The town of Stonehouse must have been an excellent place for drinking beer in late Victorian times. At the Woolpack Inn Nailsworth Brewery Ales could be sampled but a pub crawl around the town would have included drinking Godsell’s & Son from Salmon Springs, Stroud Brewery Ales, ‘Smiths’ Brimscombe Ales and Elvy’s Dursley Ales. In contrast, when I embarked on a pub crawl of Stonehouse in 1980 all I could drink was the ubiquitous Whitbread P.A –  a 3% beer – and some of the pubs didn’t even offer that! 

Gloucester Journal: 13th June 1885: On Wednesday last Messrs Bruton Knowles & Co. sold by auction some property at Stonehouse. The Woolpack Inn was sold to Mr Clissold [of the Nailsworth Brewery] for £710.

In August 1986 Woolpack pub landlord, Brian Hemming, knocked 12p off pints of beer for one night as a way of thanking his loyal customers who had put up with ongoing renovation works at the pub. It was anticipated that the building work consisting of a greatly extended lounge, new cellar, new kitchen and toilets would be completed by mid-September. Mr Hemming said: “The night was to apologise for the mess the customers have put up with during our renovations. All the drinks were cheaper for people wearing work clothes.”

The Woolpack Inn, April 2010.

The Citizen: Wednesday September 16th, 1987: Five Valley Talk – Trip inn time for Violet: A 92-year-old widow who swapped beer for milk at the age of 21 has been back to the pub where she spent her childhood. A trip down memory lane to her birthplace at the 17th century Woolpack Inn, Stonehouse, was made by Mrs Violet Pye from London. She left the pub, once run by her grandparents and then her parents, in 1917 to work in a Tooting dairy. “The owner was Mr. Walter Hinton who used to live in Chalford and liked Gloucestershire girls!” she recalled. Mrs Pye went back to the Woolpack – last year it was given an £80,000 facelift – as guest of licensee Brian and Maureen Hemming, during a holiday with relatives in Stroud.

She sad: “I was born in the pub and memories flooded back. The outside is more or less the same but the inside is now very elaborate. “I was the general dogsbody – scrubbing and washing up – and can remember when the price of beer was a shilling for five pints,” added Mrs Pye who still enjoys a glass of sherry. Said Mr. Hemming, a retired RAF engineering officer: “She is as bright as a button and told us about a well under the lounge floor which we never knew existed.”

Mrs Pye’s mother, twice widowed, served at the Woolpack for 63 years and was given £1 a week pension by the brewery when she moved with her son Frank King to the Swan Inn, Minchinhampton, in 1951.

Image Courtesy Dave Kirby

Licensing Details:

Rateable Value in 1891: £17.0s.0d

Owner in 1891: Clissold & Son, Nailsworth Brewery

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Rateable Value in 1903: £25.10s.0d

Owner in 1903: Nailsworth Brewery

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Landlords at the Woolpack Inn include:

1830 Richard Hopson

1856 H. Roberts

1885 Mrs Elizabeth Roach

1891,1903 George King

1906 George William King

1919,1927 Mrs Eliza Taylor

1939 Mrs Hannah Matilda Taylor

1962-1985 Jack Smith

1985,1999 Brian & Maureen Hemming

2004,2005 Christopher Hemming

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