The Queen’s Tap Swindon, New Swindon’s first pub (allegedly), is one of two public houses situated across the road from Swindon railway station. Once known as the Queen’s Hotel, the Queen’s Tap was the first of the two to have thirsty Swindonians leaning on the bar. The other one being the GW (Great Western) Hotel.

Built by JD&C Rigby to a design by the office of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Rigbys were also responsible for the construction of the cottages in Swindon’s railway village. They also got the deal to build Swindon railway station.

The Queen's Tap Swindon 1842-43

A listed building

Listed by Historic England as Grade II in 1981, Mark Child, in The Swindon Book, describes it as an heroic survivor of a public house – flanked and dominated as it is by office buildings. He further describes it as a two-storey, three-bayed gem built of coarse rubble limestone with ashlar dressings beneath a hipped bay roof with dentil mouldings. Not that any of that means anything to me! But it might to to you – thus I’ve included that detail here.

Between 1841 and 1850 the original square building had single-storey extensions on either side. Further, considerable stabling was erected at the rear for the use of the Queen’s Royal Hotel.

The 19th century saw sales of cattle and horses in the stable yard at the back of the premises. What remained of those stables in 1991 were then demolished. In, I daresay, the name of progress.

Some of the past landlords

JD Rigby, the builder of the Queen’s Tap, held the first licence. It was granted to him in August 1841. Thus the QT is, probably, New Swindon’s oldest, fully licensed house.

The pub’s later ownership has something of an air of mystery about it. It seems that the only mention anywhere is in the minutes of the New Swindon Board when, in 1886, they issued a closure notice on a foul urinal.

Groves of Weymouth bought it in 1931 following a long lease period. From them it went to Devenish in 1960.

  • 1848-49: SGriffiths/ J Phillips
  • 1867: J Phillips
  • 1871-75: Lucy Hunt
  • 1880: G Moss/J Chater

Entrance to the Queen's Tap Swindon

The Queen’s Tap in the ether:

Do explore the rest of the Swindon in 50 More Buildings series here:

In fiction

The Queen’s Tap is mentioned in the book below.

Front cover of a book called 'A Christmas Railway Mystery' ny Edward Marston

And that makes me wonder if the QT features in this book? It mentions the Goddard’s Arms and the Glue Pot so I rather suspect it does – but I can’t remember. I’ll have to re-read it.

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