In the late 1950’s Semington had 2 public houses. ‘The Somerset Arms” owned by Usher’s Brewery from Trowbridge and ‘The Bell Inn” owned by Frome United Brewery from Frome.
The Frome United Brewery was taken over by Usher’s Brewery who themselves were later taken over by Watney’s Brewery for London (Remember The Red Barrel Ale!!)
The ‘Bell’ was the ‘locals’ pub supported by most villagers with very few ‘regulars’ using ‘The Somerset’.
There were ‘National Benzole” petrol pumps in front of ‘The Somerset’ with Hancock’s Garage opposite selling ‘Cleveland Petrol’
Usher’s didn’t want 2 pubs opposite each other and later decided to sell ‘The Bell’ and so close ‘The Villager’s’ pub. What do we do?
Use ‘The Somerset’ or as was suggested to The Village Hall committee have a licensed bar in the Village Hall??
On the 20th September 1960 a special Village Hall meeting with many villager’s present was called to consider a licensed bar in the hall for the use of , a to be formed, a Social Club. The proposal was put to the meeting and carried unanimously. A sub committee was formed to make the rules. The membership fee was 5/- to be paid annually by 1st October.
The funds were to be vested in Semington Village Hall.
MR FRED FERNEYHOUGH was elected to be in charge of the bar with MR M. BENNETT and MR N. ARMSTRONG were asked to be helpers. MR BRIAN WATTS together with MR KEN JOYCE were asked to build a bar in the corner of the hall for which they were later paid 30/- each for their work. The Hall stage was cut into 3 parts to make room for the bar.160 glasses were purchased for £11-02-01.
Beers etc. were obtained from Gibb’s Mews Brewery from Salisbury with their rep MR DENNIS EASTON from Trowbridge who called every week on a Thursday evening to see how things were going
So the necessary memberships were signed and a license was obtained (£5 a year). Saturday 26th November 1960 “The Bell Inn’ closed
MONDAY 28TH NOVEMBER 1960
All set for a grand opening.
At 20-00hrs the doors were opened.(Several people waiting outside)
The first customer was MR ALBERT CARTER who purchased a pint of Usher’s Ordinary Bitter for a price of 1/3 served by MAC BENNETT.(I remember it well. Mac) There were no complicated calculations in them days. The profit was the difference paid for the goods and the selling price. Easy! MR ERIC BRUGESS had the cash each day and paid the bills accordingly.
Things progressed as The Village Hall funds grew. More tables and chairs were purchased. The land in front of the hall, which belonged to the council, was purchased and tarmacked. New toilets were built together with the lounge (1964) and so to the present day! Happy days!!