Now & Then – The Red Lion

The Red Lion – Publican

Mr Allen Wright with his son Ron

Mr Allen Wright with his son Ron,      Courtesy of Roy Bayliss

Allen Wright, his wife and their son Ron lived at The Red Lion. It had the reputation of being one of the most cheerless pubs in north Oxfordshire. If there was ever a fire it had only a few coals, and more probably sticks. Mr and Mrs Wright were to be seen most afternoons with their wooden push cart/trolley walking up the Hornton Road or in Hadsham ‘sticking’. Of course many people in Horley had been born and brought up in very difficult times when there was poverty, insufficient food, and no safety net of welfare benefits to cope with unemployment or ill health. Even when the state began to provide basic levels of welfare for its citizens some people continued to live in the way they were accustomed to.

People said wryly that there was a 5 watt bulb in the pub. But during the depressed economic conditions prevalent in the countryside in the 1940s/50s there were not many rich pickings to be had in running a local pub. In some ways it is surprising that the pub survived.

In the 1920s and 1930s there had been better days and the pub had pork pies for sale on a Friday. Florrie Dunwoody remembered that she and her mother Mrs Jelfs would sometimes buy one as a treat for tea.