The Ship Inn

The Ship Inn was at the crossroads of Regent Street and Downton Road with the Bristol Road (A419).
It was sandwiched between the road, the Nailsworth branch railway and the Stroudwater canal. 

The Ship Inn is on the right at the corner of the road c1950s.

On October 27th 1834 John King, shopkeeper, bought the land at the edge of the canal and built two dwelling houses.
On December 2nd 1850 John King made a will in which one house is referred to as the Ship Inn with tenant Thomas Bailey. No reference to the Ship Inn or Thomas Bailey has been found in the 1851 census. However, there is a Thomas Baylis at the King William which is situated very close to the Ship Inn site. It is possible that the beer house was first named the King William when Thomas Baylis sold beer there. In 1841 Thomas Baylis was a coal merchant and in the house next door was Thomas Cole – a beer retailer. By 1842 Thomas Baylis was described as a beer retailer.

John King died on December 1st 1855. Thomas Baylis acquired the other house and knocked them into one to enlarge the beer house. By the 1861 census it was called the Ship Inn and was being run by Robert and Caroline Blick. The Nailsworth branch line from the LMS Midland Road railway station opened in 1867 running close by the pub. The Blicks were still living there in 1871 with Robert described as a carpenter so it is likely that Caroline was running the pub.

On December 15th 1874 Thomas Baylis King and Thomas Henry King, the sons of John King, sold the building to Messrs Hallewell and Stanton.

From 1881 to 1914 it was run by a number of landlords all described as beer sellers or retailers.
It seems to have been a beer house (licensed to sell only beer). A Licensed Victualler was licensed to sell wine and spirits as well and in 1916 the landlord of the Ship Inn had the Licensed Victualler status transferred from the Cross Hands (over the main road) to the Ship Inn. This may have been when the Cross Hands closed.

The 20th century was a busy time for the Ship Inn when pubs were experiencing popular times.

Stonehouse History Group interviewed sisters Norma Tubb and Carol Whitmarsh in September 2010 about their time living at the Ship Inn.

Here are some of their memories.

The Ship Inn was kept by Norma and Carol’s Great Uncle and Great Aunt, Albert (Jack) and Dorcas Love from 1926 until 1958. Great Aunt Dorrie was their father’s mother’s sister. Dorrie’s daughter Rosa was their father’s cousin. The family used to visit their relations at the Ship Inn regularly in the 1940s and 50s from their home in Hayes, Middlesex. They stayed in cottages at Fairfield by the brushworks owned by their Great Aunt and Uncle. There were 6 children in the family, 3 boys and 3 girls.

Albert (Jack) Love landlord of the Ship Inn 

The Ship backed on to the railway and the canal. Auntie Dorrie used to give the train drivers boiling water for their tea when the trains stopped. When the trains went by the house shook and the beds moved. The pub had a cellar which often flooded. Norma remembers her Uncle Jack having lead soldiers and animals in a table drawer which they were not allowed to play with. They kept chickens in a loft over the garage.

Ship Inn train at crossing 1965. The stone building on the left is part of the Ship Inn.

In 1958 cousin Rosa took over the Ship Inn. Rosa’s first husband, Dave John, died in an accident and she married again to Mr Gibson. In 1963 she retired and Fred and Cora Jones took it over. In 1969 Norma’s father inherited the cottages at Bridgend and the family moved down to Stonehouse with Norma’s fiancé Peter Tubb. They went into the Ship but, as Londoners, were not always welcome.

Ship advert c1990

In 1989 the Ship became vacant and Norma and Peter Tubb took over as landlords. The pub had been altered since they visited there in the 1940s, with two rooms built over the garage and cellar and the railway and canal were no longer in use. By the time they took over the pub it had been neglected and it took a lot of work to refurbish it. There was so much rubbish in the gardens, including fat from the fryers, that the place was overrun with rats. Norma and Pete tidied up the garden and made it a beautiful outdoor area with pet rabbits. They built up the trade offering meals and did a record 94 meals in one lunchtime. They ran quiz nights, games teams and charity events. However the more successful the pub became the more rent the brewery charged, so they found it difficult to afford to do more improvements. In the 1980s two new houses and a caravan park were built opposite the pub but these were soon demolished to make way for the new road. In the 1990s they had to move out of the pub because of the new road scheme which meant the Ship Inn had to be demolished.


Thanks to Don Gaunt for this photo from 1997

The Ship Inn was demolished in 1997 as part of the road widening scheme after the construction of the Ebley Bypass opened in 1995. The traffic lights at the bottom of Regent Street are now on top of the old pub. Its grounds next to the canal remain vacant in 2020 while a decision is made concerning its future use.

More photos of the Ship Inn

The Ship Inn c1930s. Thanks to the McLannahan family for the photo.


Floods in 1950s

As road traffic increased so the junction became more dangerous. Vehicles went dangerously close to the pub. Cars coming out of Downton Road found it difficult to turn into the busy A419. Pedestrians found it difficult to cross and a zebra crossing was put in.

in 1976 a crane hit the side of the pub.

The Ship Inn hit by a crane 1976. Thanks to the Gloucestershire Gazette for the photo

The pub was still very popular in the 1970s and 1980s

The Ship crib team 1971


The Ship Inn 1991

Ship Inn 1990s

Ship interior 1996


The Ship Inn 1991. Thanks to Donald Smith for the photo

Ship Inn sign. Thanks to Mrs Gregory for the photo



Ship Inn Landlords

These are all the ones we know of. If you know of any more please let us know

1850                                                 tenant Thomas Bailey

1861 census                                    Robert Blick and Caroline Blick

1871 census                                    probably Caroline and Robert Blick

1881 census                                    Benjamin Evans

1891 census                                    George Grimes                                                 

1899                                                 H P Powell

1901 census                                    Samuel Eddels

1903                                                 Alexander Scott

1911 census                                    George William Davis                                                   

1914                                                 Mr Scanlon

1914 – 1926                                     Mr Ainge

License transferred from the Cross Hands (over the road) to the Ship Inn
A beer house or beer retailer only had a license to sell beer whereas a Licensed Victualler could sell wine and spirits as well.

1927 – 1958                                      Albert Love

1958 – 1963                                     Rosa John (Albert Love’s daughter)

1963                                                 F Jones

1976                                                 Ian Mowbray

1989                                                 Peter and Norma Tubb

1997                                                 Debbie Townsend

Feb 1997 (closed and demolished)