A local with a colourful past
The King's Arms Pub on the Vale in Acton is a popular, lively local with a colourful, if occasionally grisly past.
To revisit the early days of this pub, we have to travel back in time to 1751. George III had not yet become King (1760) and the French Revolution had not yet started (1789). Hogarth had just published The Four Stages of Cruelty and Johann Sebastian Bach had died the year before. It was, of course, well before the days of road tax.
In those days, road users were charged fees, which were payable at turnpikes, (tollgates). One of these was set up at the four mile point from Tyburn and, as often happened in those days, a tavern was built alongside it.
This is how the Kings Arms came into being. As to when it was built, this is likely to have been between 1746 – 1741. It wasn’t mentioned on Rocque’s map of the area (which was started in 1737 and published in 1747), but was listed as being in existence in 1751.
In the 18th Century convicted criminals were publicly hanged at Tyburn. It was situated very near to Marble Arch and a near-by street is still called Tyburn Way. Around 30,000 people were executed at Tyburn. The youngest boy was 7 and the youngest girl, 10.
The road from Tyburn ran roughly along what is now Bayswater Road and into the Uxbridge Road. People being taken to Tyburn for execution were often allowed ‘one for the road’. Thus many of those about to be hanged may well have had their last drink in the Kings Arms.The original site of the pub and the Acton Vale Turnpike alongside it was where Bromyard Gardens now is, (where Bromyard Avenue joins the Uxbridge Road).
Records show that the Arms was on the Whitehead estate from 1761. They leased the tavern to various people until it was returned to Mary Whitehead in 1806. From 1751 – 1881 there were 19 licensees. It 1794 it was leased to a man named John Gardner.
In 1762 the Kings Arms appears in a local court case and again in 1788, after a man was robbed there. For five years, between 1781 – 86 the pub was called the Queens Arms.Up until 1808 local farmers provided the beer. After that it was Douglas Thompson of the Chiswick brewery. The following year the Goldsmith company took over and brought in Fullers to run the tavern. The days of farmers brewing beer for local pubs was virtually over.
The Acton Vale tollgate ceased to be operational in 1872. Twelve years later Fullers and the Goldsmith company decided to rebuild the pub incorporating a stable at the present site on the corner of East Acton Lane. At first it was a plain building, but major alterations were made in 1906 and again in 1910. In 1926 the freehold passed solely to Fullers.
Why not pop in and experience for yourselves this unusual slice of Acton’s history?
September 16, 2010