The Old Cock

A pub in different locations since 1639

By Rosemary Ross

Information drawn from (Harpenden) History Publishing Society/WEA volumes IV and V of 'Wheathampstead and Harpenden'.

Photo:The Old Cock, c.1900 - advertising its beer from Glover's Harpenden Brewery

The Old Cock, c.1900 - advertising its beer from Glover's Harpenden Brewery

LHS archives - LHS 036

In 1790 one Harpenden inn was described as the "White Hart lately known by the Sign of the George, and now by the Sign of the Cock". A Cock inn was mentioned in 1639, but where it was is uncertain. The Old Bell, Cock, Cross Keys, George, Sun and White Hart exchanged names and possibly sites with bewildering frequency.(op.cit. p.167)

Originally a three-bay two-storey timber-framed C17 house with internal chimney stack between the Hall and Parlour, but little of the timber-framing remains on the ground-floor, having been replaced with moulded plastic. The ceiling beam of the parlour is chamfered and stopped at the chimney. There is a brick extension at the NW end providing an entry lobby and alcove. There are brick extensions at the rear. The whole building is cased in brick with dentilled eaves (similar to the Cross Keys).

Like The George, the gardens of the Cock were used for the very popular 'Beanfeasts' when people from as far away as London would take a trip by charabance for a 'feast' at one of Harpenden's pubs or inns.(op.cit. p. 186). Joseph Trustram, landlord of the Cock around 1851 hired out threshing 'tackle' with a team of six horses to local farmers. He was also a carpenter (op.cit.p.193;200). Thomas Walker, landlord in the 1890s, was listed as a wheelwright. Like the Red Lion and the Silver Cup, the Cock had its own Friendly Society during the C19.(op.cit.p.224). The Cock was a pick-up point for the Luton to London coach service, until this was superceded by the arrival of the railways in the 1860s.

Running a pub in past centuries seems to have been just as precarious trade as now, and landlords needed supplementary income.

Photo:The Old Cock in the 1970s

The Old Cock in the 1970s

LHS archives - LHS 08

Photo:The Old Cock Inn in the 1980s

The Old Cock Inn in the 1980s

LHA archives - LHS 880



LHS archives - LHS 879

Photo:The Old Cock in 2008

The Old Cock in 2008

LHS archives - LFC LHS 10,549

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 31/03/2013.