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PUB’S PAST: A brief history of The Railway Inn, Radlett

 Published on: 20th May 2021   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

Here’s a brief history of the site currently occupied by The Broadwick on Radlett high street, courtesy of Radlett & District Museum.

The old postcard pictured, dated 1905, shows the site of a former Inn on Watling Street, at its junction with the road to Shenley. 

It was renamed The Railway Inn when the railway came to Radlett in 1868.

Almost 120 years later, in the 1980s, it became merely The Railway, which remained until it was sold by the brewery in 2005 to restaurant chain Prezzo which, in turn, was succeeded by The Broadwick.

But this site’s history can be traced back to 1786, when the original Inn was called The Cross Keys and was owned by brewer Stephen Salter, of Rickmansworth. 

It was tenanted by James Siret and until about 1860, there was a blacksmith’s shop was attached. 

There were also livery-and-bait stables, which provided stabling and food for horses and from which a horse or a post-chaise could be hired. 

This facility did not vanish until the late 1920s. A post-chaise, shown here, was a closed, four-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage, usually drawn by two horses.

The following extract is from J Hassall’s Rides and Walks with Excursions by Water thirty miles round the British Metropolis, which was published in 1817: “The best location for [game] shooting in this neighbourhood will be found at The Cross Keys at the village of Radlett, situated on the high road from Elstree to St Albans.”

The late Harold Knee recounted that the Railway Inn was also called Bob Little’s, after its landlord’s name and the livery-and-bait stables at the back.

Look for more on local hostelries in the Museum— watch out for our exhibition of photos and stories.

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