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Holly Bush, 5 Cook Street

Alternative Addresses:Cook Street Square
This evergreen shrub with its bright red berries, is now associated with Christmas decoration. Previously it was used by the Romans during the Saturnalia, the period of riotous celebrations extending over seven days, often ending in drunken debauchery. The Saturnalia was also celebrated in December. This pub is thought to date from before 1800 and by 1808 a Friendly Society was meeting here. In 1854 an inquest was held at the Holly Bush into the death of Eliza Webb, who was murdered by her husband, Nelson Webb, at the Black Dog in Cook Street. He then turned his pistol on himself. Perhaps the goriest part was when the bodies of Nelson and Eliza were laid on the floor before the inquest in an upper room of the Holly Bush. I get the impression that inquests at that time were usually conducted in the presence of the dead bodies. In 1926 the pub was sold by Charringtons and it closed in 1940. Must have been war damage.


1822 - 1835 Joseph Rigg 1841 Thomas Sheffield 1845 H. G. F. Sheffield 1850 - 1851 Elizabeth Sheffield 1861 - 1868 Thomas H. Beecroft 1869 - 1871 Thomas Wilkinson 1874 A. Dowse 1879 Thomas Dowse 1881 Thomas Bateman 1886 G. Morgan 1890 - 1891 Thomas Bateman 1893 - 1896 E. Simpson 1903 - 1909 Isaac Greaves 1911 - 1912 Ernest Williams 1912 - 1922 Robert R. Harris 1924 F. Bedder 1926 - 1936 Mrs E. F. Bedder 1937 - 1938 John Gray 1939 - 1940 A. C. Ross
Holly Bush
Street plan of 1851
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