, that would be the equivalent of paying about £167,000, or US$ 255,000.[15]

Upper Parliament Street had almost 20 of these small yards, and several of them took the name of a nearby inn and were private property with no shops. In order to understand where Dove Yard was, we need to look at an historical map of that location: Dove & Rainbow PH and New Yard (1875 layer).[16] Running horizontally is Upper Parliament Street, and New Yard (now Trinity Walk) meets this on its north side. In between there and the junction with Milton Street, to the right, can be seen three small alleyways (or “twitchels”) that gave access to enclosed housing. The first is to the left of the Dove & Rainbow PH, with a further two above the “B.M:142.3” label. These can be identified from a city directory as, respectively, Dove Yard, Stone Court, and Stanley’s Passage.[17]

So where did George get that amount of money? How much was his and how much was borrowed? What did he do between his marriage, in June 1872, and buying the Dove & Rainbow in September 1875? Some answers were eventually found in the county Yorkshire, north of Nottinghamshire.

On the 5 May 1870, Jacob Newbould, the Innkeeper of the Royal Oak Inn, Kirkgate, Bradford, was adjudicated a bankrupt. In March 1872, the County Court, Bradford, declared a final dividend of 1p in the pound to be paid to creditors by Henry Ibbotson, Trustee.[18] This Royal Oak should not be confused with the Royal Oak Inn, also with an address of Kirkgate but in Leeds, some 15 miles east, and which was coincidentally being advertised at the same time as available for let with immediate possession.[19] George Proctor must have picked the Bradford pub up as a real bargain, but in April 1873 they had been robbed by Emma Humphries, a domestic servant who had been dismissed a few weeks earlier. She was convicted of stealing items from the wife of George Proctor, including a gold locket, a gold guard, a jet guard (actually the property of a barmaid), and some clothing, resulting in a sentence of two months with hard labour.[20]

By March 1874, George had decided to leave this property and it was being advertised for sale, eventually being auctioned through the services of J. Buckley Sharp.[21] By August 1874, he was granted a drinks license at the Beamsley Hotel, Heaton Road, Bradford.[22] In May 1876, a short while after buying the Dove & Rainbow, George was assaulted at the Beamsley Hotel by a John Mitchell. The man was drunk and causing a disturbance, but on being ejected he started to kick George several times, breaking his watch. He was fined 20s with 14s costs, or a month in prison in default.[23] The Beamsley Hotel was eventually transferred to a Samuel Bakes.[24] A reasonable guess would be that George was making money on each property transaction.

I couldn’t find any historical images of these two Bradford properties, but their exact addresses can be found in the city directories as follows:[25]

The Royal Oak [Inn], 69 Kirkgate, Bradford.
The Beamsley Hotel, 116 Heaton Road, Manningham, Bradford.

This was substantiated by the Bradford Local Studies department, which located a “George Procter” in the 1875 Whites directory covering Bradford. He was given in the street section as being at 116 Heaton Road, under Victor Road, as a victualler. He was also listed in the surname section where his address was given as Beamsley Hotel, 116 Heaton Road. They also found him in the Burgess rolls of 1872–1875 where he was listed in the East Ward of Bradford 1872–74 in a property at 69 Kirkgate, but by 1875 there was a James Connell listed at that address.

George died just a few years after taking over the Dove & Rainbow, on 5 Apr 1879. The probate Calendar initially gave administration of his will to his wife, Mary Jane, on 30 Apr 1879, but a second entry, on 23 Jul 1879, gave administration to a shoemaker from Beeston named Alfred Cooke. It did not indicate who Alfred was but the reason was given as Mary Jane failing to handle the administration. Furthermore, the first entry indicated an estate under £300, and the second entry under £100; both of which were unexpectedly low.[26] George’s will was written on 19 Jun 1875, and bequeathed his share in the pony harness and cart belonging to his brother-in-law, Robert Henry Bradley, to the said brother-in-law. However, Robert had already died in c1876, aged just 27.[27] All of George’s real-estate, and the residue and remainder of his personal estate and possessions, were left to his wife.[28]

Mary Jane died the same year, on 21 Jun 1879 — this obviously being the cause of her failure to administer her husband’s will — and administration was given to the same Alfred Cooke, now identified as “cousin German” (i.e. her first cousin).[29] The grant of administration indicated that Mary Jane had no surviving parent, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, or nephew/niece — thus explaining why Alfred was selected as next-of-kin — and also that she died intestate. Her estate was still classified as under £100.[30]

Mary Jane was only 34 years old, and an inquest was held into her death at the Dove & Rainbow itself. Witnesses testified that she had been ill for about 8 weeks — presumably since the death of George — and that she had been drinking heavily. She had been treated both for a fit and for the delirium tremens. She was freely drinking whiskey and brandy, and driven more to it by the pressures of her business affairs. Elizabeth Turner, wife of a John Turner living in Dove Yard (see below), testified that she had known her for about a year and a half, and having helped nurse her husband before his death she had the opportunity to notice her intemperate habits during the last year. After some discussion, the jury returned a verdict of death from excessive drinking.[31] I was slightly surprised that the inquest was held in the same pub, but it seemed that several inquests were held there. Clearly, the pub was a centre of many activities.
The pub was auctioned by Messrs. Grundy and Morris in October 1879. The advertised details are interesting because, as well as being a brewhouse,  it included stabling, outbuildings, two cottages to the rear (occupied by a John Woolley and John Turner), excellent cellarage, five bedrooms, and front & back club-rooms; for some years supporting “lucrative business” being carried out on the premises.[32]

A tragic tale, but one that had to be told! It could have all been so different had they not been so wounded by fate.

