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There's a single document relating to James Hole in the London Metropolitan Archives. It's the valuation made for Courage Barclay Simonds in February 1968, presumably in preparation for their bid for the brewery.

It's revealing in several ways. First and foremost it shows how much of the brewery's capital was tied up in pubs. Pubs accounted for 86% of the valuation. Of course, it was the pubs that Courage were primarily after. 207 of them in all.

That's one of the reasons the whole merger thing started in the 1950's. Financial analysts noticed how poor the return on the capital was at most breweries. Because a tied estate amounted to a huge amount of capital compared to the size of the business. It's a strange model. When I was younger I wasn't aware that the enormous pub estates of brewers had a political origin.

Brewers had owned some pubs for a long while. In the 18th-century London Porter brewers like Whitbread and Barclay Perkins had already built up estates of pubs. But the majority of pubs remained outside the ownership of brewers. It was only at the end of the 19th century, when changes to the licensing regime made it virtually impossible to get a new licence and local authorities were actively trying to reduce the number of pubs, especially beerhouses.

This is how much the number of pubs fell:

Pubs in England & Wales
Date Full Beer / wine Total Pubs
1895 103,341
1900 102,189
1905 99,478
1910 64,129 28,355 92,484
1914 62,104 25,556 87,660
1920 60,021 23,411 83,432
Brewers' Almanack 1971, page 83.

I make that a fall of over 19% between 1895 and 1920. Very considerable. Especially when you consider than between 1891 and 1921 the population of England and Wales grew from 29,001,400 to 37,886,700 - an increase of 30%.

With a dwindling number of potential outlets breweries began to buy every pub that they could. The process was financed from the capital raised when breweries moved from being partnerships to limited companies. It lead to ridiculous prices being paid. In the 1890's, pubs in the East End of London were selling for £10,000, £20,000 or even £30,000. With a pint of beer cost just 2d (so you'd get 120 pints for £1) those are astronomical sums.

Here's a summary of the valuation:

Freehold pubs £3,610,300
Leasehold pubs £230,850
total pubs £3,841,150
Freehold off-licences £83,700
Leasehold off-licences £3,400
The brewery £474,600
Detached unlicensed properties £35,800
total £4,438,650
Document ACC/2305/41/1 held at the London Metropolitan Archives

Holes Castle Brewery surprisingly remained open until 1982. Looking at it now, it seems unlikely that it should have hung around so long. John Smiths closed Warwicks & Richardsons, the other Newark brewery, virtually immediately after taking control. I wonder why Holes survived so long?

I'd love to know what the Castle Brewery's capacity was. When originally constructed in the 1890's, it brewed about 50,000 barrels a year. In the 1980's they were still using the same brewhouse and I don't believe that it had been extended. My guess would be that it was no more than 200,000 barrels at the very most.

Anyway, here's the full list of Holes pubs, along with their value. It's sad to think that the Robin Hood Hotel, one of their most valuable pubs, is currently abandoned and crumbling, and despite being listed, likely to be demolished.

