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The Fiddlers Arms
Photo CDM 2015
The Fiddlers Arms, 16 Straits Road, Gornal Wood.
1863: Sale notice
Known locally as the 'Fiddle'.
First licensed around 1860, the pub was built on the site of an old farm.
An adjacent barn provided temporary shelter for a local break-away Methodist group.
The property was sold by Marstons to a property developer in 2013.
Presently under threat of closure and of the site being redeveloped.
A Co-op store and housing was soon planned, despite local support of a petition to save this historic pub, it looks probable that it will close in December 2017 and succumb to the developers.
Unfortunately the 'Fiddle' is going the same way as so many other pubs in our area, "use them or lose them!".
The pub finally closed on 14 December 2017, and awaiting it's fate..
2021, dilapidated and fire damaged.
Update: April 2018.
The Fiddle has been offered by the developers as a pub tenancy once again, hopefully someone will take this on successfully and we can save this Gornal landmark.
Update: July 2021.
The Fiddler's Arms has remained closed and unused since 2017, the developers put forward plans in early 2021 to demolish the pub and build houses on the site. but after local Council and residents objections on the grounds of this locally listed building's historical importance, the application was withdrawn in May 2021.
The building suffered an arson attack just a couple of weeks later! Coincidence?
At around 7.30pm on Friday, 4th June 2021, firemen tackled a blaze which appears to have gutted part of the building.
It's fate is still uncertain.
The Fiddler's Arms depicted on an early 1960s postcard.
The Fiddle was erected on the site of a farmhouse (no known image, but most likely a three storey, flat-fronted 18th century building), last farmed by Paul Russell (b.1796, Himley, d. 1865, Cotwall End).
Paul Russell relinquished the farm in 1849 when a new lease (from the Earl of Dudley) threatened massively increased rents (Paul took on the lease of Cotwall End farm a couple of years later).
The (Fiddle site) farm was inconvenient in that the land came in two separate parcels, eight fields adjacent to the Himley Road at Askew Bridge, and four fields on the slopes of Turner's Hill.
The reason for the rent hike was most likely the strong (but unfulfilled) possibility of coal deposits beneath the Askew Bridge fields.
The great barn however survived when the other farm buildings were demolished. The lease of the newly built pub did include some land (presumably for barley) at Turner's Hill, but none at Askew Bridge.
additional information courtesy of Jack Falstaff
1880 Sale notice, Dudley and District News, September 18.
It seems that the Fiddle continued to function as a farm as well as the public house up until at least 1880.
'The Fiddler's Arms', from a sketch by Austin Moseley, 1971.
1857, Mr Fisher.
1865, Joseph Beddard. [Jones's Mercantile Directory]
1868, Joseph Beddard. [P.O. Directory]
1878, Benjamin Smith -he died in 1879.
1896-1904, Mrs Ann Jevon. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1901, Ann Jevon, widow age 67, licensed victualler & farmer. [Census]
1911, Benjamin Evans, licensed victualler. [Census]
1912-1921, Benjamin Evans. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1924-1928, John Evans. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1936, William Evans. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1939, John Evans, licensed victualler. (Nr. 13) [Register]
1940, William Evans. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
Rear of the Fiddlers Arms, 2022.
this aye fur noggin yeds