About The Live & Let Live (1862-1908)
Now a guest house on the corner of Alma Street and East Street
The Live and Let Live was one of many beerhouses to have been built in Wivenhoe in the 1860s as the village saw a major expansion with the arrival of the railway. With two unsuccessful applications to become a pub it was probably always the poor relation of The Black Boy a few doors down. One of many Edwardian closures, it first became Flux’s Store before becoming “Holy Joe’s” and eventually a guest house.
The arrival of the railway caused a major expansion in house building in Wivenhoe on a scale that was unmatched until the arrival of the University 100 years later1. Queens Road, Station Road and Alma Street all date to this time and a number of smaller terraces are contemporary to the period.
The Live and Let Live was clearly purpose built as a pub or shop and follows a trademark Victorian design, being situated on a street corner with the entrance set at 45 degrees to the two adjoining streets. This layout can be seen in virtually every pub, hotel or beerhouse constructed in Wivenhoe in the Victorian period, including The Sailors Return, The Shipwrights, The Station, The Grosvenor and Park Hotels as well as shops such as the ones on the corner of East Street and Anchor Hill as well as Queens Road and High Street. The Anglesea Arms being the only notable exception.
An irregular footprint to the building
The footprint of The Live and Let Live was determined by the junction of Brook Street and Alma Street which are not quite set at 90 degrees and the site of a cottage that once stood between it and Alice’s Cottage. All of which results in the beerhouse having a somewhat irregular shape, no two external walls are parallel, which is not particularly noticeable from the street but can be seen from the floor plan.
We do not know the exact layout of The Live and Let Live, so can only speculate, but it may well be that it followed The Shipwright’s in having the bar set in the corner facing the main entrance, making the bar area triangular in shape. The side entrance on Alma Street leads to the hallway and stairs so this was possibly the private entrance for the landlord and his family. Access to the cellar would have been via the hatch under the main stairs, the room adjoining the main bar to the east was possibly used as the tap room or perhaps as a secondary bar in which case the tap may have been in the fourth room to the rear.
Whatever the layout, The Live and Let Live would have been fairly modest in size but possibly not the smallest of the beerhouses. The Live and Let Live was built by local builder John Eade2 who was also responsible for The Grosvenor and Park Hotels.
Moses Appleby (1862-1877) – The first landlord
The first landlord was Moses Appleby, originally as tenant paying £35 per annum, he took the opportunity to purchase the property when it was put up for auction by John Eade in 18633. Moses was a carrier and butcher by trade, beerhouse keeper wasn’t even a secondary occupation, as it was for so many in Wivenhoe. Moses made two unsuccessful applications for a full licence, one in 1863 and another in 1866, on the second occasion storming out of court, leaving his legal representative to apologise for his conduct4. Moses then moved to Manningtree and William Harlow became the new tenant landlord and is recorded as such on the 1871 census and Kelly’s Directory of the same year. Moses Appleby had returned to The Live and Let Live by 1874 and continued as landlord until 1877, before selling up to Osborne’s Brewery5. He initially stayed in Alma Street, probably at the butcher’s next door, continuing to work as a carrier before moving to Great Clacton as a Restauranteur.
Daniel Southgate (1881-1886)
The next landlord was Daniel Southgate. Many Wivenhoe landlords were related, Daniel’s father, also Daniel and brother-in-law were also landlords and his wife, Emily Harlow was the sister of the afore mentioned William Harlow. Daniel had previously been landlord of The Horse and Groom. He continued at The Live and Let Live until c.1886 before moving to Brightlingsea where he ran The Cherry Tree Inn.
Joseph & Fanny Chidwick
Joseph Chidwick took over from Daniel Southgate and once more there is a family link as Joseph’s wife was Fanny Harlow, another sister of William Harlow. By 1901 the Chidwicks had moved down to the Quay.
Walter Richard Service
Walter Richard Service was briefly landlord in 1899 and one of the few references to him as landlord, an article in the Evening Star from 4 November 1899, may offer a clue as to why his tenure at The Live and Let Live was so brief5:
“WIVENHOE PUBLICAN CONVICTED. At the Lexden and Winstree Sessions to-day before J. Bateman, Esq. (Chairman), and other Magistrates, Charles Barr, Wivenhoe was charged with being drunk on licensed premises at Wivenhoe.— Police-Sergt. Hailstone deposed that on the evening of the 28th ult. heard the defendant using bad language in The Live and Let Live Public-house. He opened the door, and saw the defendant on the ground, drunk, and a man named George Groves trying to pour beer into his throat out of quart jug. The landlord was standing behind the bar laughing at him. Defendant was fined 5s.
Walter Richard Service, landlord of The Live and Let Live, was summoned for permitting drunkenness on his licensed premises.—Mr. Thompson Smith appeared for the defendant, who pleaded not guilty.—Police-Sergt. Hailstone gave similar evidence that in the last case, adding that he pointed Barr out to the landlord, who admitted that he knew was drunk, but did not like to turn him out.—Mr. Thompson Smith stated that Barr had only been in the house ten minutes before Police-Sergt. Hailstone arrived. The defendant did not serve the man Barr. It was not to defendant’s knowledge that he was not acting within the law by allowing Barr to stop in the house as long as he was behaving properly. When the man commenced to use bad language, just before the police officer’s entry told Barr that he would have leave—The Bench fined defendant £2 and 15s costs. “
By 1901 Walter had moved to Anchor Hill where he was employed as a shipwright.
