Lydbrook, The Jovial Colliers 1895.
This postcard was dated 1895. The dress of the road gang suggests that they were not local men. The Steam Roller is certainly drawing much local interest. Alfred Jones name appears on the sign. The front of the pub now has bay windows. In 1895 beers and ciders were drawn "from the wood". The Jovials would have served men from Lydbrook Deep Navigation "Pit", probably railway workers and certainly men of the Lydbrook Chemical Works (closed 1919). The "Stewery" the local name for the chemical works was immediately to the left of the Jovials. The works produced wood distillation products i.e. charcoal, lampblack, naphtha, plumbago to name a few. The charcoal was ground so fine it was used to make biscuits for symptomatic relief of indigestion as well as for filtering media. The miners from the deep pit "Arthur and Edward" (or Waterloo) would call in for a drink at the end of the shift, or even on the way in!. Less then 200 yards from the Jovials on Church Hill stood the Crown and Sceptre Inn whilst 200 yards up the main road stood the Queens Head - 3 pubs within a stone's throw!. The Jovials had a skittle alley in the rear. During the second world war it was used as a .22 rifle range for the Home Guard. The Little Howbrook stream runs at the side of the inn, this would often get blocked and cause flooding of the inn. On the opposite side of the road in the middle 1930's a high retaining wall was built for the Recreation Ground and among commemorative stones which were laid was one by the Duke of Kent. The Duke was later sadly killed in an air crash.
Emily Harman added (May 2015): "... Alfred James Jones [b.1851] was my great grandfather's brother. He first went to work at the Tin Mill, but by 1891 he was the Innkeeper at the Jovial Colliers Inn. He was married to Emma Meek [b. 1857]. They had 9 children. His younger brother, Leonard Charles Jones [b. 1856] was also an Innkeeper and Licensed Victualler at the White Hart Inn in 1900. Their older sister's husband, James Barter, was the Innkeeper at the Fleece Inn for a short period of time around 1881. Their older brother, William Jones[b.1848] was the Innkeeper and Licensed Victualler at the Prince of Wales Inn until his death around 1901. Since my great grandfather [their brother] immigrated to America in 1881, I really have very little information about his siblings".
- Ken W Sollars.
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