The Prince of Wales

prince of wales 1935The first reference we have to Prince of Wales is in a London Gazetter report of "Proceedings at the Old Bailey, dated  August 24th 1869, in which" James Robinson of the Prince of Wales, Oatlands Park, Walton on Thame, in the County of Surrey, Beer-house Keeper and Cab Master" is reported as having been declared bancrupt three days earlier, so it it reasonable to assume that the pub had opened some time earlier, though we currently have no evidence to support that.

Obviously James Robinson sorted out his problems as the 1871 Census shows him listed as "Beer Retailer and Fly Master" - in other words he was running a taxi or delivery business as well as the pub. Wikipedia defines a Fly as: "a horse-drawn public coach or delivery wagon, especially one let out for hire. In Britain, the term also referred to a light covered vehicle, such as a single-horse pleasure carriage or a hansom cab".

With James are his wife Mary, daughters Louisa and Fanny and his son Frank. There are also an eleven year old visitor, Elizabeth Messer, and two lodgers - Charles Cossey, a coachman (maybe employed by James) and Elizabeth Foster who is listed as a 'gardener's wife'.

In the Post Office Directory for 1878 the pub is shown as being run by Arthur Wyeth and he continued doing this until at least 1892 when his name appears in "Detailed Returns - Fully Licenced Houses and Beer Houses" for Surrey.

Arthur Wyeth also puts in an appearance at the Old Bailey but under very different circumstances to James Robinson. On the 2nd of August 1881 he's there identifying his stolen watch at the trial, for burglary and theft, of Charles Matthews, William Seares, Charles Smith, George Leonard and Theresa Williams. This is an absolutely fascinating read and a real glimpse of life at the time - read it here. (opens in new window)

By the time of the 1901 Census, Charles Coles had taken over and was superseded by Frank Gibbins who is listed in the 1911 Census and Kelly's Directory for 1913. The next confirmation we have is Kelly's Directory of 1938 which shows Harwood Letcher (yes, honestly) as being the landlord.

Walter ("Wally") and Grace ("Queenie") Roper took over the pub from William Croxall on the 16th of December 1959, having moved from The Sailor's Home in St Mary's Road, and were granted a "Spirits Licence" in February 1960. Wally died towards the end of 1963 and Queenie held the licence by default until it was taken over by their son in law, Bran Allen, who ran the pub together with the Roper's daughter "Patsy" for many years, in October 1968..
prince of wales 1980s

Somewhen around the spring of 1983 rhe brewery (Ind Coope) decided to sell  the pub and Brian Allen relinquished the licence at the end of June.  The Prince was closed and boarded up for a short while until the licence was taken up by the new owner, Roger Day, on the 15th of July. He held the licence until it was transferred to Kevin Macready in February 1984 and he subsequently sold the pub to John Eales in October of the same year.

John Eales held the licence in his own name until July 1987 when he was joined in the venture as a joint licence with Brian Hall.

The present pub is a comfortable Free House.

The website for The Prince of Wales is here.(opens in new window)