James Hole tied houses by county
Pub Street Village Town County Value
Red Lion High Street, Alfreton, Derbys. 19,200
Station Hotel Mansfield Road, Alfreton, Derbys. 27,300
Blue Bell North Wingfield, Chesterfield, Derbys. 12,700
Commercial Pilsley Chesterfield, Derbys. 19,500
Three Horse Shoes Clay Cross, Chesterfield, Derbys. 9,400
New Inn Newton, Derbys. 5,700
Woolpack Shirland, Derbys. 9,700
Egyptian Queen Cedar Road, Blaby, Leics. 35,000
Cocked Hat Cropatch Drive, Coalville Leics. 40,000
King William IV Countesthorpe, Leics. 12,500
Fountain Inn Humberstone Gate, Leicester, Leics. 32,400
Golden Age Ramsey Way, Netherhall Estate, Leicester. Leics. 43,200
Hare & Hounds Whitwick, Leicester. Leics. 5,200
Marten Inn Marten Street, Leicester. Leics. 21,300
Pineapple Burleys Way, Leicester. Leics. 33,500
Royal Oak Wigston Fields, Leicester. Leics. 56,000
Sir Charles Napier Glenfield Road, Leicester. Leics. 42,000
Swan & Rushes 1, Infirmary Square, Leicester. Leics. 12,700
Tudor Rose Holderness Road, Mowacre Hill Estate. Leicester. Leics. 60,000
Wyvern Arms Kerrysdale Avenue. Leicester. Leics. 39,000
Cherry Tree Hume Street, Louborough, Leics. 19,700
Sea Around Us Ashby New Road, Loughborough Leics. 84,000
Curzon Arms Woodhouse Eaves, Loughborough, Leics. 23,000
Generous Briton Costock, Loughborough, Leics. 7,000
Nags Head Mountsorrel, Loughborough, Leics. 8,600
Kings Head Hotel Mercer Row, Louth, Leics. 30,700
George Inn Ashley, Market Harborough, Leics. 7,700
Plough Inn Caldecott, Market Harborough, Leics. 11,000
Burmese Cat Hartopp Road, Melton Mowbray, Leics. 37,000
George Hotel High Street, Melton Mowbray, Leics. 65,000
George & Dragon Waltham-on-the-Wolds Melton Mowbray, Leics. 6,700
Royal Horse Shoes Waltham. Melton Mowbray, Leics. 18,000
New Inn 64, London Road, Oadby, Leics. 25,800
Cock inn Peatling Magna, Leics. 9,000
Crown Inn Osgodby, Lincs. 5,800
Black Horse Alford, Lincs. 5,100
George Hotel Alford, Lincs. 7,200
Butchers Arms Ancaster, Lincs. 9,000
Fosseway Aubourn, Lincs. 41,500
Black Horse Bardney, Lincs. 8,400
Blue Bell Belchford, Lincs. 3,700
George & Dragon Billingborough, Lincs. 6,700
Marquis of Granby Binbrook, Lincs. 14,000
Bell Bishopbridge, Lincs. 9,600
Kings Head Emery Lane, Boston, Lincs. 30,000
Moores Arms Frampton, Boston, Lincs. 5,600
Queen of Spades Wellington Road Woad Farm Estate, Boston, Lincs. 37,000
Axe & Cleaver West Street, Boston, Lincs. 54,000
Cross Keys Wide Bargate, Boston, Lincs. 20,000
Half Moon 57, Heaton Street, Gainsborough,, Lincs. 18,200
Chequers inn 25, Market Place, Grantham, Lincs. 14,000
Cross Swords Skillington. Grantham, Lincs. 5,500
Glaziers Arms Corby, Grantham, Lincs. 5,500
Green Man Ropsley, Grantham, Lincs. 5,600
Royal Oak Swayfield, Grantham, Lincs. 3,500
Royal Queen Belton Lane, Grantham, Lincs. 30,000
Three Tuns Castle Bytham, Grantham, Lincs. 4,500
Welby Arms Allington, Grantham, Lincs. 8,600
White Hart Hotel High Street, Grantham, Lincs. 50,000
Woodhouse Arms Corby. Grantham, Lincs. 8,000
Angel Inn South Witham. Grantham, Lincs. 6,000
Welby Arms Denton, Grantham, Lincs. 6,500
Waggon & Horses Caythorpe, Grantham. Lincs. 11,000
George & Dragon Hagworthingham, Lincs. 7,000
Fighting Cocks Horncastle, Lincs. 6,800
Ship Hotel Horncastle, Lincs. 4,400
Elder Tree Horsington. Lincs. 3,700
Black Horse 6. Eastgate, Lincoln Lincs. 13,800
Black Horse Nettleham, Lincoln. Lincs. 11,400
Ivy Tavern Newport, Lincoln Lincs. 11,000
Crown Inn Glentham, Lincoln, Lincs. 7,700
George Hotel Langworth, Lincoln, Lincs. 36,600
