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The Swan Inn

Following on from the article about Pelsall Coal and Iron Company, I thought it would be a perfect time to follow on with an article about The Swan and The Swifts.

The Swan Inn, Pelsall

The Swan was the oldest recorded pub in Pelsall with its records dating back to 1809 and during its history it was the centre of village life.  In its history the Swan's community survived great hardship including Pelsall's colliery disaster of 1887 when an explosion at No.9 colliery shook the village and 12 people lost their lives. The village also survived the scarlet fever outbreak of 1886 and then typhoid which raged locally until 1895.

The miners and ironworkers who populated the village stayed loyal to The Swan, the dominant pub in the village, home to friendly societies and local unions including the railway union who met there for 22 years.  

The best description of The Swan and the community who frequented it in the early years was penned by Pelsall Historian, William Farmer 1901 - 1985.

In his book, Pelsall Early Years of the 20th Century, William Farmer recalls a character known as 'Fiddler Jack' and his connection with The Swan and wrote the following:

By The Swan public house, there was a cluster of small cottages and a shop kept by Mr and Mrs Blakemore.  Mr Blakemore was a haulier with a horse and cart an also did a little farming.  His one delight was in playing the fiddle, in fact he was known locally as Fiddler Jack.  On summer nights we would go into the shop, they sold pop, aniseed balls, liquorice strips, popcorn, kali and general stores.  Mr Blakemore needed no asking to play for us, he would fetch his drink from The Swan, bring out his fiddle and chair and would play to us for hours.

The Swan in 2002

Photograph copyright A Bates Pelsall Times

When I first visited The Swan to investigate the history of the public house, I was fascinated by what I found.  To begin with I saw a frame with an old poster inside of it just inside the door.

It read:

The Highgate & Walsall Brewing Co No3

The Swan Inn  Established in 1809


Home of Pelsall Swifts

Apart from being Pelsall's oldest surviving Inn, The Swan is famous for being home to the Swifts, the once great local footballing side which played before the war on the football pitch behind the pub.  Whilst Pelsall Villa were the original side to play here in 1913 - 1927 and Pelsall Social played here after the Second World War in 1942 - 1950.  It was the Swifts who made the pub famous for its football.  The Swifts captured the imagination of the village with their dedicated style and often brutal way of playing the game.  The team disbanded shortly after the war broke out and played their final game on October 16th 1939, a game which was played in torrential rain and the Swifts won two goals to nil. 

One of the oldest photographs of The Swifts

The Swifts Youth Team

Inside The Swan in 2002

Photograph copyright A Bates Pelsall Times

Footballing Memorabilia Proudly on display at The Swan in 2002

Photograph copyright A Bates Pelsall Times

More information about The Swan and other historic public houses of Pelsall can   be found in Last Orders Please! by Annita Bates which is on sale at Kind Thoughts, High Street, Pelsall and R W Print, Norton Road, Pelsall

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