|Trumpington Local History Group
The Red Lion Public House
|Extract from the Inland Revenue Land Value
map for Trumpington, 1910-11, showing the
Red Lion. Reproduced by permission of
Cambridgeshire Archives, file 470/047, sheet
|The Red Lion Inn had opened by the 1840s.
When the Red Lion first opened, it was
charmingly described as a small pub, set back,
with a ducks' puddle in front and pigs wandering
amiably through its public bar on their way to the
meadow behind. There was a large wooden barn
at the rear. A lane at the side of the pub provided
access to the meadow where a popular Village
Feast was held each summer. No doubt bar
takings greatly increased during those three days.
The 1871-1901 censuses give information about
the publicans in those years:
1871: Robert Wilson, publican, married to Martha
Wilson, both born Trumpington
1881: Martha Wilson, publican, widow
1891: William Saunders, publican, married to
Charlotte Saunders, William born Trumpington
1901: Philip Howard, carter and publican,
married to Mary Howard, Philip born
After 1901, the licence holder changed to John
Moss and then in early 1907 to Augustus Charles
Hacon (Cambridge Independent Press, 15
February 1907). Mr Hacon was a member of the
Red Lion quoits team. In 1909, he was in court
for knocking down a pedestrian while riding his
bicycle home from a quoits match (Cambridge
Independent Press, 26 November 1909). From
1914, he was an active member of the local
Volunteer Training Corps (VTC) and we have
added a record about him on the Lives of the
First World War database.
On 19 December 1914, there was a fire which
burnt down the Red Lion. A newspaper report
stated "The Red Lion public house at
Trumpington was completely gutted by fire but
the landlord and his family escaped out of the
bedroom window. Flames burst through every
window and the inside was completely burnt out
but the roof was hardly damaged. Very little
commotion was caused in the village and people
living in a cottage opposite were not aware of the
fire until the following morning. The contents
were completely destroyed, including £50 in notes
of Slate Club money. But gold and silver were
recovered from the ruins" (understood to be
Cambridge Independent Press, 25 December
1914). The Parish Magazine, January 1915, had
an entry: "Much sympathy is felt with Mr Hacon,
of the Red Lion Inn, and his family in the loss
they have met with in the burning of their house
on the night of Dec 19th. Fortunately there was
no loss of life or limb, although practically the
whole contents of the house were, we
understand, destroyed." In the next issue,
February 1915, Mr Hacon gave "best thanks to
all those who so kindly assisted in our late
trouble". The Red Lion must have been rebuilt
after the fire.
The next landlord was Walter Frost, from 1916 to
1935. An impressive figure at 20 stone, with a
walrus moustache, Mr Frost was also head waiter
at Trinity College and ran a taxi service with a
horse-drawn hansom cab. In spite of all these
commitments, he somehow found time to father
12 children. The horse and cab were eventually
sold and replaced with a car he bought from
Canon Pemberton, cars at that time still being
regarded as a novelty.
In 1917, "Walter Frost of the Red Lion was
summoned for not shading a window, on
November 2nd." (Cambridge Daily News, 12
November 1917). A newspaper report in 1935
stated "The tenant of the Red Lion at
Trumpington had been there since 1916. If the
licence was taken away he would be deprived of
his livelihood & the Red Lion Self-Help Club
would be broken up, magistrates heard. There
were 34 allotment holders on ground belonging to
the pub and half the allotment land in the village
had already been lost on account of building. It
was an old-fashioned house, very quiet and
homely and the Feast was held in a field at the
rear. They served teas to anybody who asked for
them, but not much beer. The licence was
renewed." (Newspaper report quoted by Mike
Petty, 5 July 1935.)
The old pub was demolished in 1936. The new,
much larger Red Lion, set closer to the road, was
built around 1939, blocking the lane and putting
an end to the Feast in the meadow. More a small
hotel, it catered for wedding receptions, had a
restaurant and provided accommodation. It was
reputed to be haunted: the dog of one of the
landladies, Florence Jones, refused to go down
the cellar steps, whereas it would usually follow
her everywhere else. Perhaps the dog did not like
In the early 1970s, Whitbread's tried
unsuccessfully to form a motel, by combining the
pub with the nearby Green Man. A local
newspaper report stated that "Whitbread have
outline planning permission to build a 60-bedroom
motel extension at the Red Lion Hotel ..."
(Newspaper report quoted by Mike Petty, 22
The Red Lion closed down in 1975 and was
demolished soon after. The site on the High
Street now contains a group of houses that were
advertised as "Trumpington Court".
The Victoria County History (VCH) (1982) includes a summary of the different pubs, p.
250-51. See the bibliography for full details.
|The Red Lion and the War
Central Library. Reproduced
in Trumpington Past &
Present, p. 72.
|If you have any further information about this or the other pubs in
Trumpington, we would be very interested to hear from you.
|Walter Frost, landlord of the Red Lion from
1920-1935. Source: Robert Hall. Reproduced
in Trumpington Past & Present, p. 72.
|Walter Frost's taxi service, with four of his
children sitting in the car. Source: Robert
Hall. Reproduced in Trumpington Past &
Present, p. 142.
|The Red Lion and War Memorial, 1969.
Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge
Central Library. Reproduced in Trumpington
Past & Present, p. 73.
|The Red Lion, 1970s. Photo: Peter
|Frank and Florence Jones, landlords of the
Red Lion in the 1970s. Source: Florence
Jones. Reproduced in Trumpington Past &
Present, p. 73.
|Florence Jones' dog in the Red Lion in the
1970s. Source: Florence Jones.
Reproduced in Trumpington Past &
Present, p. 73.
|The site of the Red Lion public house,
looking across the High Street from the
War Memorial, May 2009. Photo:
|Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2018. Updated 6 October 2018.
|A.C. Hacon, 1915. From a group photograph
of Trumpington Volunteer Training Corps.
Reproduced in Cambridge Chronicle, 10
November 1915, page 6, with a caption
giving the names. Percy Robinson collection.