Lord Nelson Dunholme, Lincoln, Lincs. 19,000
Star & Garter Metheringham, Lincoln, Lincs. 28,400
Wild Life Birchwood Avenue, Birchwood Estate, Lincoln, Lincs. 80,000
Bowling Green 324, Wragby Road, Lincoln. Lincs. 40,200
Bugle Horn Bassingham, Lincoln. Lincs. 9,700
Burton Arms 70, West Parade, Lincoln. Lincs. 14,300
Carholme inn Gresham Street, Lincoln. Lincs. 10,700
Centurion Newark Road, North Hykeham, Lincoln. Lincs. 41,300
Hare & Hounds High Street, Lincoln. Lincs. 19,100
Lincoln Imp Blankney Crescent, Ermine Estate, Lincoln. Lincs. 91,500
Lion & Snake Bailgate, Lincoln. Lincs. 17,000
Millers Anns Lincoln. Lincs. 19,000
Nags Head Middle Rasen, Lincoln. Lincs. 8,900
Olde Crowne Clasketgate, Lincoln. Lincs. 46,000
Queen Hotel 323, High Street, Lincoln. Lincs. 53,700
Ripon Arms Monson Street Lincoln. Lincs. 13,200
Roaring Meg Nettleham Road, Lincoln. Lincs. 38,000
Royal Villian IV Brayford Wharf, Lincoln. Lincs. 14,600
Joiners Arms Victoria Street, Llncoln. Lincs. 9,000
Black Horse Ludford-Parva, Lincs. 3,600
Brownlow Arms Faldingworth, Market Rasen, Lincs. 6,900
George Inn Market Rasen, Lincs. 5,200
Gordon Arms Queen Street, Market Rasen, Lincs. 17,200
Kings Head Market Rasen, Lincs. 10,000
Railway Inn Market Rasen, Lincs. 5,600
Red Lion Market Rasen, Lincs. 3,500
White Hart Newton-on-Trent, Lincs. 4,600
White Hart North Scarle, Lincs. 6,900
Shoulder of Mutton Church Street, Ruskington, Lincs. 15,000
Old White Hart Southgate. Sleaford, Lincs. 30,000
White Horse Heckington, Sleaford, Lincs. 4,100
Birds Halmergate, Spalding, Lincs. 35,000
Black Swan New Road, Spalding, Lincs. 19,500
Bull Inn Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincs. 15,500
Hole in the Wall Inn Spalding, Lincs. 12,000
Horse & Jockey Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincs. 5,000
Lincoln Arms 4, Bridge Street, Spalding, Lincs. 14,100
Northern Hotel Spalding, Lincs. 12,100
Ram Inn Holbeach, Spalding, Lincs. 14,400
Ram Skin Double Street, Spalding, Lincs. 6,500
Red Cow Donington, Spalding, Lincs. 16,500
Vine Inn Commercial Road, Spalding, Lincs. 13,000
Welland Inn Spalding, Lincs. 7,500
Red Lion Raithby, Spilsby, Lincs. 3,300
Brewery Tap Geeston, Ketton, Stamford, Lincs. 4,700
Lincolnshire Poacher Broad Street, Stamford, Lincs. 35,600
Millstone Inn Ryhall, Stamford, Lincs. 5,500
Halfway House Swinderby, Lincs. 20,900
Plough Inn Swinderby, Lincs. 3,500
Blue Bell Tattershall Thorpe, Lincs. 7,400
Kings Head Tealby, Lincs. 8,000
Angel Inn Wainfleet, Lincs. 6,300
Hunters Leap Washingborough, Lincs. 19,600
Abbey Lodge Kirkstead, Woodhall Spa, Lincs. 9,700
Mall Hotel Woodhall Spa, Lincs. 10,000
Shire Horse Wlllowbrook Road. Corby, Northants. 29,500
Cross Keys Kingscliffe, Northants. 7,000
Black Horse Nassington, Northants. 3,300
Crown & Woolpack Conington, Peterborough Northants. 0
Heron Hotel Stanground, Peterborough, Northants. 30,000
Mermaid Wansford, Peterborough, Northants. 15,600
Walnut Tree Deeping St. James, Peterborough, Northants. 4,500
Admiral Inn Holme, Peterborough, Northants. 450
White Horse Church Street, Market Deeping, Peterborough. Northants. 19,000
Wheel & Compass Weston-by-Welland, Northants. 5,700
Manor Arms Elton, Notts. 10,000
Limeburners Arms Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts. 8,100
Angel Inn Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts. 10,700
Portland Hotel High Street, Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts. 17,300
Charter Arms Exchange Row, Mansfield, Notts. 27,500
Flamingo Oak Tree Lane, Mansfield, Notts. 65,000
