Anyone who knows me will know The Grove Inn is my favourite pub in Huddersfield, so I thought I’d have a rummage through the newspaper archives to see what I could find!
It looks like the pub, which is situated on the corner of Spring Grove Street and Merton Street (as shown on the 1906 map below), sprang into existence sometime around 1850 — an auction in August 1857 described it as comprising of the end three of seven “newly-erected” properties.
An article from December 1852 implies that Sir John William Ramsden (after whom John William Street in named) had just unveiled the plans for laying out Spring Grove Street and Swallow Street, which means the properties were probably built in 1853. Various reports from the meetings of the Improvement Commissioners state that work on completing the street continued well into 1854.
The first three landlords were likely as follows…
- James Denison
Born around 1828 in Leeds, son of “beerhouse keeper” Benjamin Denison and his wife Mary. Was working as a “journeyman tailor” at the time of the 1851 Census and living with his parents on Spring Street, Huddersfield. Married Sarah Dixon in late 1852 in Leeds. Listed as an “innkeeper and tailor” living on Swallow Street West in 1861 Census. Died 29 July 1870. The 1871 Census lists widow Sarah Dennison as a “retired innkeeper” living on South Street, Huddersfield, so possibly she briefly ran the pub after the death of her husband?
- John Hellawell
Born around 1837 (possibly in Leeds?), son of cloth miller William Hellawell. Worked as a cloth miller. Married widow Sarah Davison (aged 33), daughter of farmer John Middleton, on 17 March 1873 at St. Peter, Leeds. Died 9 June 1877.
- Sarah Hellawell
Born Sarah Middleton around 1839 in Pontefract, and married to John Hellawell. 1881 Census, widow innkeeper of Grove Inn, 43/45/47 Spring Grove, with children Florence M. (aged 12) and Thomas A. (aged 10). Probably the “Sarah Ann Hellawell” who died 1897 aged 58.
Although I couldn’t find anything to confirm this, it is possible that James Denison’s father, Benjamin, was the landlord before he took over. If that’s true, then possibly Benjamin was the first landlord of The Grove Inn.
Assuming that the pub didn’t change its name in the late 1880s, there are surprisingly few articles in the archives from the period 1850 to 1900, although there can’t be many pubs in Huddersfield that have been linked to acts of cannibalism!
Unless otherwise stated, the articles are from the Huddersfield Chronicle.
1 July 1854
Huddersfield Police Court.
Offence Against the Beerhouse Act.
James Denison, keeper of the Grove Inn, Wood Street, was charged with allowing persons to drink ale in his house on Sunday afternoon, the 25th ult., during the hours of divine service. The officer on duty saw three young men drink two glasses of ale in defendant’s house, at a little after 3 o’clock. It appeared that the parties had been admitted during a heavy storm or rain. Ordered to pay expenses, 6s.
12 May 1855
Huddersfield Police Court.
A Licensed House in Danger.
James Denison, landlord of the Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street, was summoned for permitting unlawful games in his house on the 1st inst. At a quarter to eleven on the night in question Police Constable Ramsden found four men, one of whom was the defendant, playing cards in a small room adjoining the bar. The cards were produced [in court]. Fined 10s. and costs.
Leeds Mercury 12 January 1856
15 August 1857
Sales by Auction.
Lot 1. All those seven newly-erected, substantial, and well-finished MESSUAGES or DWELLING-HOUSES, three of them being now occupied in one, and licensed as an inn, and known by the name or sign of the Grove Inn, with the Yard and Out Offices behind the same, comprising an area of 664 superficial square yards, more or less, situate in Swallow Street and Spring Grove Street, in Huddersfield, in the county of York, held under a lease from Sir J.W. Ramsden for 60 years, from 29th September, 1852, at the yearly rent of £8 6s., with the right of renewal on payment of certain fines, and now in the several occupations of Mr. James. Denison, Mr. William Butler, Mr. John Wood, Mrs. Booth, and Mr. Eastwood, or their undertenants.
12 August 1865
Magistrates in Petty Sessions.
Cannibalism. Biting a Man’s Lip.
