Bristol’s Lost Pubs

King’s Head Back Street

1752 – 54. Widow Skey
1755. Alice Skey
1755 – 62. Robert Joseph
1775 – 94. David Nicholas
1800 – 06. Yorick Evans
1816. John Harris
1820 – 38. Richard Jones
1839 to 1847. Elkanah Wookey
1848 to 1860. Margaret Wookey
1861 to 1867. Frederick Wookey
1868 to 1869. William Herbert
1870 to 1872. Caroline (Wookey) Herbert
1873 to 1875. Robert Osgood
1876. John Norman
1877. Richard Joseph
1878. Rosina Mason

The King’s Head was lost in the late 1870’s when Back Street was widened, the street was also re-named ‘Queen Charlotte Street’.

The information below was kindly provided by Peter Robinson, whose family owned the King’s Head between 1839 and 1875. Peter’s information and suggestions were much appreciated during the early days of this web site. So far it has been discovered that Elkanah & Margaret Wookey, and their descendents and spouses, were licensees of 30 different Bristol pubs, hotels and beer houses.

Elkanah Wookey & Margaret Goller were married in 1812. Elkanah was an ostler and farrier until 1839 when he became publican of the King’s Head. When he wrote his will in 1841 he was in the process of purchasing a property in Back Street from the estate of Ambrose Gilbert King deceased. This was described only as a “Messuage or dwelling house and premises” but reference to “the goodwill of my trade or business of victualler and of my stock of beer, liquors and spirits” indicates that the property was in fact the King’s Head. Ambrose Gilbert King must have been a property owner, he was never a licencee of the King’s Head.

Elkanah Wookey died in 1847 and his estate was left in trust initially for the benefit of his wife, and children still under twenty one. Ultimately the estate would become the property of all his children.

Margaret continued as victualler. We have a snap-shot of the place on Sunday night, 30th March, 1851 when a northern pop group were in town:

Kings Head, Back Street, St Nicholas, Bristol
Margaret Wookey Head Lic. Victualler W 56 F Bristol
Edwin Wookey Son Cooper 19 M Bristol
Emma Wookey Daughter 16 F Bristol
John Cox Lodger Lace Dealer 61 M Apsley, Beds
John Walker Lodger Musician 29 M Huddersfield, Yks
Joshua Broadhouse Lodger Musician 24 M Warrington, Lancs
James Melling Lodger Musician 21 M Mancester
John Ridyms Lodger Musician 22 M Liverpool
Richard Bundley Lodger Musician 20 M Liverpool
Charles Moore Lodger Muscician 19 M London

Margaret’s son Frederick took over in 1861 and ran it until 1867, when he moved to the Boar’s Head in College Place. He was followed in the King’s Head by William Herbert, husband of Margaret’s daughter Caroline. When in 1869 William died Caroline carried on alone. George Francis, a 31 year old bachelor constable living in Bridewell Police Station, was attracted to the pub life and the 42 year old Caroline. They were married in 1872, and soon after took over the Sedan Chair on Broad Quay. The last family member in the King’s Head was Robert Osgood, husband of Margaret Hannah Wookey, a daughter of Henry & Charlotte Wookey and granddaughter of Margaret. Margaret Wookey died aged 82 in the third quarter of 1875. The pub would then have become the property of the rest of the family and was probably sold soon after.

© Peter Robinson

Census 1841.

Elkanah Wookey 45, publican, not born in county
Margaret Wookey 45, not born in county
William Wookey 15, wheelwright, not born in county
Charles Wookey 15, not born in county
Frederick Wookey 14, not born in county
Catherine Wookey 12, not born in county
Edwin Wookey 10, not born in county
Emma Wookey 6, not born in county
Catherine W…? (not wookey) 14, servant, not born in county
Edward Fagan 35, button maker, not born in county
William Green 30, jeweller, not born in county
Mary Green 35, not born in county

Census 1861.

Frederick Wookey 33, head married, publican, Bristol
Hannah Wookey 31, wife married, publicans wife, Gloucestershire Olveston
Frederick Wookey 10, son scholar, Bristol
Emma Wookey 8, daughter scholar, Bristol
Ada Maud Wookey 6, daughter scholar, Bristol
William E. Wookey 4, son scholar, Bristol
Alice Margaret Wookey 2, daughter, Bristol
Walter Wyndham Wookey 1, son, Bristol
Margaret Humphries 18, servant unmarried, house servant, Bristol
James Bohen 42, lodger unmarried, porter at Smiths Panorama, Gloucestershire Stroudwater
William Forney 42, lodger unmarried, sailor in merchant service, Bristol

Census 1871.

Caroline Herbert 41, head widow, public house keeper, Bristol
Caroline Walters 18, daughter unmarried, dress maker, Bristol
Harry Herbert 11, son scholar, Bristol
Sidney Herbert 9, son scholar, Bristol
William Kelley 17, lodger unmarried, labourer, Bristol
Sarah Wills 23, lodger married, domestic servant, Pembroke Dock Pembrokeshire