The Exeter Arms is one of Derby’s oldest pubs with a long history of brewing lasting until 1970. It illustrates how small pubs were at the time of WWI. Even in the 1960s it was tiny, just the bar area without the openings either side of the fireplace that were made when it was extended into the cottage next door sometime later. (The extension into the third cottage is even more recent.)
The cosy snug illustrated was originally the domestic kitchen. Sadly, the top of the backs of the wooden settles in the illustration below were shortened some years ago.
The Exeter also provides another example of a licensee, in this case Arthur Jackson, trying to get around the DORA regulations (see DWWIPP-2). In July 1915, Jackson was brought before the borough magistrates charged with concealing brewing wort in an attempt to avoid paying duty. Although he and his brewer had a story up their sleeves, the magistrates were unconvinced and fined Jackson £3.
The day had started well enough. The excise officer had been notified of a brew taking place and visited the pub to calculate the duty to be paid. However, after completing his examination of the brew and brewing books he “happened” to visit the stables and discovered buckets containing eight gallons of undeclared wort.
Jackson denied knowledge of the excess and referred the officer to his brewer, Mr Bradbury. Eventually Bradbury admitted he had left the wort in the stable. The brew had, he explained, produced more beer than the cellar could hold so he had put the excess in buckets in the stable. It would normally be emptied into the swill tub, but that had developed a leak.
Jackson and Bradbury argued that if they had been attempting to hide the excess the stable would have been locked, not left open. The farmer who took the Exeter’s swill as animal feed confirmed that it often contained waste beer. The eight gallons of beer would have sold for about £2.
Although much-extended, the Exeter Arms has retained its small rooms and remains a charming and popular pub.
Details of its opening hours and facilities can be found using the CAMRA Good Beer Guide app. This can be obtained free of charge (basic version) at https://gbgapp.camra.org.uk/ or (free of charge) from WhatPub at https://whatpub.com/
This Wonder is one of a series of thirteen researched by the Derby World War One Pubs Project (DWWIPP). In describing the wonders, we also develop an underlying narrative on how the war lastingly affected pubs and the brewing industry, and society itself. For this reason, it may be preferable to read them in sequence, DWWIPP-1 to DWWIPP-13.
The thirteen wonders in this series and other stories featuring the effects of WWI on pubs and breweries can be found in a special Armistice Centenary Edition of Derby CAMRA’s magazine, Derby Drinker. It, and the current edition, can be downloaded free of charge at https://derby.camra.org.uk/derby-drinker/DerbyDrinker/DerbyDrinker_WW1special.pdf . You can also download an ‘Ale Trail’ leaflet featuring the thirteen Wonders in this series from https://derby.camra.org.uk/
The DWWIPP team are grateful for the support and encouragement of many organizations and individuals, in particular to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and all National Lottery players, for the funding; the Derby Branch CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale); the Derby Local Studies and Family History Library; and the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (Wonders of the Peak).
Images may be subject to copyright.