The Railway Hotel was originally a private house called Corunna House, named after the Battle of Corunna in the Peninsular War with the French. It is thought that the building dates back to c.1810. It became a hotel when the railway arrived in Nailsworth.
The words ‘Railway Hotel’ are painted in a horizontal band across the length of the building between the first and second floor windows.
The construction of the Stonehouse & Nailsworth Railway began in February 1864 and was open for traffic three years later. The line terminated at Nailsworth – plans to extend the railway in a southerly direction towards Tetbury never came to fruition. There was also an extensive goods yard with the Railway Hotel prominent at the town end. The branch line officially closed to passengers in June 1949 with goods traffic finally being withdrawn in June 1966. The old track bed from Stonehouse to Nailsworth is now a dedicated pathway / cycle trail. The old station building survives to this day in residential use, and the old Railway Hotel continues to dominate the landscape.
In 1891 records show that the Railway Hotel was tied to Richard Bowly. There was a Bowly’s Brewery (Edward Bowly) in Watermoor, Cirencester (next to the Twelve Bells pub). The family business with 16 pubs was sold to the Cirencester Brewery in 1882. It seems more likely, however, that the Railway Hotel was a tied house of R..B. Bowly & Co. Ltd., a Swindon based brewery that had about ten pubs in Gloucestershire. R.B. Bowly’s North Wiltshire Brewery became a registered limited company in 1899. The brewery closed in 1945 when H. & G. Simonds Ltd. of Reading acquired the business.
The Citizen: Monday December 30th, 1985 – Tenants Flee Blaze. Occupants of a block of flats had to be evacuated early today while firemen tackled a blaze in a bedroom. Fire crews were called to the former Railway Hotel, now a block of flats, at 4.30 am after reports of a fire in the ground floor apartment. “it was in a ground floor bedroom under the hearth,” said a brigade spokesman. “It was quite difficult to get to.” The occupants of the building were taken to safety while the fire was brough under control. “The hearth and fireplace had to be removed to expose the beams,” said the spokesman. “We had to use a hose reel and cut away some of the wood.” The damaged floor was supported with props.
In March 2006 I received an email from Ann Makemson who told me that she used to play skittles at the Railway Hotel. Her team was called the Railway Ladies and they played in the skittle alley behind the pub in the red brick building above the old stables. Ann told me that the last landlord at the Railway Hotel was Matthew Hanratty. The Railway Inn closed c.1970 and was converted to residential use.
In May 2008 the owner of the old Railway Hotel submitted plans to repair and conserve the building, knock down outbuildings and replace them with five dwellings. The scheme was rejected by Stroud District Council development control committee and 240 people protested against the proposal. A revised planning application was submitted.
Map Reference: ST 851998
Owner in 1891: Richard Bowly
Rateable value in 1891: £14.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Richard Bowly
Rateable value in 1903: £14.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Full licence
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Railway Hotel include:
1885, 1927 John Davis
1939 Kenneth Alfred Wright
1960’s Matthew Hanratty