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The Long Arm and the Short Arm Lemsford Village

Lemsford Village is lucky to have two great Pubs including The Long Arm and the Short Arm. _ To view Gallery Click Here

‘The Long Arm & the Short Arm’ was originally a cottage and blacksmith’s shop and dates from 1734. In 1853 the buildings were described in an auction catalogue as a’ a brick built and tiled beer house, baker and grocers shop, bakehouse and premises’.

George Timms buys the beer house.

In 1859 the beer house was apparently owned by George Timms ( Who had acquired the Cress Cottage in 1854 from Emily Clark) The 1861 census gives Amos Young as beer retailer, he had a wife, Sarah a son and three daughters. In 1871 James Lawrence was beer retailer. He had a wife, Mary and five sons. Other occupants of the building at the time was the Drapper family.

It is thought that ‘The unobtrusive little beer house’ was first licenced as a public house in 1875 by Elizaeth Lattimore of Wheathampstead. In 1881 Lattimore’s were the landlords and James Lawrence is now described in the two eldest presumably having moved on. The household now includes Henry Lawrence with his wife, Elizabeth and a son. Also present in the”two cottages about the public house ‘ at the time of the census were the Hornett family, Mr & Mrs Spriggs and a lodger. The cottages were owned by the Hon H. Cowper M.P. of Brocket Hall. By 1891 Thomas Lawrence, the fourth son of James, and now aged 26, had taken over as the beer retailer. He is also described as a shoemaker, his wife Eleanor was also present. McMullens Brewery, the present owners acquired the property before 1900. In 1901 Charles Dawes was the beer retailer and lived there with his wife, daughter, and an adopted boy of 5.

The 32 year era of James 'Will' Smith

In 1906 ‘The Long Arm & the Short Arm ‘ was still a cottage, beer house and bakery. James. W. Smith known as ‘Will’ was the publican from 1906 for 32 years. In 1920 it was still referred to as a beer house and in 1926 James Smith was described as a beer house.

Mr Blachford (Local Shoe maker)

In 1928 ‘The Long Arm and The Short Arm’ was one of several pubs in the Hatfield area which had its licence renewal temporarily refused. Although two in Hatfield was closed for good at this time. ‘The Long Arm and The Short Arm’ licence was afterwards regained. About this time the old building was pulled down and a new public house was built and opened in 1929.

A new Pub is built

The group have an image from 1938 showing Mr Blachford (Local Shoe maker) who ran his business from the Old Wesleyan Chapel next to the Long Arm & Short Arm PH the doner of this image is Ivy Croft his daughter. It shows him outside the Long Arm & Short Arm PH with some Welwyn Builders.

Smithey is born in the pub

1937/38 saw the end of James’Will’ Smith’s occupancy and Percy, his younger brother, took over helped by his wife Lilian (nee Hatton) Their son Lew and his wife also lived in the pub and in 1942 their son Brian was born there. In 1950 Joe Wackett became landlord. Lew Smith , his family moved to what is now known as No 7 Lemsford Village. In 1953 they moved to the Chequers(Now the Crooked Chimney) where Lew became the landlord.

Joe Wackett retires

Joe Wacket remained as landlord until his retirement in 1962. Further significant changes were made to the building in 1960 and again in 1984. A succession of managers have run the business for McMullens since Joe Wacket retired including Christine, Mandy AND Jose. The two bars were converted into one bar in 2013 and is a popular pub to eat with its 2 for 1 offers.

Whats in a name?

The name ‘The Long Arm and The Short Arm’ would seem to refer to different lengths of the two roads leading out of the village either side of the pub up to the Great North Road i.e. Brickwall Hill and Lemsford Mill Lane. The name has been attributed also to a signal board that was there before the bridge was built in 1775 that denoted the depth of water in the ford – long arm of the signal for deep water and a short arm for shallow water. Another suggestion put forward by Mr Jeremy Summers is that a coach & four horses as depicted on the pub sign has to be driven by coachman with the reins of one pair of horses (in his left hand) on a ‘Long Arm’ and the other pair on the ‘Short Arm’ . (It should be noted here that the artist who painted the original sign for the pub, John Fredrick Herring, was a noted ‘whip’ and an excellent coachman who regulary drove coaches through Lemsford from London to York and return).Margaret Boland emailed another reason for the name 'After buying the pub in 1885 for the then princely sum of £350, McMullen dug its own well to solve the ‘long arm; short arm’ problem caused by excessive water carrying from which the pub takes its name!'.However, other suggestions have been put forward over the years and the reason for the name remains a riddle to this day

McMullens was founded in 1827 by Peter McMullen and since then we have continued brewing in Hertford without a break. The heritage of AK, for example, can be traced back to 1833. We have protected the company’s brewing history throughout that time by acquiring and investing in the public houses.

When the Great North Road went through Lemsford it is said as many as 150 coaches a day. Carriages and wagons would pass through the village daily. All the inns would have offered food and drink for the travellers. Accommodation would be provided if required. Wheelwrights and blacksmiths were available to service the wagons and horses. Stabling for the horses would also have been provided.Read More about the Golden Age Of Lemsford - Click Here