Horse & Jockey Leeming Street, Mansfield, Notts. 63,000
Prince Charles Clipstone Road, Forest Town, Mansfield, Notts. 37,300
Boot & Shoe Weston, Newark, Notts. 8,000
Bowling Green 83, Appletongate, Newark, Notts. 45,600
Castle & Falcon London Road. Newark, Notts. 8,800
Crown Inn Bathley, Newark, Notts. 3,800
Crown & Cushion Albion Street, Newark, Notts. 7,100
Fox Inn Kelham, Newark, Notts. 29,500
Fox & Crown Appletongate; Newark, Notts. 13,700
Grove Hotel New Balderton, Newark, Notts. 26,900
Hole Arms Caunton, Newark, Notts. 5,300
Kings Arms King Street, Newark, Notts. 9,300
Malt Shovel North Gate, Newark, Notts. 8,500
Midland Hotel Muskham Road, Newark, Notts. 23,800
Nags Head Sutton-on-Trent, Newark, Notts. 7,200
New Inn 99, Barnbygate, Newark, Notts. 19,800
Newcastle Arms North Muskham, Newark, Notts. 10,600
Pauncefote Arms East Stoke. Newark, Notts. 16,700
Plough Inn Coddington, Newark, Notts. 15,500
Robin Hood Hotel Lombard Street, Newark, Notts. 82,000
Rose & Crown Main Street, Balderton, Newark, Notts. 13,300
Rose & Crown Farndon, Newark, Notts. 14,600
Royal Oak Collingham, Newark, Notts. 10,000
Royal Oak Castlegate, Newark, Notts. 10,300
Spread Eagle Middlegate. Newark, Notts. 13,500
Vine Hotel 117, Barnbygate, Newark, Notts. 27,300
Watermill Inn Millgate, Newark, Notts. 7,200
Wheatsheaf Newark, Notts. 11,000
Wheatsheaf Inn Slaughterhouse Lane, Newark, Notts. 10,200
White Hind Cartergate, Newark, Notts. 23,600
Willow Tree Barnby, Newark, Notts. 7,800
Woolpack Claypole, Newark, Notts. 11,500
Woolpack Stodman Street, Newark, Notts. 8,000
Duke of Cumberland Middlegate. Newark, Notts. 4,000
Three Tuns Warser Gate, Nottingham, Notts. 11,000
Newcastle Arms 68, North Sherwood Street, Nottingham. Notts. 13,200
Red Cow Windmill Lane, Nottingham. Notts. 17,800
Yew Tree Nottingham Road. Hucknall, Nottingham. Notts. 18,000
Stadium Hotel Ice stadium Nottingham. Notts. 500
Greyhound Inn Mansfield Road, Skegby, Notts. 13,700
Admiral Nelson Westhorpe, Southwell, Notts. 10,700
Saracens Head Hotel Southwell, Notts. 83,600
Blue Bell Mansfield Hoad, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts. 10,000
New Cross Outram Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts.
Railway Inn Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts. 10,000
Red Lion Thurgarton, Notts. 13,300
Gate Inn Mansfield Road, Warson, Notts. 10,900
Royal Oak Bakestone Moor, Whitwell, Notts. 8,000
Dukeries Bridge Street, Worksop, Notts. 19,000
Jug & Glass Whitwall, Worksop, Notts. 8,300
White Swan Worksop, Notts. 13,000
Rose & Crown Creswell, Worksop. Notts. 10,000
Vine Hotel 17, Carlton Road. Notts. 23,700
Exeter Arms Mid Village Road, Barrowden, Rutland. 2,400
White Horse Empingham, Rutland. 11,700
Black Horse Greetham, Oakham, Rutland. 6,300
Fox & Hounds North Luffenham, Oakham, Rutland. 10,600
George Hotel Oakham, Rutland. 21,500
Prince of Wales Oakham, Rutland. 6,000
Wheatsheaf Edith Weston, Oakham, Rutland. 12,500
Joiners Arms Bruntingthorpe, Rugby, Warwicks. 7,300
Full House Rotherham Road, Monk Bretton, Barnsley. Yorks. 55,000
Cross Keys Gringley-on-the-Hill, Doncaster, Yorks. 8,800
Two Palfreys Acacia Road, Cantley Estate, Doncaster. Yorks. 76,000
Document ACC/2305/41/1 held at the London Metropolitan Archives

I realise this has limited appeal to anyone unconnected with Newark. But that's the point of blogging. No-one is telling you what to write about.

Surprisingly the Two Palfreys still exists. Why surprising? Because it's an estate pub. Many of those have closed in the last two decades.