The Red Lion
The Great North Road which passed in front of “The Red Lion’ , had been a turnpike road since 1725. _ To view Gallery Click Here
This inn was established in 1715 as the ‘Shoulder of Lamb’ but was renamed ‘The Red Lion’ in1746. In 1838 ‘Jeeves Cottage alongside’ The Red Lion’ was occupied by John Chesher and he was probably the licensee. In 1860 he was running the ‘Roebuck Inn’ at Lemsford. Lord Melbourne was the owner of Jeeves Cottage and of ‘The Roebuck Inn’.
The Toll Gates of the Great North Road
The Great North Road which passed in front of “The Red Lion’ , had been a turnpike road since 1725 when the Welwyn Turnpike Trust was set up. There were three toll gates, at Brickwall, Ayot Green and Welwyn, where toll charges were collected from road users. The charges generally paid with greatreluctance, were intended to pay for maintenance and improvement of the road. On the night of the 1st November 1877 the duties of the Welwyn Turnpike trust were taken over by the Highway Board and toll gates were removed allowing the traffic to pass along the road free of charge. The licensee of ‘The red Lion’ Benjamin Easterbee this popular event by setting up a barrel of beer on Ayot Green and serving free beer to all.
The Petrol pump, the Tiger Moth & the student
In 1940s there were a single petrol pump located in the forecourt of the pub, convenient to students living at nearby de Havilland technical School hostel at Sherrrards House. On one occasion a student who was getting petrol there ( at 2s/2d a gallon) was told by the attendant the “an aeroplane had just crashed round the back of the pub” and discovered a Tiger Moth from the DH club at Panshanger upside down and looking very damaged. There was no sign of the pilot – he was in the pub with a beer in one hand and the phone in the other, calling the club to collect the remains of the aircraft! Apparently its engine had stopped when ‘looping the loop’ and had no option but to attempt an immediate crash landing. Also located outside the pub long before the petrol pump was a wooden trough where horse and cattle could slake their thirst.
The modern era
The Red Lion is now owned by Mitchells & Butlers Leisure Retail Limited and is a characterful building filled with cosy corners, comfy armchairs, open log fires and a unique dining room. Chef’s freshly prepared menu and our carefully selected wines, ales and lagers are served daily from lunch right through until dinner., to view the pubs website Click Here
Our characterful building is filled with cosy corners, comfy armchairs, open log fires and a unique dining room. Chef’s freshly prepared menu and our carefully selected wines, ales and lagers are served daily from lunch right through until dinner.
When the Great North Road went through Lemsford it is said as many as 150 coaches a day. Carriages and wagons would pass through the village daily. All the inns would have offered food and drink for the travellers. Accommodation would be provided if required. Wheelwrights and blacksmiths were available to service the wagons and horses. Stabling for the horses would also have been provided.Read More about the Golden Age Of Lemsford - Click Here