The British Queen
The Nineteenth Century
The British Queen opened as a public house some time before 1841 when Nathan Driver was the publican as evidenced by Kelly’s Directory of trades in Cambridgeshire and the 1841 census. It is possible that The British Queen opened first as a beerhouse some time after the 1830 Beer House Act of Parliament and of course it is still a pub today.
Nathan Driver remained as landlord until the mid 1860s. The 1871 census shows William B Jarman as the publican of The British Queen. It is not clear from the 1881 census exactly who was running the pub but by 1891 Frederick Thurley and his wife Ann were in charge. A fire in a barn belonging to a ‘Mr Thurley, publican’ occured in 1886 suggesting that Fred Thurley was probably already running the British Queen by this date.
The Twentieth Century
Fred died in 1909 when Charlotte ‘Granny’ Thurley took over. After her death in 1932 Herbert Gipson, her son, took over and was the landlord for a number of years until his death in 1966. He was succeeded by his daughter, Muriel, for a few months until ‘Mac’ took over.
Unlike the other pubs in Meldreth The British Queen had a full licence i.e. it could sell wine and spirits in addition to beer. The rest of the pubs were just beer houses.
In 1954 the pub was bought by Flowers Brewery and having survived the big cull of pubs in the village during the late 1950s it passed to Whitbread in 1962.
The Twenty-First Century
In 2001 Whitbread sold its breweries to Interbrew and in 2002 it sold its pub chain to Enterprise Inns. Enterprise Inns in turn leased it to Kew Inns. John Smith was the landlord from 1995 until 2010 when The British Queen was put up for sale by Enterprise Inns.
Alan Tobin bought the British Queen in July 2010 and he has completely refurbished it and started serving food again after a break of 15 years. Once again the British Queen is a very popular pub much used by the village.