One of the very earliest public houses is curently traced back to when the 1811 Derby Mercury announced a property auction,
At the house of Mr. Samuel Butterworth, known by the Sign of the Gate, in Hucknall-under-Huthwaite. Earliest local Gazetteers confirm the Butterworth name extended into 1828, before the transfer and renaming from The Gate to The Portland Arms next comes under the Bower family name.
Samuel is the most recent discovery preceding earliest 1828 trade directory that had first named John Butterworth as publican at The Gate. Becoming run shortly after by Samuel Bower, a second entry dated 1832 offers first reference to the newly named Portland Arms.
Whilst Huthwaite still only maintained a few pubs, renaming The Gate is clearly suggested under Bowers occupancy. Original name does seem descriptive for the time when being sited upon the main highway, actually edging originally smaller hamlet boundaries. A landmark building defining earliest division entering Sutton, before housing fully lined the road, and our own parish borders became extended as noted by Kellys 1912 directory.
There's little doubt behind why choosing name for The Portland Arms. The titled Dukes of Portland were the ruling Lord, here covered by their ancient Mansfield Manor. Many pub names show older allegiance to crown, or its powerful land owning representatives. Timing does coincide with the current Duke taking responsibility for setting out some major area improvements, specifically marking full width for surfacing this main through road to Mansfield. Becoming addressed upon Sutton Road, The Portland Arms stood high atop corner of Skegby Road facing Mill Lane witnessing some remarkable changes by spanning at least 189 known years.
While the hamlet made rapid 19th century advancements, the Portland Arms remained within the Bower family. We can now compare this properties earliest 20th century transformation from image above revealing tram lines laid from 1907. This postcard still shows tramlines that ran into 1932, but after extensive and a more recognisable make over. Research now determines the Portland Arms was bought by the Shipstone Brewery in 1909, more procisely dating its then fashionable mock Tudor frontage.
Conveyance papers identify Emlyn Bower as the licensed victualler of the Portland Arms Inn, who seems to profit well from its sale among land measuring 3r and 12p including outbuildings and two cottages. Vested interest is shared by a Huthwaite builder perhaps more notably named Edwin Howard Lowe. Emlyn claims farmer titled when next acquiring land for her new home in area forming Lime Avenue.
Uniquely owned in Huthwaite by James Shipstone and Sons Ltd of the Star Brewery, Basford, the
Shipo's beers were not as widely favoured against Nottingham Home Ales, or more numerous Mansfield Brewery houses. Mark Fittall offers years around 1967 to 1970 when his parents Reg and Doreen took over tenancy, long before he and his brother Robert separately moved abroad. Several other family names could well be associated once running the pub short term, although a 1980's brewery update offered its most successful period by adding kichens to the layout. It shows some change in colour through later years when passed by annual Whit walkers.
It proudly kept the first pool table when I recall occasional visits prior its much needed modernisation. A total revamp added inside toilets, and regular entertainment encouraged broader popularity successfully managed by Keith and Sue. Changing hands several times saw out the inevitabe decline following coal mining closures.
Residents were nevertheless, quite shocked at witnessing 2000 demolition of this historic landmark. Brian Hayes gives us a final look at the property being cleared, which opened up room for 2002 housing.
Good to find oversea readers also attracted into sharing this local interests. Especially being sent this nostalgic view of the original Portland Arms pub sign. Bernd Frost lives in Portland Canada where it is offered a newly addressed lease of life, shown proudly hanging upon his home barn
Written 15 Dec 04 Revised 21 Feb 14 © by Gary Elliott