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Do you remember The Beehive Inn on Carr Street?

PUBLISHED: 13:30 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:44 03 July 2020

Sarah's grandfather Eric Hughes serving customers from behind the bar of The Beehive Inn during his time as landlord Picture: Sarah Brill

Sarah's grandfather Eric Hughes serving customers from behind the bar of The Beehive Inn during his time as landlord Picture: Sarah Brill

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Sarah Brill has spent the last 15 years researching her family’s history - and uncovering how much of a pivotal role they played in the Ipswich pub circuit.

The Beehive Inn, at the corner of Carr Street and Upper Orwell Street, which was run by Sarah Brill's family. Pictured here in the 1950s, it was closed in March 1960 and subsequently demolished Picture: David KindredThe Beehive Inn, at the corner of Carr Street and Upper Orwell Street, which was run by Sarah Brill's family. Pictured here in the 1950s, it was closed in March 1960 and subsequently demolished Picture: David Kindred

Keen to uncover her family history, Sarah Brill, of Ipswich, first took an interest in her roots around 15 years ago. “I was talking with my grandma and heard the name Beckerleg. I was intrigued by it, and then saw an old photograph of my great-great grandfather Arthur James Beckerleg. From there, I knew I wanted to learn more about him and all of my past relatives,” she said.

Armed with her notebook, Sarah spent time talking to her grandparents and father so she could get a clearer picture of her family history and where she came from. “I chatted with them to get as much information as I could, such as names and dates of birth.

“I then made the most out of my free weeks on Ancestry.co.uk when you first sign up – but I wasn’t fully prepared for the jigsaw that needed piecing together. Names came up with dates that didn’t match, but most of these turned out to be family just a generation or two further back,” she explained.

In her search, Sarah learned that her grandmother was born in Redruth, Cornwall – this then led her to uncover a range of surnames on her family tree. “I came across some fantastic names linked to my bloodline such as Barzillai, Bosswasack and Smitham to name a few.”

Sarah Brill, centre. She has spent the last 15 years uncovering her family's history and their links to the Ipswich pub circuit. Pictured far left is her father Tom Picture: Sarah BrillSarah Brill, centre. She has spent the last 15 years uncovering her family's history and their links to the Ipswich pub circuit. Pictured far left is her father Tom Picture: Sarah Brill

“My great grandmother Grace Morcom Beckerleg married Richard Smitham Tremayne, and had three children - Diana, Richard and my grandmother Louie.

“Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t work out - I’ve heard stories that it was due to an interfering mother-in-law,” added Sarah.

Wanting to start afresh, Grace decided it was time to get out of the West Country – and Ipswich looked to be a viable option.

“Arthur had moved to Ipswich and was running a pub called The Vine, so Grace made the decision to head there with her three children and help run The Beehive Inn on Carr Street.

Louie Hughes, Sarah's grandmother and daughter of Grace Beckerleg Picture: Sarah BrillLouie Hughes, Sarah's grandmother and daughter of Grace Beckerleg Picture: Sarah Brill

“At the time, a woman couldn’t hold the licence without a man being on the premises, so she held it alongside her brother Tom Raby Beckerleg.

“When Tom passed away, my grandfather moved in as a lodger, so there was still a male living on the premises. Grace’s brother William John Beckerleg was the licence holder of The Feathers on Westgate Street, whereas Arthur then took over the licence of The Royal George, and then went onto the Duke of Gloucester on Clapgate Lane.”

With a raft of public houses under their name, the Beckerleg family continued to grow their pub dynasty within the town. “My grandmother Louie then met my grandfather Eric Gordon Hughes and in time, my grandfather took over The Beehive from Grace, who had left to take over The White Elm on Bishops Hill,” she added.

Sarah’s grandparents were the last landlords of The Beehive Inn and left in 1960, after having raised three children there - Paul, Jane and Sarah’s father Thomas.

Grace Beckerleg, Sarah's great grandmother, behind the bar at The Beehive Inn Picture: Sarah BrillGrace Beckerleg, Sarah's great grandmother, behind the bar at The Beehive Inn Picture: Sarah Brill

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The family moved into the Live and Let Live on Wherstead Road, where they had their fourth child, Bridget, and stayed there until their retirement in the mid-1980s.

For Sarah, the mere mention of these Ipswich pubs brings back huge waves of childhood nostalgia.

“I am lucky that I have some wonderful memories of growing up there, spending weekends and holidays in these pubs,” she explained.

Sarah's grandfather Eric Hughes serving customers from behind the bar of The Beehive Inn during his time as landlord Picture: Sarah BrillSarah's grandfather Eric Hughes serving customers from behind the bar of The Beehive Inn during his time as landlord Picture: Sarah Brill

“Although they were very busy, grandma and grandad always made time for their grandchildren. There was only one rule though - we were never allowed in the bar when it was open, so I was never able to see the actual running of the pub.”

Sarah has recently taken to going through old photographs of the Live and Let Live pub with her father, learning about some of the customers and hearing the stories of what went on.

“My grandad was so proud of how he kept his pub - he would make sure everything was just perfect. I’ve loved hearing how much my grandparents were liked by so many on ‘Ipswich Remembers’.”

Ipswich Remembers is a Facebook group comprised of over 26,000 members who come together to share local tales and photographs from years gone by.

Eric Hughes with his skiffle band in The Beehive Picture: Sarah BrillEric Hughes with his skiffle band in The Beehive Picture: Sarah Brill

“My grandma was very well-known for her wicked sense of humour by everyone who met her, and luckily that humour was passed down to her children, her grandchildren and now her great-grandchildren,” added Sarah.

As time has gone on, sadly many of the pubs that the Beckerleg/Hughes dynasty had under their belt have since been demolished – with only The Royal George still stood to this day.

“It would have been so nice to have gone in and had a drink in some of these pubs that I have family links to, especially The Beehive,” Sarah said.

A few years back, Sarah, along with her husband and parents decided to spent a weekend in Cornwall visiting her family’s graves and birthplaces, in order to see where it all began.

Eric, Louie and Grace Picture: Sarah BrillEric, Louie and Grace Picture: Sarah Brill

“Although I never got to meet my ancestors, I found standing by their graves quite emotional, as on this journey I feel like I’ve got to know them. But there was none more emotional than standing outside the birthplace of my beloved grandma.

“It was a magical moment, standing outside her birthplace and talking to her on the phone, telling her where we were,” said Sarah.

With a rich ancestral history that originated in Cornwall and migrated over to Ipswich, Sarah’s family well and truly put the Beckerleg stamp on the town and its pub scene.

Do you or your family remember drinking in any of these Ipswich pubs? Or do you have an interesting ancestral story to tell? Email to share your story.


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