The Hereford & Gloucester canal had reached Newent in 1795, but was not completed as a through route to Hereford by 1845 – fifty years later. The canal had reached Ledbury in 1798 but the economies of constructing the canal, especially through the Oxenhall tunnel, was financially disastrous and the anticipated traffic on the canal was never enough for viability. A wharf to serve Newent town was established on the canal near Ell Bridge. The Anchor Inn was opposite Newent Wharf and, for a short time at least, served the needs of bargees working the canal.
The management of the Gloucester to Hereford canal was taken on by the Great Western Railway in 1870, and work began on converting some sections of the canal for the formation of the Gloucester – Ledbury -Hereford line. Through much of its course through Newent the railway made use of the canal bed. The line was completed in 1885.
John Allen owned the Anchor Inn in 1891 and he ran it as a free house. The Anchor Inn was classified as a beer house and had an annual rateable value of £15.0s.0d.
Lane, Bros & Bastow, brewers at the Vine Brewery in Ledbury had acquired the Anchor Inn by 1903. Even at the beginning of the Edwardian era the canal had long disappeared from Newent, so the nautical reference to the Anchor was already causing confusion. Perhaps the acquisition of the Anchor Inn by the Vine Brewery could have been motivated by the rail connection from Ledbury to Newent. By 1903 the annual rateable value of the Anchor Inn had increased substantially by £6 to £21.0s.0d, suggesting that the premises had been much improved by the Vine Brewery and possibly enlarged. Closing time was at 11 pm. Lane, Bros & Bastow were taken over by the Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1919, but by this time the Anchor Inn might have already closed.
Opposite the Fire Station in Station Road there is a property called Anchor House. I had assumed that this was once the Anchor Inn, but a glance at an old photograph (not reproduced here) shows the sign of the Anchor to be on the gable end of a building with an aspect at right angles to the road. The property is located below Anchor House and is on the corner of the old approach to the station. Believed to now be Alicias Cotage, the property has been significantly extended and altered, with the roofline now parallel with the line of the road.
Landlords at the Anchor Inn include:
1891 Henry Owen
1901 A. Price
1903 Rhoda Wintle