The Inns, Public Houses & Working Men's Clubs
of Stainforth

The area around the river Don, where the stony ford was situated, would have been where Stainforth’s first inhabitants settled. We know from archaeological finds made in the area near Kirton Lane, now covered by waste from Hatfield Colliery, that people were occupying these parts in the time of Saxon England.
The Saxons were responsible for introducing advanced farming methods to these lands, and so had access to all they required for making their own beer.
Beer, worts and all.

Stainforth’s oldest recorded inns existed all within a short walk of each other, in the area of the river and the canal. Of the five inns that we know of; namely, The Bridge Foot Inn, The Ship Inn, The Bridge Inn, The Compass Inn, and The Fox Inn, only two of the five are still in service, these being The Fox Inn and The New Inn, (previously The Ship Inn)

The Bridge Foot Inn was a small establishment which was actually a parlour belonging to one of the cottages which were situated on the Fishlake side of the River Don bridge. Later it became known as The Ship Inn, when the existing Ship Inn became the New Inn, and it kept this name until 1910 when the owner, Mr. Tom Silvester moved to Fishlake to take over the Anchor Inn there. After that point, the Ship ceased to function as an inn.
Nothing remains of the cottages today.

As stated above, the Ship Inn, as was, became The New Inn - the name that the establishment bears to this day. Many of Stainforth’s older residents knew the inn as "Harraps", from when it’s owner, Mrs Mary Elizabeth Harrap, bore that name*. In these more modern times the New Inn is a popular place for folk living on and around the canal.
*(Many thanks to Angela Harrap of Spijkenisse, Netherlands, granddaughter of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Harrap for providing this information)

The next four photographs, which are old black & white images of The Station Inn, The Black Swan, and two showing the Fox Inn, were sent to me by visitors to this site. If you have any photographs which I can use for these pages, then please contact me. If you feel that I have infringed your copyright by using any of the images sent to me, then please tell me and I will remove them immediately.

The Compass Inn was situated on the East Bank, between the canal and the river. During Stainforth’s boat building days, (more on Stainforth’s Humber Keels will be added later), this inn was a popular place for those who lived and worked there. Later the Compass was renamed to The Station Inn, probably because railway lines for the transport of coal were laid along the East Bank.

All that remains of the Station Inn today are a few patches of concrete on an overgrown patch of land on the East Bank

There are several houses on the East Bank, and a lane leads through the houses to the part of the canal once known as "The Basin", still a popular mooring place.

Further along the lane is the water treatment plant, where the water from Stainforth's sewers is cleaned and filtered.

The Bridge Inn occupied a building which had a colourful history before being demolished completely in the late 1960’s. For a while the Inn was known as The Black Swan but eventually it ceased to operate as an inn and became a workhouse. Photographs of this building show how it was situated right on the side of the canal bridge, which could be lifted to allow masted vehicles, such as the locally built Humber keels, to pass safely through.
The Fox Inn has seen many changes in Stainforth from it’s corner of Field Road and Princess Avenue. The building is much larger these days, having been extended on both sides. In it’s earlier days it would have looked out over an area known as the Chapel Field, now covered with houses built after the sinking of the mine.
In the 1960’s the Fox had a rather dubious reputation, with the bar resembling a scene from a wild west film on many occasions. Some of those who drank there in the early 70’s may remember the infamous "Brew 10"? I hear it was a wild beer that could induce any who drank it to jump from the nearby St. Mary’s church roof, or was that just a wicked rumour?


Thirsty miners.
From the early 1920’s, the southern side of Stainforth was developed to accommodate the itinerant mining workforce.

The Hatfield Main Pit Club was built at the end of the pit lane. The club has always been a popular stop-off for miners wanting to wash the dust from their throats. In January 1925, Joe Davis, the undefeated World Snooker Champion, played there. In the 1960’s, the main building was extended, providing a concert and bingo hall. Snooker is still played in the bar, and the Pit Club is managing to survrive into this new century despite changing trends.

