The Fairview Inn was located at 96 Fairview Road (1939 Kellys directory), immediately to the right of the old Saint James’ School. The Fairview Inn closed in 1978 and was demolished in 1981. A row of six terraced houses was constructed on the site.
The Kilmister family had a long association with the Fairview Inn. William Kilmister is recorded as the owner of the Fairview Inn in the 1891and 1903 licensing books, which he operated free from brewery tie. The Fairview Inn was licensed as a beer house and had an annual rateable value of £21.5s.0d. (Some contemporary town directories incorrectly list the surname as Kilminster – with an added ‘n’). In the 1950’s and early 1960’s the Fairview Inn was tied to Flowers Brewery of Stratford on Avon.
Across the road from the Fairview Inn was the Athletic Ground. This was the home of Cheltenham Rugby Football Club, who played at the Athletic Ground when it first opened in 1899. It was also the venue of the third round FA cup tie between Cheltenham Town and Blackpool in 1934 – the visiting side won 3-1. Over 10,000 people watched the game. Despite the sporting connections the Athletic Ground has gained almost legendary status as the venue of 1960’s outdoor rock concerts. Both the Yardbirds (at the time featuring Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck) and the Who played here.
Lorraine Bowen contacted me via the website in January 2023. She has lived in Essex most of her life but moved from Cheltenham when she was about 9. Lorraine came across this photo of her winning the girls’ race representing Warden Hill Primary School, but did not know where it was taken. I was able to identify the Fairview Inn and the Athletic Ground venue.
Before the introduction of heath and safety regulations the Athletic Ground also hosted a football game with a difference. This was the bizarre spectacle of motorcycle football which attracted a large crowd. Notwithstanding the inherent danger of the pastime it is generally thought that drink had been consumed by some of the participants, whilst other players played the game whilst puffing on a cigarette. Perhaps the motorcycle football teams had enjoyed a pint or two of Flowers Best Bitter at the Fairview Inn prior to the game. The ground floor of the pub overlooked the perimeter wall of the Athletic Ground, but a splendid view of the games and events could be afforded from the private apartments on the first floor.
A touching tale of romance took place at the Fairview Inn during the war years in December 1941 when Les and Rene Mitchell first met at the pub at a Christmas party. They dated each other and got married three years later. In September 2003 Les and Rene celebrated 60 years of marital bliss.
Landlords at the Fairview Inn include:
1870,1903 William Kilmister
1939 Harry Kilmister