In 1964, Basingstoke drinkers had 41 pubs to choose from. However, the town’s redevelopment between 1965 and 1973 saw the destruction of 19 town centre pubs, which were offset by only two replacement pubs – the Bass House and the Goat and Barge - both of which have since gone.

The Bass House became part of a Tesco Metro, and the Goat and Barge, which was re-named the Nightjar, was demolished when Festival Place was built.

In 1974, Basingstoke had 31 pubs to serve its vastly increased population: the 22 survivors that existed before 1964; the two town centre replacements; and seven new pubs that were built to serve the new estates.

Basingstoke Gazette: The Goat

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In 1965, the Goat in Goat Lane was the first pub to fall victim to the wrecking ball. It was one of the oldest pubs in the town, dating back to 1729.

1966 was a terrible year. The town lost seven pubs. Four were in Wote Street - the Angel, the Barge, the Grapes and the Travellers Rest. The other three were the Rose and Crown and the Self Defence in Church Street and the Railway Arms in Brook Street.

The Angel should not be confused with the Angel, the old coaching inn in the Market Place which closed in 1866. The Wote Street Angel was built in about 1870.

The Barge is thought to have started life as a tavern for the canal workers in the 1780s. The Grapes opened in 1843 as a retail outlet for the Wote Street Brewery. The first record of the Travellers Rest was in 1881.

The Rose and Crown was one of the earliest pubs in Basingstoke. It was listed in the Return of Alehouse Keepers in 1713. It is not known when the Self Defence first opened. It originally had the cumbersome title, Defence not Defiance. It changed its name to the Self Defence some time before the 1851 census. The Railway Arms opened shortly after the railway arrived in 1839.

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Basingstoke Gazette: The Self Defence

Three more pubs died in 1967. These were the Engineers Arms on the corner of Reading Road and Basing Road, the Rose in Brook Street, and the Station Hotel at the top of Station Hill.

The first record of the Engineers Arms is in the 1861 census, not long after Wallis and Haslem opened their factory on Station Hill. The earliest record of the Rose is a listing in the Universal British Directory, 1792.

The first pub on the site of the Station Hotel was a beerhouse called the Trial, which opened in about 1851. In 1871 it was replaced by a new building renamed the Junction Inn, which was rebuilt and extended to 1906 as the Station Hotel.

Although the Station Hotel closed in 1967, the building remained and became the offices of the Borough Surveyor’s Department until it was demolished in 1975.

1968 saw the loss of another three pubs – the Cricketers in Brook Street, the Pear Tree in Flaxfield Road, and the Victory in Essex Road. The Cricketers opened in 1880 to serve the new houses in May Street and Lower Brook Street.

Basingstoke Gazette: The Victory Inn

The Pear Tree started life as the Green Dragon in the 18th century and changed its name to the Pear Tree in the mid-19th century and acted as a retail outlet for the Pear Tree Brewery. The Victory opened in 1880 at about the same time as the development of the Essex Road Estate.

The Old House at Home in Reading Road and the Red Lion Tap in Sydenham Place closed in 1969, the Foresters in Southern Road in 1971, the Victoria, Winchester Street in 1972 and, finally, the Royal Exchange in Wote Street in 1973.

The Old House at Home opened as a beerhouse in an old thatched cottage on the corner of Reading Road and Bunnian Place. In 1915 it burnt down and was replaced by a new building on the same site. The Red Lion Tap is believed to have opened in the 1860s. The Foresters opened in 1874. 

The Victoria was a retail outlet for the Adams family’s Victoria Brewery and was the headquarters of the Massagainians during the riots against the Salvation Army in the early 1880s. The Royal Exchange opened sometime before 1865.

The 22 pubs that survived the great destruction were the Anchor, the Beacon in South Ham, the Bounty, the Castle, the Feathers, the George, the Golden Lion, the Great Western, the Hare and Hounds, the Hop Leaf, the Horse and Jockey, the Lamb, the New Inn, the Queen’s Arms, the Red Lion, the Rising Sun, the Royal Oak in Worting Road, the Soldiers Return, the Stag and Hounds, the Wheatsheaf, the White Hart (London Road) and the White Hart (Worting Road).

The nine new pubs that were built between 1964 and 1974 were the Bass House, the Buckskin, the Goat and Barge, the Hammer and Tongs, the King of Wessex, the Nine Saxons, the Pen and Parchment, the Skewers and the Winkle.

Several of those 31 pubs that were here in 1974 have since closed.

This article was written by Bob Clarke.