A Brief History of The Five Alls


One of the projects I am most proud of is our refurbishment of the pub The Five Alls on Bath Road, Cheltenham. Having read a bit about its history, I thought I would share some of it with you.

The first point of interest, of course, is its name. As it happens, it was a common name for a public house in the 19th Century, or rather Four Alls was. It derives from the phrase ‘for all’ and was personified by the monarch (‘I rule for all’), a barrister (‘I plead for all’), priest (‘I pray for all’) and soldier (‘I fight for all’).

Indeed, there is photographic evidence that the pub was called The Four Alls as late as the mid-1850s when a fifth ‘all’ was added; the labourer who works for all.

The pub has had an interesting history over the years. In March 1861, for instance, a certain George Scarrett was charged with the theft of a stuffed squirrel from the pub worth 5 shillings. The magistrate, Colonel Newman, may have confused the defendant when he asked if the stuffed animal was still alive. Scarrett admitted stealing the squirrel, selling it and getting drunk of the proceeds.

Some 40 years later, upon the death of her husband, Louisa Simms was running the Five Alls when she raised the ire of the local police superintendent. When the licence came up for renewal he opposed it on the grounds that it was unsuitable for a single woman to run a pub without the support of a man.

After due consideration, the pub’s owners, Messrs Hall & Co, provided a male assistant for Louisa and she was granted the renewal of her licence.

Bringing us up to date, in 2019 Inndecs undertook an extensive refurbishment of the pub on behalf of the current owners, Star Pubs & Bars, part of Heineken UK. This included an amendment to the five figures on the pub’s sign as the labourer has been replaced by a John Bull-type figure representing the employers with the tagline ‘I pay for all’.

For pictures of our striking refurbishment of the pub, click here.

For more of the fascinating history of The Five Alls, click here.

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