Friday 12th February 2016
The Crown is another Lazarus pub, coming back from the dead following its closure in 1994. Prior to that the pub had a lot of history going back to the 1830s. It was in that period, 1830 to be precise, that the Beer House Act was made law. That was during the reign of the Hanoverian King William IV, also known as the “Sailor King”. This law is probably why there are a considerable number of pubs named after him.
Back then, Oakengates was a small village with local industries such as iron smelting and low-scale coal mining supporting it. However when the railway arrived in 1846 it made a great difference to its prosperity and it expanded considerably. Many new retail premises opened and that of course included pubs and beer houses.
The Crown was a Beer House and almost certainly brewed its own. The beer of favour around these parts was a strong mild ale, probably over 6% abv. It was opened by Richard Corbett in about 1835 and in 1851, following his death, his brother William took over. The son of Richard Corbett, with the same name, inherited the Crown in 1857. In continued in the family for a long period after.
In 1870 it became an inn and in 1926 was taken over by the Wrekin Brewery of Wellington. They were subsequently taken over by Shrewsbury & Wem breweries who closed it in 1969 and the beer was supplied thereafter by their brewery in Wem. The company were part of the Greenall Whitley brewing empire based in Warrington who closed the Wem brewery in 1987. They then closed the Warrington brewery in 1991!
Finally, the sorry period of ownership by Greenall’s finished when they closed the Crown in 1994. The pub was saved by John Ellis in May 1995. He renovated it and reopened in July 1995. Since then it has gone on to be an extremely popular pub indeed and has sold more than 14,000 different beers since.
It has won many awards over the years including several from the trade such as Morning Advertiser-Publican Midlands Cask Ale Pub of the Year 2008 and 2014, also their Midlands Free House of the Year 2007 award. Numerous CAMRA gongs have also been accumulated.
On this visit I was with Linda, Steve and Russell. As can be seen from the top photograph the exterior colour is yellow and that is the predominant shade inside as well.
The pub has two rooms, front and back and we settled in the front. The bar counter extends across most of the area.
There is a way through the rear room on the right of the building. This is home to Liv’s Gallery, a kind of mini-art gallery (see photo left).
There is another counter at the back, served from the central bar area. As we sat down I noticed that there was low red-painted panelling around the room with the yellow walls above. There were many framed paintings and also posters stuck on to the walls. Near the ceiling I could see shelves containing a beer bottle collection. The furniture was of the typical pub wooden variety and on the left side of the room there was a warming fire.
The beers on offer were: Hobson’s (Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire) Best Bitter (3.8%) and their Twisted Spire (3.6%). These first two are regulars, the remainder were guests. They were: Joule’s (Market Drayton, Shropshire) Pale Ale (4.1%) and Slumbering Monk (4.5%); Rudgate (Tockwith, North Yorkshire) IPA (5.2%) and Coastal (Redruth, Cornwall) Mosaic Gold (4.2%). They also offer Abrahall’s (Bishop’s Frome, Worcestershire) Thundering Molly Cider (5.2%).
There is a lot of activities going on at the pub. On the last Thursday of the month there is a open mic night and every Wednesday the back bar hosts the Telford Acoustic Club. There are live bands on random nights.
It is dog friendly with a bowl of water and dog biscuits provided. Apart from snacks in packets the only food for humans are pork pies, which I think dogs like also (yet it is not recommended you feed them to them). With two other CAMRA Good Beer Guide pubs within 30 metres of the front door, the Crown should not be missed.
The Crown Inn, Market Street, Oakengates TF2 6EA. Tel: 01952 610888
Hours: Monday-Sunday 12.00-23.00
The Crown is less than ten minutes from Oakengates railway station.
This has trains running from Birmingham to Shrewsbury via Wolverhampton.
They are every hour Monday to Saturday and are provided by London Midland.
On Sunday the frequency is every two hours and they are provided by Arriva Trains Wales.
Oakengates Bus Station is a few minutes away by foot.
It is served by routes 4, 5, 5A, 7, 14 and 15 to various other parts of Telford.