Left to right are Nick Mayor, business development manager at St Austell Brewery, Sawles Arms tenant, Carole Williams, and Sheena Stark and Steve Howard, two of the Sawles team
The Sawles Arms, in Carthew, near St Austell, Cornwall, is celebrating its 100th year within the St Austell Brewery family.
The pub was built in the early 1850s, to serve the local China Clay workers, and has the traditional layout of a one-bar public house of that era. The pub sign still boasts the coat of arms of the Sawle family, who were wealthy local landowners at the time.
St Austell Brewery bought the Sawles Arms in July 1919 for £555. Looking back into its archives, researchers found that Mrs M Juliell was the pub’s earliest licensee, serving locals around 1856.
Current laicensee, Carole Joan Williams, who has been a tenant at the pub since 2004, has harked back to the pub’s past by running a competition throughout July for patrons to guess the price of a pint of beer back in 1919.
‘A front room pub with a special atmosphere’
She said: “The Sawles Arms has so much history. It’s not changed that much since the clay miners used it a hundred years ago! It’s still essentially a front room pub, so it has a special atmosphere. We thought it would be fun to see what people think a pint of beer cost back in 1919 — I think they’ll be surprised.”
Nick Mayor, business development manager for St Austell Brewery, said: “On behalf of everyone at St Austell Brewery, I’d like to congratulate Carole and her team. It’s amazing to think that the pub has been a part of the family here for 100 years.
“We are rightly very proud of our heritage and have always worked closely with our tenants to help them make their pub the most successful it can be. Here’s to another century for the Sawles Arms!”
St Austell Brewery purchased the pub soon after the end of the First World War. Under a David Lloyd George government there were strict drinking laws at the time, to stop returning soldiers from drinking too much. But attitudes changed, and by 1934 the brewery had acquired 79 pubs and hotels.