ROYAL OAK HOTEL
A bill from the Royal Oak dating from the 1880s. Picture courtesy of Dean Emery.
Pictured in 2012
Normally the earliest date given for the Royal Oak establishment is 1783, which is when the name Royal Oak first appears in a trade directory. However, the Royal Oak named there is the Old Royal Oak, meaning this establishment was first mentioned from around 1809.
The Royal Oak Hotel was one of the town’s main coaching houses and until at least 1912 the hotel also acted as a posting house and excise office.
An old article on the BBC website, about Staffordshire’s oldest pubs mentioned a ghost called George at the Royal Oak.
In 1809 the Cheadle road tolls were offered for let in the hotel by way of an auction, the area stretched from Blyth Marsh (a hamlet now part of Blythe Bridge) to Spen Lane in Derbyshire.
The coronation of George IV in 1821, was celebrated at the Royal Oak with a public dinner; the tickets to which cost 5s.
In June 1825, proprietor Thomas Sulfolk left the Royal Oak to run the Unicorn Inn, located at the opposite end of the High Street.
Towards the middle of the 1820s, the Royal Oak's reputation appears to have suffered for some reason. With sale notices in 1826 describing it as “formerly well accustomed”. The same notices informed potential tenants, “The house and buildings are intended immediately to undergo a thorough alteration and repair, and as considerable additions and improvements will made”.
On 11 September 1826 in the Staffordshire Advertiser, Thomas Munton announced that he had taken on the Royal Oak Inn. Previously Munton had worked at the Castle Hotel in Birmingham as a waiter. The notice also states that “the rooms are newly fitted up in a superior style”. After Thomas died in March 1828 his widow and daughter, continued running the business.
Pigot & Co.’s National Directory 1828-29 notes: Coach to Birmingham from Manchester calls at the Royal Oak, every afternoon at one, the coach to Manchester calls every afternoon at the same hour.
Around the end of 1835, Mrs Munton looks to have left the running of the business to her daughter – with newspapers referring to it as “the house of Miss Munton”.
The 1845 pew allocations, there are a number of pews linked with the inn. These are assigned to Lord of the Manor, Sir John Buller Yarde-Buller. While this shows they owned the property, it could also mean it was built by the Bullers.
Isabella Munton remained at the Royal Oak until early 1849, when she sold her personal belongings before leaving the area.
Cheadle Amateur Dramatic Society gave a performance of 'Venice Preserved' during February 1852, in the large (assembly?) room at the Royal Oak. This was followed by a production of T. Allingham's farce 'Fortune's Frolic'.
Until 1855 Cheadle’s Petty Session Court was held at the Royal Oak in the clubhouse. John Michael Blagg and his son Charles objected to this arrangement and the sessions were permanently moved to the premises operated by the Police.
A public meeting was held in April 1860 at the Royal Oak, to discuss the formation of a Churnet Valley Volunteer Rifle Corp, this was held in the Assembly Room and was very well attended. In a later meeting the name Moorland Volunteer Rifle Corp was decided upon. Their regular meeting place became the Royal Oak’s clubhouse.
The Royal Oak remained part of the Buller estate until 1872, when it was sold to the landlord William Barnes.
Cheadle’s Masonic Lodge (St.Giles: No. 1587) was formed in 1876 and the Royal Oak was their meeting place for a number of years.
The Stone based brewery John Joules and Son owned the pub from around 1877.
In 1883 landlord Ralph Heath left the pub trade to join the Blue Ribbon Army, a society against the consumption of alcohol.
Following the cutting of Cheadle Railway’s first sod in 1888 a banquet was held at the pub in celebration.
From 1900 prior to the railway opening, a omnibus service would operate from the Royal Oak. It left Cheadle at 8.10 am and took passengers to Blythe Bridge railway station, this service stopped when Cheadle’s station opened in 1902.
The Royal Oak's telephone number in 1906 was No. 16 on the Cheadle exchange.
Cheadle Rifle Club was formed in 1906, this group was a modern version of the Moorland Volunteer Rifle Corp. As part of the celebrations, the old volunteers were treated to a dinner at the Royal Oak.
Pigeon racing was a popular pastime in Cheadle and the Royal Oak Hotel paid host to The Cheadle and District Homing Society. Pigeon racing was banned in 1914 due to the war and it wasn’t until 1917 when racing in Cheadle began again, although by this time it was decided to join some of the groups together to form the Cheadle Amalgamation Society.
At one time there was a sign outside the building proudly proclaiming that this was the centre of Cheadle and local school children would be taught as such.
In 1940 the pub’s telephone number was 3116.
The Cheadle and District Cage Bird Society used this pub as their meeting place in the late 1950s.
The brewery 'Bass Worthington' owned the pub by 1980. In 1989 they applied to SMDC for planning permission to install new signs.
While Alton Towers' rollercoater Corkscrew was being installed, the construction crew stayed at the Royal Oak.
In 1993 as part of a newspaper article related to tourism, landlord Royston Shaw (presumably Bill) mentioned that four more rooms were going to be added to property.
Punch Taverns owned the building by 1998, which is when SMDC allowed a series of external alterations. In 2007 they also got approval for some internal alterations and the construction of a smoking shelter. A few years later in 2010 planning permission was passed for a series of new signs, but this never went ahead.
Following a series of short closures over the next few years, the doors closed for good in December 2013.
Information regarding planning permission and a campaign to save the building can be found on Page 2.
William Labdon (Staffordshire Advertiser 1809, 1819)
Thomas Sulfolk (Staffordshire Advertiser 1820, 1826) [until June 1825]
Mr Smith (Staffordshire Advertiser 1825)
Thomas Munton (Staffordshire Advertiser 1826, 1827, 1828)
Elizabeth and Isabella Munton [Widow and Daughter of Above] (Staffordshire Advertiser 1828, White’s Directory of Staffordshire 1834 and Staffordshire Advertiser 1835)
Isabella A. Munton (Staffordshire Advertiser 1836, Pigot’s Directory of Staffordshire 1842, Staffordshire Advertiser 1849)
George Jackson (Staffordshire Advertiser 1849, 1852) [until 1853]
William Barnes [from April 1853] (Staffordshire Advertiser 1853, Kelly’s Post Office Directory 1860 and 1872) [until 1876]
Ralph Heath [July 1878- March 1883] (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire and Cheadle Herald)
James Churches (Cheadle Herald 1884, Staffordshire Sentinel 1893)
John Thomas Milward (Cheadle Herald 1898, Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1900) [until 1901]
Beatrice Alice Milward [Widow of Above] (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1904)
Mrs A. M. Dobbs (Staffordshire Sentinel 1905, 1906 and 1907)
J. B. Birch (Staffordshire Sentinel 1908)
Alice Churches (c.1910 Information and Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1912)
Mr Steele (Staffordshire Sentinel 1918)
Miss Gertie Hughes (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1921)
Miss L. Fowles (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1924 and 1932)
Cyril Jack Holding (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1940, Staffordshire Sentinel 1946)
E. Alfred Chandler (Cheadle Post and Times 1959) [until Sept 1959]
Gordon James Townsend [from Sept 1959] (Cheadle Post and Times 1959)
Graham and Mavis Jepson [1969 until July 1974] (Cheadle Post and Times 1974)
Christine and Neville Parkes (Cheadle Post and Times 1979), 1984 (Info from Facebook)
Audrey and Bill Roberts
Royston 'Bill' Shaw [from around 1987] (Cheadle Post and Times 1995)