Public Houses in East & West Molesey
Rowland G. M. Baker, 1981
Walton Road, West Molesey
The traveller's Friend formerly stood on the corner of Walton Road, opposite West Molesey church, where the post office and grocer's shop now stands. Together with four cottages alongside it was erected sometime after 1809 , and became a beerhouse about the middle of the last century.
The earliest reference to it by name that the present writer can find occurs in 1857, but by then it appears to have been founded for some time. On 7 March of that year the following advertisement appeared:-
"To let - An old established Beer-house near the Hampton Race Course, with good stabling and every convenience, doing a good trade and situated in a good position for improving the business. Satisfactory reasons given for leaving - Rent low - Fixtures to be taken at valuation - Apply to Mr. Ward, Traveller's Friend, West Moulsey, Surrey" .
In 1870, when beerhouse keepers first had to apply annually to the magistrates for a certificate of approval before their license could be renewed, the bench granted the certificate, but only after their worships had given the landlord a strict warning to be very particular not to engage in Sunday trading . Apparently at this time the licensee, William Heirsey, combined the business of beer retailing with that of butcher, in the same house. Selling beer on one side of the passage and meat on the other.
In 1871 the Lambeth Water Company obtained Parliamentary sanction to build reservoirs and water works in the far north-western corner of West Molesey parish, between the River Thames and Hurst Road, and to lay pipes through the middle of the village to take the water to Long Ditton to be treated. As part of an agreement arrived at between the Parish Vestry and the water company, the company consented, whilst doing the work, to purchase the whole site, demolish the five houses, including the Traveller's Friend, widen the road, and tidy up the whole corner on completion of the work .
The house was conveyed to the water company on 8 April 1872 . By August the house had been demolished, the pipes laid, and the water was flowing on its long way from West Molesey to the houses of the thirsty metropolitan masses .
The landlord endeavoured to get the license transferred to an adjacent house, but without success . Henceforth the Traveller's Friend disappears from the annuls of West Molesey.
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