There were 10 public houses in Hampton in 1800, but only four today.
In 1800 the Register of Alehouse Keepers listed 10 public houses in Hampton of which 3 were in Thames Street, 5 in High Street and 2 in modern Station Road. Four are still in business today: The Dukes Head (earlier the Maidenhead), The Jolly Coopers, The Bell and The World’s End. A fifth, The White Hart was converted into apartments in 2005.
If we go back to the 16th and 17th centuries the larger taverns included The Red Lion, The Bell and The Feathers. The Red Lion (previously The Shipp) was rebuilt in 1908 and closed in 1979 and is now used as offices. The Bell, rebuilt in 1893 after a fire, is still in business. Closing in 1792 The Feathers was converted into cottages which are there today. There were other old establishments which have disappeared including The Lamb, The Old Taverne and The Bowl and Ninepins.
Inns served a variety of purposes. They provided food, drink and accommodation for travellers and stables for their horses. They were also used for meetings. The Vestry, for example, usually met in St Mary’s Church but some meetings were held at the nearby inns: The Feathers, The Shipp or The Bell. The Churchwardens Accounts in 1690 were examined “att The Feathers att 3 a clocke”. Other gatherings including dinners, auctions and coroner’s inquests were also held in these premises
Inns also provided employment. In 1851 the Red Lion was home to a ladies maid, bar woman, cook, chamber maid, nursemaid, boots, potman and ostler to look after the horses. No doubt day staff were also employed.