[1] Transcribed GRO Index for England and Wales (1837–1983), database, FreeBMD ( : accessed 7 Feb 2015), birth entry for George Proctor; citing Nottingham, 1847, Jun [Q2], vol. XV:560.
[2] "1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census", database, FindMyPast ( : accessed 7 Feb 2015), household of James Procter (age 40); citing HO 107/2132, folio 245, page 40; The National Archives of the UK (TNA).
[3] "1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census", database, FindMyPast ( : accessed 7 Feb 2015), household of James Procter (age 49); citing RG 9/2460, folio 43, page 27; TNA.
[4] "1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census", database, FindMyPast ( : accessed 7 Feb 2015), household of George Elston (age 50); citing RG 10/3774, folio 12, page 16; TNA.
[5] Transcribed GRO Index for England and Wales (1837–1983), database, FreeBMD ( : accessed 7 Feb 2015), marriage entry for George Proctor and Mary Jane Bradley; citing Nottingham, 1872, Jun [Q2], vol. 7b:392.
[6] Post Office Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1876, p.797 (image 163 of 484), online PDF, University of Leicester, compiler, Historical Directories ( : accessed 8 Feb 2015), entry for no. 18 on the north side of Upper Parliament Street.
[7] Dove and Rainbow PH and Beever's Cycle Shop, Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham (c1890s). Picture by A. P. Knighton. Displayed by permission of Image Ref: DCHQ500555.
[8] "Nottingham Public Houses Closed", Nottingham Evening Post (1 Jan 1910): p.4, col.6.
[9] "Tuesday -- Before the Mayor and T.Marriott Esq.: Convictions of Licensed Victuallers", Nottinghamshire Guardian (15 Feb 1849): p.3, col.6.
[10] Nottingham Directory, 1815, Sutton and Son, p.51 (image 59 of 134), online PDF, University of Leicester, compiler, Historical Directories ( : accessed 8 Feb 2015).
[11] "On The Square", Nottingham Evening Post (19 Dec 1949): p.4. Also (29 Dec 1949): p.4, (3 Jan 1950): p.4, (5 Jan 1950): p.4, (6 Jan 1950): p.4, (13 Jan 1950): p.4, (18 Jan 1950): p.4,
[12] "Births, Marriages and Deaths", Nottinghamshire Guardian (23 Apr 1875): p.8.
[13] "Births, Marriages and Deaths", Nottinghamshire Guardian (29 Sep 1871): p.8.
[14] "Property Sale", Nottinghamshire Guardian (1 Oct 1875): p.5 ,col.3.
[15] Conversion performed using, and selecting the “real price” of a “commodity” to guide it.
[16] "Nottinghamshire Insight Mapping", Nottingham City Council, GIS tool ( : accessed 8 Feb 2015); Ordnance Survey Licence number 100019317. Initial click required to accept T&Cs. Select 'Historicalfrom the toolbar where it normally says 'Road Map'. Select the 1875 layer.
[17] History, Gazetteer & Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1885, p.348 (image 363 of 853), online PDF, University of Leicester, compiler, Historical Directories ( : accessed 8 Feb 2015), entries on the north side of Upper Parliament Street, following from the Milton Street junction.
[18] London Gazette (8 Mar 1872): p.1396 (printed).
[19] "Hotels, Public Houses, &c", Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer (15 Mar 1873): p.3, col.5
[20] "Robbery from a Public House", Bradford Observer (16 Apr 1873): p.3, col.1. "A Dishonest Domestic", Leeds Times (19 Apr 1873): p.3, col.5.
[21] “Valuable Freehold Property in Kirkgate”, Bradford Observer (9 Mar 1874): p.1, col.4. Also (26 Mar): p.2, col.3, and (30 Mar): p.1, col.3.
[22] “Bradford Brewster Sessions”, Bradford Observer (27 Aug 1874): p.8, col.1.
[23] “Dunk and Wild in a Public House”, Leeds Times (13 May 1876): p.3, col.6.
[24] “The Conservatives and Their Friends”, Leeds Times (23 Feb 1878): p.3, col.6.
[25] Post Office Bradford Directory, 1879-80, online PDF, University of Leicester, compiler, Historical Directories ( : accessed 9 Feb 2015), entries for Royal Oak (p.425, image 460 of 557) occupied by James Connell, and Beamsley Hotel (p.422, image 457), occupied by Frederick Farnell.
[26] "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966", digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 9 Feb 2015), entry for "George Proctor", died 1879, Nottinghamshire; Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England.
[27] Transcribed GRO Index for England and Wales (1837–1983), database, FreeBMD ( : accessed 9 Feb 2015), death entry for Robert Henry Bradley; citing Nottingham, 1876, Mar [Q1], vol. 7b:201.
[28] "Find a will" (beta), ( : purchased 1 Jan 2015), entry for George Proctor died Nottingham 5 Apr 1879, PDF downloaded 19 Jan 2015.
[29] "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966", digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 9 Feb 2015), entry for "Mary Jane Proctor", died 1879, Nottinghamshire.
[30] "Find a will" (beta), ( : purchased 1 Jan 2015), entry for Mary Jane Proctor died Nottingham 21 Jun 1879, PDF downloaded 19 Jan 2015.
[31] “Death From Excessive Drinking in Nottingham”, Nottinghamshire Guardian (27 Jun 1879): p.5, col.4.
[32] "Sale by Auction: Messrs. Grundy and Morris", Nottinghamshire Guardian (10 Oct 1879): p.1, col.4. Also (17 Oct 1879): p.1, col.4.

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