The Prospect Beerhouse is a building with an interesting history – both during and after its period as a beerhouse. And it’s now the home of friends of mine. It’s a curious thing, because when you’re in the house you do get a feel for its early life.
John Stooke’s book, Last Orders, has an entry for the Prospect Beerhouse – historically 20 Prospect Place. This is much to the delight of its current owners.
This building stands where South Street and Prospect Place join. According to John, in his book, ex-stonemason John Jones established the Prospect Beerhouse in 1848, with the Jones family running the place throughout its history as a beerhouse.
It seems that by 1850, John’s 68 year old mother held the licence – though, come 1853 the back door had John Jones’ name over it once more.
According to Last Orders, all appearances are that Jones’ beer selling venture didn’t end well – it seems that Frederick Large – in his Swindon retrospective recalls an 1865 incident of the landlord’s furniture being thrown out of the house and onto the street.
Life After Beer
The current residents of this house in Prospect Place, my aforementioned friends, have done some research into the well-known, Gateshead-born, founder of Swindon Ironworks: William Affleck – 1816-1894. His son Fred, occupied the former beerhouse, now domestic residence.
AS Mark Child points out in his Swindon Book, innumerable pieces of ironmongery – drain covers in particular – around Swindon bear his name. Why? The Affleck Ironworks that’s why.
This 2009 article from the Swindon Advertiser has the full story of the Affleck ironworks.
During the 1850s, Affleck established his Prospect Works, off Eastcott Hill.
1887 saw the Old Town cattle market laid out and Affleck’s Prospect works supplied most of the pens. When you’re wandering around Swindon, take a look at the manhole covers. Many of them bear Affleck’s name.
And gardening too
With a slight touch of the bizarre, it transpires that Affleck was a talented gardener too. In 1869, Affleck placed an advert in the local paper for the sale of Capital Swedes. It’s interesting that the advert gave no address – only his name. So we can assume he was well known for his swedes and that people knew where to go for them. Given that he describes the swedes as capital, do we assume that 1869 was a good year – swede-wise?
See also in this series: https://swindonian.me/2019/01/19/the-swindon-county-ground-hotel/