Katie Fitzgeralds187 Enville Road
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The History of Katie Fitzgerald's public house researched & written by John Richards Katie Fitzgeralds public houseOriginally known as the Golden Lion, Katie Fitzgerald's was a small one-roomed beerhouse, the property of Mary Faulkner. It was well positioned to attract travellers along the Stourbridge-Kinver turnpike road. The Duke of Wellington's Beer House Act, 1830, permitted a householder or ratepayer, on payment of two guineas to the Excise, to turn his private house into a public house. In an area then known as Mamble Square, the Golden Lion opened in competition to the Bridge Inn opposite. The first licensee was widow Mary Faulkner around 1844; she was recorded in the 1851 census aged 70, with her daughter Mary, 37, and son William, 32. They employed one servant. Victorian licensing hours were both long and demanding, 18 hours a day, 4 am to 10 pm, seven days a week. Closed only during Divine Service, Christmas Day, and Good Friday. Mary Faulkner's choice of sign is interesting; the Golden Lion was usually associated with either Henry I, or the dukes of Northumberland, the Percy's. She however, was Welsh, so her reasons were probably more pragmatic, as there were two Red Lions and two White Lions nearby. Like the Bridge Inn, the Golden Lion was a homebrewed house. The popular Victorian Stourbridge drink was a form of malty mild: heavy, dark, sweet and strong - that usually varied considerably from brew to brew. The average Black Country gravity was 1060 - the second highest in England. By 1853 Mary Faulkner had passed on, and her daughter Mary had taken over. She remained single, then unusual for a landlady - selling the business to Thomas Whiston in 1865. Locally born Thomas Whiston was documented in the 1871 census aged 45, with his wife Elizabeth, 46, and one servant. Stourbridge magistrates granted the Golden Lion inn status in the 1870's. This permitted the house to remain open as long as a bed was empty, offering basic accommodation, simple victuals, homebrewed ale, and stabling to the lawful traveller. Rated at £28 0s 0d in 1900, the beerhouse was granted a full alehouse licence two years later. This permitted the retailing of wine and spirits in addition to beer, stout and porter. A status most beerhouse keepers sought but failed to achieve. Brewing on the premises stopped when the Golden Lion was leased to Burton brewers Sidney Evershed Ltd, in 1902. In 1904, North Worcestershire Breweries Ltd, Stourbridge Brewery, Lower High Street, Stourbridge took the lease. Thomas Homer of Brierley Hill bought the Golden Lion in 1905, when brewing resumed. This continued through new owner John Auden until his death in 1924, when the Golden Lion became the property of Francis Joseph Matthews. Francis Joseph Matthews also owned the (Old) Crispin, in Windmill Street, now Church Street, Stourbridge. Son Francis John carried on the family tradition, brewing until 1947, when the family sold to Ansells Brewery in March 1961. Ansells closed the Golden Lion in 1984, and again in 1986, when it re-opened as the Stourbridge Lion, 4 August 1989. Structurally unchanged, the old Golden Lion Inn continues to be a popular freehouse, and is now know as Katie Fitzgerald's, who was the grandmother of owner Trina Keane.