About The Black Boy

"Enjoy At The Boy"

The Black Boy is a real ale pub in Bricket Wood, near Watford

Cask Marque accrediationWe're proud to have been awarded the much sought after Cask Marque accrediation, assuring you of fine real ales served at the right temperature and to the standard you would expect. Our ales, consisting of Timothy Taylor Landlord, Fullers ESB and Fullers London Pride have undergone a stringent series of tests to ensure they are fully deserving of the Cask Marque seal of approval.

History

The part Grade II Listed Black Boy opened as an ale house in 1754 with the first known licensee recorded as Thomas Goodson, almost certainly making it one of the oldest public houses in the area.

The Black Boy in 1905

The Black Boy in 1905

In 1759 Henry Long and Isaac Quick took over though by 1770 Isaac Quick was running the premises on his own. The Jordan family became the licensees in 1838 with successive generations running the pub until the early 1900s. The Black Boy seems to attract long-serving publicans. Frank and Barbara Burnage achieved the distinction of becoming Hertfordshire's most durable landlords by remaining at the Black Boy from 1956 to 1999.

The Black Boy became an obvious stopping off point from the 1770s when the route from St Albans to Watford was incorporated within a toll road and a turnpike opened nearby. Photographs from the early 1900s show a no-frills, modest sized building surrounded by thick woodland. The one entrance was in the middle of the central Listed part of the current building. The centrepiece inside was a magnificent inglenook fireplace. You can still see the thick wooden beams behind the bar. Aerial shots from the late 1950s show a significantly bigger but still largely isolated pub with a sizeable garden and a new and virtually empty A405 running parallel to the Old Watford Road. With the construction of the M1 all that was to change. The conspicuous acres of heathland and woodland behind the Black Boy in the aerial pictures - now Broadacre, The Uplands and surrounding roads - would eventually be swallowed up by development.

A stone plaque in the front wall commemorates former licensee John George Eggleton who left the Black Boy in 1917 to join the Royal Engineers as a sapper. He was killed in France on April 16th, 1918, aged 27. His body was never recovered but his sacrifice is marked on a memorial at Pozieres on the Somme.

Why the name Black Boy? There are a number of similarly named pubs in the region but the derivation is not clear cut. In the 18th century it was fashionable for wealthy families to employ negro servants with the little 'black boy' riding pillion on their carriages. These premises probably got their name from this piece of social one-upmanship. However when Charles II (1660-1685) was in exile his dark complexion earned him the nickname The Black Boy!

The longevity of the Black Boy pales into insignificance when one considers the Roman influenced history of the surrounding area. Remains of a Romano-British tile and pottery kiln - from around 100-150 AD - were discovered in a gravel pit behind the house in 1932 and a gold Roman coin circa 393-423 AD was found in the garden in 1958.

The current landlords took over from the Marks family in early 2002.

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