Public Houses, Inns and Bars

In 1900 there were 31 public houses in Harpenden. 21 of them were still in existence in 2003, but the distinction between pubs, bars and restaurants is becoming more blurred.  There is no easy answer to "which is the oldest pub in Harpenden?"  The oldest recorded inn is The George, mentioned in the will of John Lawdry of Lamer in 1507, but it is not known if it was on the present site.  A Cock Inn was mentioned in 1639, but where it was is uncertain.  The Old Bell, Cock, Cross Keys, George, Sun and White Hart exchanged names and possibly sites with bewildering frequency.  The Old House in Leyton Road is the oldest inn building in Harpenden: it was called The Bull in 1596, though it changed its name over the years, it was The Bull again from around 1719 until it became a private house in the 1860s.
This section will cover the 'lost' pubs as well as the thriving survivors.