The Sun Inn

The history of the Sun Inn at Hulverstone goes back many years. Its early history is unclear, but we know for sure that an ale house was on this site in 1816 owned by a William Cooke. It was sold that same year to Benjamin Mew, a brewer of Crocker Street, Newport. The 1841 and 1851 censuses mention an elderly man, John Moorman, as the innkeeper.

By 1852 the Sun Inn was run by James Jacobs and by 1855 by Charles Wolfe, who was also a leather collar and harness maker. In 1860 it was sold by W  B Mew to Charles Seely who promptly leased it back to W  B Mew.

According to David Seely, Lord Mottistone, his great grandfather approved of the pub being in Hulverstone as: it meant the men would be sobered up by the time they got home, having walked in the fresh air back to Brook or Mottistone. We hear that the walk was also an opportunity for a good singsong.

At that time the Sun was run by Henry W Mussell. By 1871 it had been taken over by Henry’s widow, Rhoda Mussell and her son Thomas, who was also a grocer. It is possible that they ran a small shop from the Inn.

In 1881 Benjamin Denness, age 66, was the innkeeper and had the grand title of a Licenced Victualler.

In 1895 and 1911 we see that Frederick White is the innkeeper. Frederick and Sophia White continued to trade at the Sun Inn for many years.

Fred is remembered today by some locals. Ron Emmett describes how his job after school was to: go to The Sun Inn and help the landlord, Fred White. Fred was a bit of a cripple so I used to do all the work that was required, like milking his two cows, and sawing up firewood, digging the garden, swabbing out the stone floor in the bar and the one I didn’t like doing was emptying the spittoons. He had these big, iron spittoons there, full of sawdust and poor old Fred used to have to clear his throat a lot. I’d be about eleven then and this was after school.

During the summer time, when things were a little busy, I used to stay on after I’d done those chores and help out in the bar that meant Fred would draw the pints in the cellar from the wooden barrels and put them on a tray, give them to me to take into the bar and serve up- it would only be locals then, there were no visitors, as such, and dish these out and take the money and I used to make more in tips than Fred used to give me in a week’s wage. Fred‘s wages by the way were six pennies a week- sixpence - a nice, shiny sixpence and sometimes I didn’t get home till 9.00-9.30 in the evening.

David Hollis remembers: Several of us was in the Hulverstone Sun one night. Shotters’ bus pulled up, A chap came back on leave, there was a shortage of drink in wartime, Bob’s brother Will was in the Navy, we stayed there till three in the morning and drunk the pub dry to celebrate his return from the Navy. Popular place it was.

Robert (Bob) Cassell lived at The Elms opposite the pub and in 1997 when he was 84 he recalled how different it was when he was young: What is now one room was two very small rooms with a passage way between. The tap room had a stone floor covered with sawdust and there were spittoons with sawdust in them. It was furnished with scrubbed deal tables. There was also a kitchen range there which the old lady used to cook their meals on. No meals were cooked for the customers to the pub. There was no bar or nothing, like there is now. If you wanted a pint of beer or ale the landlord would go down to the cellar to get it from the barrel for you. Ale was five pence a pint (those are old pence which makes it about two of today’s pence) and beer was four pence a pint. Old Fred White was the landlord, he suffered from gout a lot. Sometimes he was in bed for six months at a time. Like Ron Emmett (see The School at Hulverstone), as a boy Robert worked for Fred at the Sun Inn before and after school.

The pub was a popular place throughout the 1950s and 60s and Ralph Cook remembers it being so full at New Year’s Eve that the only way in was to climb through a window. George Thompson recalls how: on a Saturday and Sunday you could nearly always say who was in the pub before you went in there, all locals.

There have been many landlords over the years and one who is remembered best is Alan Elliman who was landlord in the 1960s. Alan was also a member of the cliff rescue team.   

Jan 1st 1938  Cyclist collides with cow

A cyclist collided with a cow whilst cycling down Hulverstone Shute on Tuesday evening. Mr George Raymond of Thorncross collided with a cow belonging to Mr F White of the Sun Inn, which was straying in the road. Mr Raymond was thrown from his machine and received injuries to his face. He was conveyed by car to Dr L Way of Limerstone, and after attention was taken home.