The Shoulder of Mutton was one of the very earliest Hucknall Huthwaite beer houses to emerge with recognisable sign. Final 2002 closure ended a currently known 174 years. Far earlier licensed use seems highly probable, just as yet undiscovered.
Trade directories basically identified 19th century publicans beginning 1828. Farmer Thomas Marshall so far dates earliest claim, further confirmed in August 1829, when his house at sign of the Shoulder of Mutton hosted an auction for several Hucknall Huthwaite cottager dwellings.
Following year finds Timothy Woodhead has taken over. He hosts an 1833 inquest into accidental death of a two year old Mary Trueman among Mellors pit, conducted by Coroner Chris Swann. This shows another common use for pubs able to accommodate larger meetings. His 1853 listing identifies how it served twin trades as butcher, which gives likely associated reason for the initial choice of pub naming. Their slaughterhouse kept supporting beer sales throughout same longer term keep by Joseph Clay.
Just before claiming first of several gazetteer entries, Joseph is titled Inn Keeper from 1861 census, furthermore claiming to hold 29 acres of Hucknall-under-Huthwaite farmland. Fact he provided lodgings gains 1863 mention from a trial detailing some excellent police work to convict sheep rustlers. Genealogy pages reveal marriage to Miss Mary Swallows naming children William, John, Sarah and Annie. Clay grandchildren are also all named when last living next door according to 1891 census.
Family addressing offering Pit Lane is just another descriptive alternative to an otherwise recognised Hopkin Lane. A postcard recognises Church Street temporarily, explained by dating soon after building the first village school house a little further below what has since been called Blackwell Road. A cow shed or the slaughter house can be sighted in right foreground, but unfortunately and very surprisingly, not the prominently positioned original Inn.
Good reason for not being shown comes through documentation from the Duke of Portland estate. Purchasing formerly leased land off a titled Lord of the Manor finds buyers interest between 1897-98 representing a Home Brewery Company Limited
Permission for a 1912 rebuilding created far larger premises featuring fashionable mock Tudor facade befitting many a public house. That would therefore present a familiar modernised landmark ever since.
Home Ales removed the Shoulders former dual trade in butchery, yet most landlords still relied on a second income. Running the breweries pub in 1900 identifies Edward Parr with drug stores. A London Gazette reported misfortune of many bankruptcy hearings, which found James Barker in 1911:- Residing at Main-street, Awsworth, Notts, lately residing and trading at Newcastle Arms, High-street, Basford, Nottingham, and previously residing and trading at The Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire.
The resulting Home Breweries vastly superior accommodation gave later tenants much better chance of earning a respectable living. A few more names are discovered in dated directories before last known 1941 publication branches into my families interest from being run by William Rutter. Their granddaughter, Mrs Mary Magee shows and actually recalled Bill and Florence Rutter running this pub, where their daughter Kathleen met and wed Ronald Elliott. Ron was my grandfathers brother, raised in facing terraced properties neighbouring a Miss Bett Renshaw, whom, coincidentally similarly relates another later publican. Her husband Mr Roger Abbott recalls parents took over the Shoulder from Peaches, precisely dating Everett George and Eunice Abbott between years 1955-1963.
Obituary for Mr J Sikes discovered a 65 year old John was born at the Shoulder of Mutton circa 1947. I'm sure other family names could claim past association, such as a vaguely suggested Griffiths before Eric and Irene Crump claimed long remembered keep.
This pub did of course host various social and group meetings while entertaining several popular sports. Huthwaite West End FC joined the local football league in 1933 with headquarters based here. On a serious matter, the Shoulder of Mutton Death and Dividing Club held a vested interest respecting at least one known residents reported 1940 death. Nonetheless, most customers simply sought a happier time, or familiar retreat as a rewarding break from working hours. Competitions like 1935 best gentleman's buttonhole were staged between annual shows for vegetables and flowers who'd face fierce rivalry from reputed celery and onion growers. Harking back to jolly concert sing songs, a piano was barely used after seeing introduction of 45rpm Jukebox records.
Upper floor catered for private parties, such as many a wedding reception. All pub singing became enhanced through karaoke machines. Darts, dominoes, skittles and then pool teams joined pub leagues, entertaining 1970s home game visitors with basic choice of either cheese or bread and dripping sandwiches.
Awaiting a 1950's coach outing fronts a corner entrance door initially giving separate access to an off licence counter. Long bricked up before my 1975 visits during the Crump era. A small hatch to fill jugs and serve out bottles then faced main front entrance, served from tap room end a central bar. A brief period working behind the bar realised bottles of stout were a popular take out. Elderly tap room regulars generally favoured Homes Ales dark mild. Bitter or mix suited most males before choice of lighter lagers gained greater appeal among younger drinkers, especially women if sweetened by lime or blackcurrant cordial.
These premises were included in 1986 transferal when Home Brewery sold out to big brewery giants Scottish & Newcastle. Faye Griffin confirms her four years as landlady spanned that changeover, capturing very happy times. The outdated Home Brewery sign next lost their Robin Hood logo as the new larger company dissolved the entire brand towards closing that Arnold factory.
Numerous managers made eager attempts to keep reopening this business through the 1990s. The entire pub trade was suffering, so they actually did well to keep opening its doors. Despite a liberal coating of purple paint, the Shoulder of Mutton inevitably finally closed in 2002. Opportunity to purchase was taken by members of Ashfield Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Their conversion into a private club house manages to still present this historic property, clearly benefiting externally through all their major renovations.