Bishops Cleeve can boast two thatched village pubs, the Kings Head and the Royal Oak. At the beginning of the 20th Century the Royal Oak was acquired by Showells Brewery of Oldbury, Staffs, which later amalgamated into the Ind Coope Brewery of Burton on Trent.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Royal Oak was an old-fashioned country pub and had a skittle alley, quoits were played and the Cheltenham Cycling Club adopted the pub as their HQ.
Ron Holland kept a mynah bird which occupied a cage on the bar. The poor bird had to inhale cigarette smoke and actually imitated the sound of a rasping smokers cough. The regulars also took great delight in teaching the mynah to swear which it would often do in inappropriate times, sometimes on Sunday afternoons when the church goers might be having a drink after services. One of the church wardens might have innocently asked the mynah ‘who’s a pretty boy then’ only to be answered with an obscenity!
The Royal Oak doubled in size in the early 1970’s when the adjoining barbers shop was purchased by Allied Breweries. The pub sold Ind Coope beers for many generations and I can remember avoiding the pub during my late teenage years living in Bishops Cleeve in the mid 1970’s because it offered the bland Double Diamond keg.. with no traditional beer.
Today the Royal Oak is a vibrant community pub offering a good range of real ales. The days of Double Diamond ‘working wonders’ have long gone.
Owner in 1891: Edward Lea and Stephens (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1891: £10.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: Showell & Co., Oldbury, Staffs.
Rateable value in 1903: £15.10s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
Landlords at the Royal Oak include:
1891 Henry Stallard
1903 Emily Louisa Tarling
1939 John Bayliss
1954-1973 Ronald Guy Holland
1998 Angie and Dean ?
2000 Kendrick Howe
2006 Dale Liddle