Devonshire Arms 1945-1972 – A Short History

1945-1955- licensee- Mr Tom Broomhead (died 1955) and Mrs Jennie Broomhead (nee Gould previously of Red Lion and Charles Cotton). There are many photographs of the back garden area, often used for wedding receptions, as well as group photographs.

1955-1972- licensee -Mr Archie Nadin (died 1961) and Mrs Lillian Florence Nadin with 3 daughters Elizabeth (Liz), Alice and Josephine (Josie). The brewery which owned the public house was Ind Cope of Burton; they decided to do major structural indoor alterations in 1966. This resulted in the loss of the Little snug -r converted into the Ladies toilet. The loss of the family living room and the Smoke room which were converted into the lounge bar; all other rooms remained the same as they had been including the cellar.

To ensure the temperature for the beer was maintained in the winter – Aladdin Paraffin heaters were used; the paraffin fetched from Bassett’s garage across the road. The only heating throughout the pub before 1966 was coal fires. These were only lit when customers were in the room. Consequently, it was very cold so when Liz needed to revise for her GCSE -O and A levels she would sit in the cellar with the paraffin heaters to keep warm.

The memorabilia on the shelves here were used by those who managed the cellar and beer barrels on the still. When Archie Nadin died Lilian Nadin took on the licence and received help in managing the bar and cellar by Bill Dawson from Alsop Moor, at weekends. The eldest daughter, who was now 14, soon learnt how to tap barrels, check how much beer was left in the barrel with the dipstick and clean the pipes. The middle daughter later supported her mother in the kitchen and soon became an excellent cook following her mother’s footsteps. The reputation of the Afternoon/High teas as well as Sunday lunches was well known. Barton buses would bring visitors to the village, they would have booked afternoon tea and be seated in the dining room area. Walter Holloway also supported the running of the pub changing the barrels when needed. Most Saturdays there would be music around the piano, as well as a domino school in the corner of the tap room by the fire. Regulars were Fred Howson, Joe Gibbs, Bill Shipley ;   the darts team played in the Devonshire League- stalwarts of the team –

Jack Sutton, Dennis Howson, Ken Watson, Dennis Shipley,

During the time of Tom and Jennie, a gentleman- from Longnor- Walter Mellor ( Glizz) would do odd job at the weekend, this arrangement continued with the Nadin family and continued until he died. He had his own seat in the tap room next to the fire. His drink was a pint of mild which sat on the mantlepiece; when painting and decorating the mark his pint pot had made was painted around. He would arrive on the North Western Bus and return home on the last bus at 9.30pm ~ On Sunday afternoon he would go down Factory Lane for a sleep. One evening the bus driver “forgot” to pick Walter up; realising this when he got to the Mill Bridge, he reversed back to the Devonshire Arms to collect him.

During the summer ,on some Sundays the Silver Band would play outside the Devonshire -chairs were brought out from the dining room, half way through the programme they would receive a glass of beer, poured from a big jug. The big drum was played by Bernard Sutton from Reapsmoor, he would let some of the children have a go at beating the drum when they had finished.

The snug was used for the annual Christmas Club pay out which was conducted by Mr Arthur Slater who lived at the house at the back part of Pool Hall. There was a “hatch” in the back corner of the Tap room which was where the village policeman would wait to ensure that Arthur was not “mugged”. His wait was made more enjoyable with a couple of “Gold Labels” to keep him warm. Arthur was the father of Mrs Irene Wibley, he was also a church warden with Nelson Adams and rang the 3 bells at church – Liz Nadin and Sheila Hall would also help to ring the bells.

The Smoke Room was the “posh” area- Sports meetings were held here, with Mr Rowarth, Ted Hall, Arthur Gee, Les Morson and many more. When the weather was bad in the winter- children waiting for the North Western bus to take them to Buxton College(boys) and Cavendish Grammar school (girls), would wait in this room.

At the base of the stairs, leading to the ladies toilet, “residents lounge” and store room where Bill Dawson would sleep on a Saturday night, was a coin box Phone – with the A and B buttons. Johnny Howard would ring up the horse racing bookies on a Saturday morning. When it was the grand national he would organise a sweep stake.

Record Office Findings 1972

The earliest reference we can find, to the Devonshire Arms is in 1846 when John Lomas was licensee. At this date there were three public houses in Hartington, the Devonshire Arms, Bull’s Head and Red Lion. In 1829 there were also three public houses, the Bull’s Head, Red Lion and. Three Stags Heads. This suggests that the Devonshire Arms was previously known as the Three Stags Heads, a suggestion which is further supported by the fact that Three Stags Heads feature on the Coat of Arms of the Dukes of Devonshire. I am afraid that we can give no information as to the date when the pub first came into existence but as the Dukes of Devonshire have been Lords of the Manor of Hartington since 1663 it is possible that the name of the pub dates back to the 17th century.

John Lomas was still licensee in 1857 when he is also described as a cheese factor. Subsequent licensees are: 1860, Mary Mellor; 1891, John Richard Percival; 1895, Thomas Harrison; 1908, John Harrison; 1922, Ernest Johnson; 1932, Frederick Palfreyman and 1941, John Sheldon.


Pictures from the mid 20th century

Pictures from the eary 21st century

1901 Census Information - Devonshire Arms

Name & SurnameRelationshipSexAgeOccupationBirthplaceNotes / Comments
John HarrisonHeadM41InkeeperReapsmoor, Staffs
Mary Jan HarrisonWife
Madeleine H HarrisonDaughterF14Sheen
Mary SherrattServantF27Domestic ServantHartington