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Pubs of Old Baldock: The Star

Updated on July 7, 2012

The Star.
25 Church St.
(formerly 3 Norton Street).

Originally a beer house and tap, with a piped connection to the close by 'Pale Ale, or Ind Brewery', 'The Star' was one of three different pubs in the same area at the top of Church St. A pub which stood only doors away from both the Stag, and the Bulls Head, it finally closed its doors on Sunday the 24th 1980 by decision of its owners 'Greene King', who had said that due to its poor facilities it was no longer a viable option to keep the pub open.

Something which locals struggled to understand considering the old pubs history, but as a director from Greene King had put it, it was because the toilets were archaic, and there wasn't sufficient enough space for car parking. A claim that was rumoured to be just an excuse to avoid having to pay renovation costs by the brewery, although it was also noted at the time that any proceeds of its sale would be spent on improving other Greene King pubs in the area.

Recorded also as a separate pub 'The Brewery Tap' in the 1861 Census, which might have quite possibly been its former or alternative name. Its origins were most likely part of the major rebuilding programme of the 'Pale Ale Brewery', in 1840, the result of its then owner William Oliver leasing the site to John Steed in 1823.

John Steed bought the ‘Pale Ale Brewery’ in 1831 and remained the active Brewer/ owner till at least 1867, when he was succeeded by his son Oliver Steed and after Oliver’s death in 1888 by his wife and Oliver’s mother Margaret Steed.

The Brewery was to close by the turn of the 20th Century and its associated public houses were sold off elsewhere. In 1901 'The Star' was run by the landlord Thomas Bass and was 3 years later, along with the Brewery Site sold, to the Wells and Winch Brewery of Biggleswade.

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Willoughby Henwood was the landlord in 1934 and was apparently for a good number of years before, right through till sometime after World War II. The picture to the left is taken from around this time.

Well into the Wells & Winch era the Star from when this picture was taken was run by this brewery till it’s takeover by Greene King in 1961.


In its final years ‘The Star’ after its takeover by ‘Greene King’ was run by landlord Fred Whitman, A man who locals described as; “the most popular landlord in Baldock”. Well liked by locals, he took his decision to retire after 14 years in the post with the pubs closure.

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