History

The Duke Inn, though not the oldest pub in Sutton Coldfield, certainly does come close. The Duke Inn’s history stretches back one hundred and sixty-four years. A man by the name of John Wells Junior first built a house on what was then known as Saddler Street in 1853 and by 1859 it was up for sale. Described at auction as ‘having a large beer garden and extensive and commodious stabling’. This building is where The Duke Inn still stands today.

It was a man named George Smith however who turned this building into the Duke. George Smith by 1859 had already erected a public house on the opposite side of the road to the current Duke Inn (which is now a pay and display car park). George Smith named his pub ‘The Duke Inn’ after his hero the Duke of Wellington who was known as the old Duke at the time. It was because of this pub; ‘The Old Duke Beer House’ that Sadler Street was later renamed to Duke Street.

A Charles Atkins was tenant of the pub and in 1859 he transferred his business and family over the road and the ‘new’ Old Duke Inn was established and stands there to this day. The move turned out to be a wise one to Charles Atkins as business continued to grow and the stables allowed many travellers to make pit stops at the Duke Inn.

Over the years the Duke had many tenants and the pub flourished under publican John Bailey in 1894. It was in this year the Duke built on an extension to provide a taproom and increased cellarage. The pub was clearly popular even back then with its links to cricket and football clubs.

The Duke continued to grow and over the years each landlord and lady has made the place their own. Many of our customers still remember some of the previous tenants from the seventies onwards such as Eunice Griffin (ran the Duke 1971 – 1978), Leo & Elsie Colbert (1978 – 1993) and Paddy & Mary McLaughlin (1993 – 2000/1). Since 2015 Kelly and Mike are proud owners of the Duke and have no plans of stopping anytime soon.

If you have any more questions about the Duke’s history or wish to learn more you can pop into The Duke Inn to read our information pack.

Thank you to genealogist Yvonne Moore for researching and compiling the history of the Duke.