Thomas Saunders then took over, he had previously worked as a factory overseer at The Courtauld Silk Mill at Halstead. By 1911 he had moved to Sible Hedingham where he was listed as a 72-year-old publican out of business.
Decline and Closure from 1900
The Edwardian era was an increasingly difficult time for pubs and beerhouses with the temperance movement gaining strength and magistrates increasingly reluctant to renew licences. Legislation introduced in 1904 gave the licensing committees greatly increased powers to close down pubs and beerhouses that they deemed to be surplus to requirements, with both landlord and brewery receiving compensation. Nationally 12,500 licences were compensated between 1904 and 1920, of the ten beerhouses listed in 1906 only four would survive the end of the decade and by 1922 that figure would be reduced to two. Two of the pubs, The Anchor and The Ship at Launch also closed during this time so the number of drinking establishments in Wivenhoe was reduced from 21 in 1906 to 13, just five years later.
So the fate of The Live and Let Live was typical of the beerhouses of the time and brewery records reveal sales figures reaching a low point of just seven barrels in 19038 (a similar figure would also prove terminal for The Shipwright’s some fifty years later). Breweries were now increasingly forced to consolidate and smaller beerhouses were often sacrificed to preserve or gain licences for more lucrative pubs. The Live and Let Live thus became the sacrificial lamb for The Victory at West Mersea and was auctioned off on 2 October 1908 for £150 on condition that it was not to re-open as a public house.
Ernest Flux (1912-1948)
The building was sold again in 1912 and was purchased by Ernest George Flux, who opened it as a shop, The Alma Stores. Ernest was originally from Great Yarmouth but moved to Colchester as an infant where his father worked as a washing contractor for the Army. Ernest worked as a metal turner at Forrest’s and it would appear that he continued in this line of work whilst his wife Grace ran the shop. Ernest served alongside Hector Barr in the 5th Battalion Essex Regiment (Territorials) prior to the First World War. By the outbreak of the Second World War Ernest was incapacitated but Grace was still running the store, he died in 1948 and Grace retired to Dovercourt where she passed away on 10 December 1956.
St John Paul Johnstone (1950s-1974)
The Alma Stores now passed to St. John Paul Johnstone, who was born Hyman Goldstein in the east end of London, the son of a Polish-Jewish enamel dealer. Hyman served as a private with the Pioneer Corps during WWII and it was only after joining up that he converted to Christianity, the Blitz clearly had a profound effect on him.
“I left the Jewish faith to embrace the cause of the Lord. When the bombing raids were at their fiercest, I was shaken to the very foundations of my being.”
“You see before the war I had been wayward. Before my conversion I was a drunkard and a reprobate. I used to go to the West End and thoroughly enjoy myself.”9
Hyman’s application to change his name by Deed Poll appeared in the London Gazette before the War’s end (January 1944) when his address is given as Frinton-on-Sea. He was now officially St. John Paul Johnstone, although in Wivenhoe he will be remembered primarily as “Holy Joe”. He married the daughter of a Welsh clergyman and they had three children but eventually separated and his wife emigrated to Canada.
Paul had made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to run a general store, one near Braintree and another at St. Osyth before arriving at Wivenhoe. It’s clear that Paul was more interested in saving souls than he was in selling groceries and, in this endeavour, he was assisted by Alexander McLeod. Paul’s firebrand evangelical style did little to win customers and business declined until the late sixties when he was left with just one customer.
“I think she felt sorry for me”10. When she died, he finally decided to shut up shop. Paul died in 1974 and was buried in Wivenhoe Cemetery where he lies in an un-marked grave.
The Live and Let Live required some work before becoming a private residence. It would then re-open its doors as a guest house, suitably re-named as The Live and Let Live.
- Population fell slightly to 2,193 in 1931 as the maritime industries declined, but rose again to 2,729 in 1961. Wivenhoe was the fastest growing town in Essex in the following decade, its population reaching 5,316 in 1971, the opening of Essex University being an important factor. British History On-line.
- Peter Kay, Wivenhoe Pubs page 19
- Essex Standard: Wednesday 17 June 1863 page 3 col. f.
- Essex Standard: Wednesday 5 September 1866 page 3 col. b.
- Peter Kay, Wivenhoe pubs page 20
- Evening Star – Saturday 4 November 1899 page 3 col. f.
- Geoff Brandwood, Andrew Davison, Michael Slaughter, Licensed to Sell, The History and Heritage of the Public House, Page 43
- Peter Kay, Wivenhoe pubs page 20.
- Dick Barton, Wivenhoe, its attractions, pleasures and eccentric natives, page 1
- Dick Barton, Wivenhoe, its attractions, pleasures and eccentric natives. page 1