Cropped from an early 1900s Postcard
Previously this was two separate pages, as it is my belief there have been two establishments with the Portobello name in Cheadle . However given they both had the name, it seems likely that this was a case of the licensee moving from one premises to another - so I decided to merge the pages.
Robert Plant in the ‘History of Cheadle’ published 1881 recounts a story about the Portobello, giving it’s location as “near the south western wall of the Parish church graveyard”. A footpath through the graveyard was used by locals to get to it; until the old church was demolished in 1837 and the right of way removed.
The earliest possible mention of this establishment was in an issue of the Staffordshire Advertiser from May 1809, in which an auction notice was published. Lot 1 was “a Malt House and three small houses standing close to the church-yard in Cheadle” at the time in possession of Simon Fernyhough and others. Incidentally the auction was held at the Royal Oak; although there is no clue as to which Royal Oak it refers to.
Another reference to the Portobello, where it is referred to as “Whitlock’s malthouse” is in a letter published by the Cheadle Herald in 1907, the writer JH describes the same footpath as in Robert Plant’s book. This description places the pub in what is now likely part of the church graveyard.
In the 1828 edition of the Pigot’s Trade Directory a Thomas Whitlock is listed as a Maltster on Paradise Lane (now Church Street).
The Portobello is listed in trade directories (from at least 1818 onwards) closed in 1922 and was at the end of town next to the Blacksmiths at the bottom of Park Lane, the building is now called Portobello House.
In 1839 the Cheadle branch of the Oddfellow society was formed in this pub.
In the St. Giles (Parish Church) Pew Allocation documents of 1845 Sir John Buller Yarde-Buller is listed in association with the inn (also the Royal Oak).
William Alcock ran notices in the Staffordshire Advertiser during 1863, letting people know he was operating his business from the Portobello - advertising himself as a licensed Auctioneer and Valuer.
In March 1870 the building was advertised to let, described as having a "Garden, Out-buildings, and about 4A. of excellent Meadow Land". The contact is given as William Malkin of Rock Cliff, Cheadle.
The Staffordshire Sentinel ran a story in 1907 announcing the death of James T. Whitehurst (known as Jimmy) of the Portobello. He was a noted athlete, playing for the silk mill's football team, as well as the town cricket team. He had also played for Stoke City's first team as a centre forward.
The licensing committee recommended the premises (described as an alehouse) be closed in 1919. The Inland Revenue were then asked to set a compensation price - it was noted the owners were Messrs W. Malkin, R.W. Copeland and A. Rushton. They received £580, but the pub appears to have stayed open for a least a few more years.
The Portobello was officially de-licensed in 1922, the building was then brought by the Blagg, Masefield and Son solicitors firm, as noted in the will of Ernest W. H. Blagg. The intention was to turn it into an office, although it's not clear if this ever happened.
Until 1925, the Cheadle Saint Giles Scout Group had their headquarters behind the building.
Renamed Portobello House, the building was A. J. Alcock's Printers shop into the early 1990s (latterly as A.J. Alcock & Co.) - for many years the printer’s painted advertisement, could still be seen clearly on the side of the wall, it’s now very faded but just about visible.
Thomas Keates (Unknown years – Staffordshire Advertiser 1823)
William Wood (Parson and Bradshaw – Staffordshire Directory 1818, Pigot & Co.’s National Directory 1828-29, Pigot’s Directory of Staffordshire 1842 and Post Office Directory 1849)
George Heath (Staffordshire Advertiser 1850 and White’s Directory of Staffordshire 1851)
Francis Salt [from April 1855] (Staffordshire Advertiser 1855)
J. Jones (Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Staffordshire 1860)
George James (Directory and Gazetteer of Staffordshire with Dudley, Harrison & Harrod 1861)
William Alcock (Staffordshire Advertiser 1863)
Thomas Massey (Staffordshire Sentinel 1867 and 1868 Post Office Directory)
Frederick Brassington (Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Staffordshire 1872)
George Brassington (Leek Times 1874)
George James (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1880 and 1884) [until August 1885]
Henry Coombes [from 28th August 1885 – 22nd October 1886] (Cheadle Herald)
Eli Mellor [from 22nd October 1886] (Cheadle Herald, 1901 Census)
Elizabeth Mellor (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1904 and 1912)
William Henry Bostock (Cheadle Herald 1922)
Louise Whitehurst (Cheadle Public Houses of Yesteryear) [last licensee in 1922]