Created By: Cheltenham Local History Society
The Suffolk Arms dates from 1824 and is probably the oldest building in this street. The land upon which it sits was once part of a field called New Grotten, which belonged to Charles Brandon Trye, Lord of the Manor of Leckhampton.
In earlier times public houses were often the venues for public events such as auctions and coroner’s inquests. An early house auction was held here at the Suffolk Arms on 31st May 1827, in the reign of George IV.
Just a few months before Queen Victoria was crowned in 1837, Charles Scott took over the Inn, advertising well-aired beds and good stabling for his guests’ horses. Commercial travellers and visitors to the Cheltenham races, then held high up on Cleeve Hill, were some of the target clientele.
By 1889 the landlord, Mr Dawes, was advertising Smoking Concerts at the Inn on Wednesday and Friday evenings in the winter season. Smoking concerts were popular in Victorian times and consisted of live performances, usually of music, before a men-only audience. The evening would include political discussion, whilst the men smoked and listened to the music. These events continued to be held at the Inn well into the 20th century.
In April 1896 Edward Stephens, who claimed to be delivering milk to the Inn, was fined 10 shillings (50 new pence) for not having proper control of his horse and cart. Apparently he had left the rig outside for half an hour without chaining the wheels to prevent the horse driving away. Runaway horses were a considerable hazard and this was regarded as a serious safety offence.
In common with most of the local public houses, at the start of the 20th century this was the base for many social gatherings and sports clubs and the pub was a centre for the local community.
Walk further along Suffolk Road until you are opposite Armada Antique Crystal Chandeliers.
This point of interest is part of the tour: A Walk on the South Side - from Cheltenham to The Suffolks