Ten Publicans And A President
This interconnected family produced ten publicans at three of Swannington’s public houses. One of them also became president of a local trade union.
Robert and Sarah Lovett At The Robin Hood
Sarah Smith married coal miner Robert Lovett at Hugglescote on the 13th August 1849. In 1851 they were living with Sarah’s father Abraham Smith in Hugglescote. By 1861 they were at Station Row, Swannington and elsewhere in the village in 1871 when sons Jabez and Levi were also coal miners.
Robert Lovett took over the Robin Hood during the late 1870s. After Robert was buried at St George’s churchyard on the 8th January 1880, the licence was transferred to his wife Sarah. Sarah remained at the Robin Hood until at least 1891. During this period keen footballer Robert often brought his football team back to the Robin Hood for post match refreshments.
By 1901 Sarah was living with her daughter Sarah. By 1911 she was back in Swannington living with her son Levi until she was buried at St George’s churchyard on the 6th August 1915 aged 89 years.
Jabez Lovett At The Waggon And Horses
Jabez was landlord of the Waggon and Horses 1881-1899. After his death his wife Mary Richards became the landlady a role she continued until her death in 1914. Parts of Swannington were transferred to Coalville in 1894, 1912 and 1936 and the north side of Ashby Road is now in Coalville.
Very little is known about this public house and it would be great if anyone could help with more information.
Levi Lovett At The Station Inn
Landlord at the Station Inn
Levi grew up in the Lovett coal mining family becoming a miner himself. In 1876 Levi married Bessie Hickling the daughter of Joseph Hickling, the first landlord and owner of the Station Inn, and his wife Hannah (Platts). The following year Joseph died and Hannah became the landlady, a role she continued until at least 1881 before renting the inn to John Wilkinson Baseley.
By 1881 Levi and Bessie had a three year old son Charles and one year old daughter Bessie. The family lived in the cottage on the up hill side of the Station Inn. In 1886 Levi, took over the role of landlord. Although Levi was officially the landlord, Bessie would have done most of the work in running the establishment, as Levi continued to work at Snibston colliery.
The 1891 census records Levi being a Licensed Victualer (a publican) and colliery check weighman. Most miners were paid on a piecework basis, that is the amount of coal they produced. The colliery appointed a weighman to weigh the tubs of coal after they reached the surface. The check weighmen was appointed by the miners, as the name suggests he checked that the weights were recorded accurately and the fairness of any rejected loads containing small coal instead of the large pieces.
President and Agent
The 1911 census reveals that Levi and his wife Bessie had moved up Hough Hill and Levi was the Leicestershire Miners’ Agent. From 1887 to 1902 Levi had been the founding president of Coalville and District Miners Association and hosted many union meetings at the Station Inn (they also met elsewhere). He was Miners’ Agent 1902 to 1923 by which time the organisation had been renamed Leicestershire Miners Association.
Ethel Annie Clay (nee Lovett) at the Station Inn
In 1901 daughters Joanna 21 and Ethel Annie 19 were Assistant Licensed Victualers. Joanna married mining deputy Myles Winson Hardwick at St Georges in May. Sadly Joanna died in 1908 and her eight year old daughter Florence Ethel Hardwick was living with Levi and Bessie in 1911.
Ethel Annie Lovett married miner George Clay at St George’s church on the 3rd August 1907. By 1911 George was a metal turner at the railway engineering works. As usual, George was the official landlord, but Ethel Annie would have been the person who ran the inn. After George died in 1931 Ethel Annie would have officially become the landlady, she retired in 1934 and moved to Leicester with her daughter Ethel Irene Clay.
It was the Clay family who presented the painting of Levi Lovett to Leicestershire Museums Service.