The King George Hotel was officially opened on Tuesday the 5th of December in 1922.

For more details please click the Info button below.

Further information about The King George Hotel

The Miner’s Welfare Hall and Institute was opened for business in December of 1928. The building consisted of a large hall, measuring some forty feet by fifty two feet, and was large enough to accommodate 450 persons.

Further information about the Miner's Welfare

Another Working Men’s Club - The British Legion - was opened shortly after the colliery came into being. Standing at the bottom of the railway bridge, at the opening to Haggs Wood, the Legion was never the most popular of Stainforth’s W.M.Clubs. The British Legion was demolished in the mid 1970’s after experiencing financial difficulties.. (Photo when I have one, in the meantime - this is how Haggs Wood looks today)

Standing behind the shopping area of Station Road, The Waverly Club still has a loyal following. Offering the usual working men’s club fare, (yes, beer, bingo, darts & dominoes), the Waverly has served the community for many years. When it opened in November 1928, the Stainforth Democratic Club, as it was called then, had 40 founder members. A popular venue for groups, such as "Driftin' Harmony" and "Edison Lighthouse", who appeared there in the 1970's, who always played to a packed house. The concert room was novel for the fact that it had a small balcony, occupied by around a dozen tables, at the rear of the hall.

Does anyone remember the neon sign which hung outside the club in the 60’s? It was a strange little manlike figure, formed from the letters, O, B & J. This I am reliably informed stood for "Oh Be Joyful", a popular beer brewed by the Barnsley Brewery.

On East Lane there once stood a small but popular club. Known by many names; Mossy’s, Smoky Joe’s, or The Reform Club. In later years the building had it's name changed to "The Archers", and finally to "Shades". This is another building which is gone, but not forgotten. If I find any interesting info on this club, I’ll add it to this page later. (Photo © J.Fleck )
Two other Working Men’s Clubs which have survived to the present day are The Old Club, which stands behind Stainforth Market Place, and The Central Club, which stands at the bottom of the canal bridge.
There must be many people who grew up in Stainforth and who can remember when these clubs would have their annual family trips to the seaside. Both clubs offered the usual fare of beer, bingo, darts and dominoes, and in later years, with the growth in popularity of American pool, the bars were equipped with 6' pool tables.
I remember my old dad galloping off to The Old Club on a Saturday evening for the "clocking" of the racing pigeon club’s entries. Racing pigeons was a popular hobby among the miners of Stainforth, and the Old Club was where the pigeon fanciers would meet and conduct their affairs. The club was originally a small building with extensive gardens behind it. A great weeping willow stood in the middle of a well maintained lawn, overlooked by a wooden gazebo. In the 1960's, the Old Club underwent extensive renovation and modernisation, as did most of Stainforth's WMCs at this time.


The Peacock was a new pub in comparison to the existing working men’s clubs, opening it's doors to the public as recently as December 1959.. In the mid 60’s the Peacock had a reputation to rival that of the Fox Inn’s, for a rowdy Saturday night. When it was built, the pub had a door in the front centre which opened into a small area with frosted glass windows. One window had a latch, which opened to the bar inside, and which served as an off-licence.
The main bar was small but clean and "posh", a stark contrast to the second room where disco’s and dances were held.


The beer served at the pub was from the Samuel Smith’s brewery, which I remember required an acquired taste. (Instead of, "Mmmm Mackeson! it was more a case of, "Strewth, Sam Smiths!").
In 2002 the building was put up for sale, but it is constantly under attack from vandals and has a doubtful future as public house.
Update. The Peacock was demolished on 23rd July 2002.
The last public house to built in Stainforth was The Harvester. Stainforth’s older residents will recall the farm which stood on the land now occupied by The Harvester. Right up to 1970’s there were several small farms around the area of Ramskin Lane. I believe some of these small farms suffered badly during the outbreak of swine vesicular and they all disappeared within a relatively short space of time.





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