An alternative Hertford pub crawl in as much as none of the pubs below still exist. More of a history tour.
Follows the same route as Hidden Hertford. Google map available here.
Begin from opposite Hertford Museum in Bull Plain; although the beauty of the Hidden Hertford tour is that you can start and end anywhere along the circular route and still be able to stop for refreshments at any point along the way.
The Bull Inn replaced a much larger pub which had stood in Maidenhead Street.
The pub closed in 1917 but used as retail premises since.
Once home to Hertford Cameras it was then occupied by a bridal shop, Dress in Love which has since closed in 2019.
Turning right at Hinds you will pass Dophin Yard on your right.
Glove and Dolphin
There was a pub here since 1621 called the Glove and changed to the Glove and Dolphin in 1680. Destroyed by fire at the turn of the twentieth century it was replaced with shops and the area extended to the river to house Hertford Library and new apartments whilst retaining the original name of Dolphin Yard.
It was at the centre of a famous Hertford murder mystery – of Sarah Stout in 1699.
Almost opposite is Honey Lane.
The Old Coffee House stood on the corner of Maidenhead Street and Honey Lane.
It was closed in 1936 and two years later converted to shops and a snooker hall.
There have been various tenants in recent years but currently occupied by Keech Childrens Charity (2019).
Walk up Maidenhead Street, turn right and up to Old Cross and along St Andrew Street.
The Three Tuns
Prior to 17th century this was called the Black Lyon.
The current name appears in 1781.
The pub went through a series of owners and uses but was eventually turned into a Thai restaurant in 2003.
Owners and drinkers have experienced seeing the ghost of a young girl which passes through a wall in the bar and climbs a nonexistent staircase.
Retrace your steps back to Old Cross and turn left at the War Memorial into Fore Street.
White Swan Inn
The White Swan is first mentioned in 1774 and closed in 1909.
It is now Gays newsagents.
Continue along Fore Street and you will find yourself outside Il Vino’.
The Talbot Arms
The Talbot opened around 1832. It was closed in 1966.
The original signage on the stone balcony still bears the name. It has been the home for several retailers but is now Il Vino, an Italian restaurant.
In 2004 I was contacted by John Batchelor who had read an earlier page of mine concerning Hertford’s pubs. Amidst information on his family when they had run this pub (which was part of the MacMullen estate) he mentioned this:
“I recall very little of that year (1944) at the Talbot, but have been told that it was a lively pub drawing a great deal of custom from locally-stationed American and Canadian servicemen, many of whom were regulars until for the worst of reasons they failed to appear next night.”
“A few years ago I visited the scented gift shoppe (The Decorated Room?) that has now occupied the front of the old Talbot. They have a basement section which used to be the cellar, and there is an alcove or storage area close to the steps which used to be the Gents’ toilet and which doubled as our frequently visited air-raid shelter back in 1944-5. It had retained a detectable characteristic odour of stale, beery urine which brought back memories of my family huddled together in fear and listening for flying bombs and rocket explosions.”
Look across the road
In place in 1710. In the early twentieth century it was known as the Old Queens Head.
It was closed in 1956.
On the second floor there are two roundels sets into the brickwork; Queen Elizabeth 1 and Queen Victoria.
Walk to the end of Fore Street.
There has been a pub here since 1711.
The name has changed many times; Hospital House and Warehouse.
In 1990 it was closed and demolished to make way for an office block.
Cross the road and retrace your steps back along Fore Street and turn right into Salisbury Square.
Originally known as the Coal Hole between 1817 and 1858.
Rebuilt in 1896 and in use until 1972 when it converted to retail use.
Turn right at Bull Plain back to Hertford Museum.
A wealth of information on Hertford’s pubs, old and new, along with breweries can be found in an excellent book: ‘One For The Road – a History of Hertford Pubs’ by Les Middlewood, design and layout by Holly Rapley.
This was a limited print run and may still be available from Hertford Museum.
More articles on Hertford:
Hertford the county town, Folly Island, Hidden Hertford, Old Barge Pub, Brewing in Hertford, Easter, Fore Street, Eccentric Clergy, Hertford Library, Hertford 1861, Tunnels of Hertford, Sarah Stout, Closed pubs
CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2021also lists some prominent Hertford pubs.