The Queen Adelaide

The Queen Adelaide ~1920
The Queen Adelaide in 2007
photo by Tim Gane
House built on the site of the former Queen Adelaide in 2019
Tim Gane
Whaddon Village in the early 1900s. The Queen Adelaide stands on the left hand side
Robert H Clark postcard
The Closing of The Queen Adelaide
Royston Crow July 20 1956
Phillips Brewery Label
Courtesy of Royston Museum
Royston Ales Advert
Courtesy of Royston Museum


The Queen Adelaide Public House stood on the Whaddon Road to the west of Meldreth.  Now in the village of Whaddon, The Queen Adelaide was in Meldreth for most of its existence, but due to parish boundary changes (see below) it was in Whaddon for just one year before its closure.

It is likely that these premises first became a public house in the early 1850s although it may not have been called The Queen Adelaide until the turn of the century.  The evidence for this is as follows:

  • The 1851 census shows one Thomas Baker, a wheelwright living on the Whaddon Road with his wife Eliza Ann and their family.
  • The Kelly’s trade directories for 1853, 1858, 1864 and 1869 all list Thomas Baker as a beer retailer and wheelwright.
  • The 1871 census shows Eliza A Baker, widow as a publican living on the Whaddon Road.
  • The 1873 Kelly’s Directory shows Elizabeth Baker, beer retailer.
  • The 1881 census shows Eliza A Baker, widow, still on the Whaddon Road and working as a general shop keeper/publican.
  • The 1891 census shows Alfred C Frost as a publican living on the Whaddon Road, Meldreth.
  • The 1901 census shows John Fincham as the publican (and wheelwright) of the Queen Adelaide, Whaddon Road, Meldreth.  This is the first written evidence of this name.
  • The 1911 census shows that Martha Jane Jacklin, a widow, was the Publican. She lived there with her daughter, Georgina.
  • The 1921 census shows Frederick Hinkins as Publican and Fruit Gardener living there with his wife and two daughters, one of whom was a “bar attendant” in the pub.
  • The 1939 Register shows Harold Pepper as the licensee. He was living in the pub with his wife and children.
  • The last landlord of The Queen Adelaide was Harold Pepper. When the pub closed in 1956 he moved to Whitecroft Gables in Meldreth, where he was a smallholder and rented out rooms. His father, William Pepper, lived in Keys Cottage in Meldreth High Street.

Why is the Pub called The Queen Adelaide?

The most probable derivation of the name was from Queen Adelaide, the consort of King William IV  between 1830 and 1837.  Although it would appear that The Queen Adelaide first became a pub in the early 1850s it is possible that it came into being earlier than this date and so it was named after the current queen.  Queen Adelaide may have visited one of the manors at Meldreth or Whaddon and this may be another reason for giving the pub this name.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that there is also a King William IV not far away at Heydon?

A second possible, though unlikely, derivation may be with the city of Adelaide in Australia.  Adelaide, the city, was named after Queen Adelaide but there is also a surprising link to Meldreth.  In 1843 one William Ranson Mortlock, son of the late, china merchant, William Mortlock of Melbourn emigrated to Australia.  Here he made his fortune leaving the, then, fantastic sum of £100,000 when he died in 1901.  He also left land covering an area the size of England!  Much of this land is now part of Adelaide including a park called Meldreth Park and also a road named Whaddon Road!!

Owners of The Queen Adelaide

The Queen Adelaide was owned by The Royston Brewery during the early part of the C20th but it later came into the possession of the Flowers Brewery.  Following the death of the landlord, Flowers closed the pub and it was sold to a Mr Winter of Melbourn.  The Queen Adelaide ceased trading on July 9th 1956 after more than 100 years service.  Surprisingly The Dumb Flea and The Sailors Return closed in the same year.

Meldreth/Whaddon Boundary Changes

The Queen Adelaide came into the parish of Whaddon in 1955.  The evidence for this is as follows:

The VCH for Whaddon says: The parish of Whaddon lies east of the Old North Road, c. 6 km. north of Royston. It was said to cover 1,463 a. in 1841, but after 1891 1,519 a. until 1955 when 23 a. on the eastern boundary were transferred from Meldreth to Whaddon which thereafter covered 622 ha. (1,538 a.).

This is consistent with other sources.  For example Beatrice Clay writing in 1941/2 says that the Queen Adelaide was the last house in Meldreth.


Thanks to the Royston Museum, the Cambridgeshire Collection and Jean & Stan Ralls from Whaddon for the photographs on this page.

Comments about this page

  • I used to live opposite the Queen Adelaide in the Victorian terrace. The story goes that originally it was a dormitory building for the coprolite miners. The ground floor rooms were 10 feet in height because the site foreman told the builders to carry on building until he returned from the Queen Adelaide. He was much longer than expected, hence the 10-foot rooms. I don’t know if this is true but it is a cracking yarn!

    By Doone Watts (28/09/2023)
  • My grandfather Mr Harold Pepper was the last landlord of this pub.

    By Jayne Richardson nee Pepper (18/06/2012)
  • According to British History Online, the area around the Queen Adelaide was transferred from Meldreth to Whaddon in 1955.

    By Sean B (24/08/2011)

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