The Olde Elm was originally housed in a small row of ex terraced houses in Church Road opposite Chapel Hay Lane. There were bow windows to the front of the property and a sign on the end wall read: ‘Ye Olde Elm. Flower &Sons Ales & Stout in Cask and Bottle.’ In the 1930’s a plan was forwarded to re-route the main Cheltenham to Gloucester road through Churchdown Village. Flowers Brewery took the decision to build a brand new pub immediately behind the Olde Elm Inn to take advantage of the potentially lucrative passing trade. The replacement pub, built in 1938, was the Bat and Ball. Licensing laws decreed that no break in continuity of occupation could take place without forfeiting the license, so the Bat and Ball could not be built on exactly the same site of the Olde Elm. Ironically the decision to build the Cheltenham to Gloucester main trunk road through Churchdown was deferred leaving the newly constructed Bat and Ball somewhat isolated. In retrospect it was probably a mistake to knock down the Olde Elm.
The traditional Old Elm Inn was demolished in 1938 to make way for the modern roadside pub, constructed at considerable expense by the Flowers Brewery. The locals of the Old Elm must have had a shock to find their quaint inn being replaced by a large pub that would have not looked out of place in large cities such as London and Birmingham. Then, in the ultimate of ironies, the proposed new main road from Cheltenham to Gloucester passing the Bat and Ball in Churchdown was cancelled. The new road (Golden Valley by-pass) was eventually constructed thirty years later two thirds of a mile to the north of the Bat and Ball.
When the Bat and Ball first opened there were murals on the pub walls painted by F.H. Warren depicting scenes of local interest. The murals were taken down and presumably destroyed in a pub refurbishment in the late 1980’s. The large size of the Bat and Ball was utilised to the advantage of both pub regulars and villagers when the landlord and landlady, Angela Norris and Shaun Bardus, opened a village shop in the old dining room of the pub in 2004. Sadly Shaun passed away in June 2007 from cancer.
It would be fair to say that the Bat & Ball was under performing and was not valued by the local community. It’s future hung in the balance, yet being the only pub in the ‘village’ end of Churchdown it certainly had potential if run efficiently with good management. After a major refurbishment the pub was relaunched as the Old Elm, ditching the tired Bat & Ball image, and was an immediate success. The Old Elm is now free of tie and supports local breweries such as Stroud Brewery and Gloucester Brewery. It offers good food, and is once again a positive asset to the community.
Map Reference: SO 885197
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1891: William Price (leased Cheltenham Original Brewery)
Rateable Value in 1903: £40.10s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Flowers & Sons, Brewers, Stratford on Avon
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords at the Olde Elm include:
1856 T. Price
1885 John Paterson
1891,1897 Mrs Mary Rogers
1902,1903 Mrs Emma J. Brown
1906 Thomas Duffy
1919 Mrs Emily Duffy
1927,1936 John Apperley