John Edwin Eagland, said to be a tall, powerful man, and described as a clogger, of Lindley, was charged with unlawfully assaulting Richard Linton, a man of low stature, labourer, Lowerhead Row. Complainant stated that, on Monday evening he was at the Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street. He and others were talking about a cricket match, when the defendant introduced the subject of jumping. He (Linton) replied that they wanted nothing to do with jumping, and told the defendant to hold his noise. Eagland then said he would kick the complainant out of the place ; and the latter exclaimed that he could not do it. Presently complainant went out, and was followed by defendant, who seized him, and bit a piece out of his lip. The severed lip had had to be sewed, and the complainant had since the assault been unable to follow his occupation. A young man was called to give corroborative evidence. He deposed that the defendant took the complainant by the coat, pulled him down, got his head under his arm, and then bit him. If he had bit half an inch more he would have had all the lip in his mouth. The defendant did not attend in court. The Chairman said the Bench considered this very brutal assault had been fully proved, and they should fine him £2 ; the complainant would be allowed 15s. for the loss of his week’s work ; and the surgeon’s bill 7s. 6d. ; total £3 10s. 6d., or two month’s imprisonment.
John Eagland had previously been found guilty of assaulting Thomas Golden at Thomas Whiteley’s beerhouse, Lindley, in October 1864. In May 1870, he was acquitted of stealing a box of cigars from the Harmonium Inn, Lindley.
25 April 1868
A Novel Political Gathering.
Prior to the polling at the recent election, it was arranged by a number of the supporters of both Mr. Sleigh and Mr. Leatham, that whichever of the candidates might be returned as member for the borough, a dinner should take place at the house of Mr. James Denison, the Grove Inn. In accordance with the arrangement, the feast took place on Tuesday night. About 40 persons partook of the excellent fare. The chair was occupied by Mr. G. Sykes, and the vice by Mr. James Hall. The usual loyal toasts having been given, Mr. Hall proposed the health of “The borough representative, Mr. E.A. Leatham, M.P.,” which was responded to by Mr. F. Curzon. The Chairman then proposed “The unsuccessful candidate, Mr. W. Campbell Sleigh.” Mr. S. Binns responded. The chairman proposed “The Huddersfield Working Men’s Conservative Association,” which was replied to by Mr. T. Nicholls. The chairman next gave “The Huddersfield Liberal Association,” which was acknowledged by Mr. W.K. Croft. Other toasts followed, and addresses were delivered by Messrs. Hall, J.W. Mellor, S. Binns, and others.
18 June 1870
On Tuesday afternoon a child, belonging to Edward Heys, chemist, in the employ of Mr. Herbert Sugden, Woodsome Lees, was rather seriously hurt. It seems that the child was playing in the road, near the Spring Grove Tavern, and suddenly ran from behind a large stone at the junction of Storrs Hall Lane with the turnpike road. At the same moment a gig, proceeding in the direction of Huddersfield, passed. The child ran against the iron step of the vehicle, was knocked down, and the wheel grazed its head and face severely. The child was taken home, and attended by Mr. Lockwood, surgeon.
The child survived, as there are no deaths recorded for that (or similar) surname, but may have died the following year. Edward’s daughters are listed in the 1871 Census as Sarah Elizabeth (aged 8), Annie (aged 5) and Hannah Jane (aged 1). Annie was baptised 20 May 1866 and died towards the end of 1871, aged 6. Edward died in late 1885, aged 45, and was buried at All Hallows, Almondbury, on 5 December.
30 July 1870
On the 29th inst., aged 40, James Denison, Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street. Friends will please accept this intimation.
Probate Register 1870
Effects under £200. 21 October. Letters of Administration (with the will annexed) of the Personal estate and effects of James Denison late of the “Grove” Inn Spring Grove Street Huddersfield in the County of York. Innkeeper deceased who died 29 July 1870 at the “Grove” Inn aforesaid were granted at Wakefield to Sarah Denison of the “Grove” Inn aforesaid, Widow of the Relict of the said Deceased she having been first sworn.
22 March 1873
On the 17th inst., at Leeds Parish Church, Mr. John Hellawell, to Mrs. Sarah Davison, Grove Inn, Huddersfield.
17 October 1873
7 November 1876
The Huddersfield Chronicle reported that John Hellawell of The Grove Inn had been granted a licence for music.
11 June 1877
Local and District News.
Sudden Death in the Spring Grove Street.
On Saturday morning last, Mr. John Hellawell, of the Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street, Huddersfield, was engaged in his usual duties, he complained to his wife of being unwell. She accordingly advised him to retire to his bed and rest for some time, while she sent for a medical gentleman, who was immediately in attendance, but notwithstanding that all that medical skill could devise was done for him, he expired in a few minutes. The cause of death was apoplexy.
16 June 1877
On the 9th inst., aged 40 years, Mr. John Hellawell, Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street. Friends will please accept this intimation.
Probate Register 1877
Effects under £600. 6 July. The Will of John Hellawell late of Huddersfield in the County of York, Innkeeper who died 9 June 1877 at Huddersfield, was proved at Wakefield by Sarah Hellawell of Huddersfield Widow the Relict and George Martin of Manchester Road Huddersfield Grocer the Executors.
7 October 1880
Borough Police Court
A Disorderly Customer.
Henry Sissons, plumber, Spring Grove Street, pleaded guilty to being disorderly and refusing to quit the Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street, and with assaulting Sarah Hellawell, the landlady. It appeared that the defendant went to the house on the 4th instant, with a woman, and had some drink. Shortly after, another woman came in, with whom defendant had some words. Mrs. Hellawell said he must not make a disturbance, and asked him to leave, and he not only refused to do so but struck her in the mouth and caused it to bleed. She had to call in Police Constables Townend and Cundle to turn defendant out. Defendant was fined 5s. and costs for refusing to quit, and 20s. and costs for the assault, which the Bench said was a very cowardly one.
2 March 1886
Borough Police Court
A Painful Case.
Edgar Kaye, tailor, Spring Grove Street, was charged on remand with stealing a quantity of cloth, the property of Samuel Taylor, of Buxton Road ; and his mother, Annie Elizabeth Kaye, was charged with receiving the cloth well knowing it to have been stolen. Mr. W. Armitage appeared for the defence. The case was partly gone into on Friday, and additional evidence was now called. From what was stated by the witnesses, it appeared that the prisoner Edgar had for some time been in the employment of the prosecutor, his duty being to give out work and to receive it from the different workpeople when completed. A quantity of cloth, to the value of £4, which was produced, was the property of the prosecutor. The prisoner Edgar disposed of two pieces of cloth to Mrs. Lucas, telling her he was selling them for his master. He also attempted to dispose of another piece by means of a lad named Fred Lucas, but Mr. Field, pawnbroker, to whom the cloth was offered, detained it, and handed it over to the police. When charged with the offence by Police Constable Tunnacliffe at the police office, the prisoner Edgar admitted the charge. On Wednesday morning last Mrs. Kaye went to Mr. Field’s shop, and saw Fred Brook, assistant, with reference to the cloth which had been detained, and said, “The cloth is all right. We gave him permission to sell it. His father bought it from his uncle John at Birkby.” On the 10th ult., when James Mitchell, greengrocer, Summer Street, Lockwood, was going round with his vegetables, Mrs. Kaye called him in, and showed him a piece of cloth, telling him that her husband was a traveller, and had brought that cloth for her to sell. She wanted 11s. for it, and agreed to take it half in money and half in vegetables. On those conditions be bought it, and subsequently pawned it with Mr. Briggs, of Folly Hall. Samuel Whiteley, bookkeeper to the prosecutor, identified the cloth produced as Mr. Taylor’s by the private mark it bore. Sarah Hellawell, widow, who keeps the Grove Inn, Spring Grove Street, bought some cloth from Mrs. Kaye on January 20th for 10s. She told her that her husband had got it for her son, but it was too dark a pattern for him, and therefore it was quite a bargain. Mr. Armitage felt a great difficulty as to the course he should pursue, for the evidence was unanswerable. Mr. Kaye was a man of the highest respectability, and to him the matter came like a thunder-clap. After the evidence he advised his clients to plead guilty, and throw themselves on the mercy of the court. In answer to the formal charge both pleaded guilty. The Magistrates retired for a short time, and upon their return the Mayor said that both be and his brother Justices had every sympathy with Mr. Kaye, but they were there to administer justice. There was no other way of dealing with the matter than by sending the lad to Wakefield for two months and the mother for one month. The Chief Constable said he was only doing justice to Mr. Kaye to say that during all his enquiries be had not heard anything which would lead him to believe that the father had any knowledge of the matter, and he was quite satisfied that Mr. Kaye did not know anything of what was going on, and that his character was as irreproachable in this matter as it had been in all other matters. With respect to Mr. Field he felt that it was his duty to call the attention of the Bench to the prompt way in which be acted in the matter when the cloth was offered to him in pawn by someone who he thought was not likely to have right dealings with it. If all other people would act in a similar way they would have fewer of such miserable scenes as they had in the court that morning, and a far less number of thieves.