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Mama Stones - Mary Arches Street

Hub - 2006
Three Fat Fish
The Exchange
The Mitre
London Ale House
Davye's Ale House 1744

Page added 1 October 2009

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During 2009 it was announced that the pub and music venue the Hub in Mary Arches Street, that had been closed for some time, had been taken over by Wendy Joseph, mother of Devon's own soul diva, Joss Stone and would reopen in early September. This rather ordinary, 1960s style, brick built pub and music venue would be refurbished as Mama Stone's to replace Joseph's old Wellington based venue that was forced to close due complaints about the noise.

John Davye was a mayor and alderman of the city who founded Davye's Almshouses in 1600. The almshouses became the London Ale House which was listed as early as 1816 in the directories. The Flying Post announced the death of Mr Robert Venton, master of the London Ale House in November 1817. By 1837, the landlord was Mr S Moore, who announced the birth of a daughter in the March. Like many public houses, the London Ale House was used for inquests, with one reported in 1850, when a 90 year old lady was accidentally killed when her clothing caught fire. In 1853, another inquest found that an 11 week old illegitimate infant had died from convulsions, although two witnesses stated they thought the young mother had given the child something noxious before it died.

Mr Samuel Moore who ran the house from before 1837 died at the age of 73 in 1861. Soon after, in October 1861, due to the Hour Glass Inn at Larkbeare having been closed, the license was transferred to Mr John Strong of the London Ale House. The licence was transferred to Mrs Strong in 1870 after the death of her husband in the May. The trustees of the united charities of Flaye, Lethbridge and Davye, in 1879, placed the messuage known as the London Ale House, in the occupation of Mrs Louisa Strong, and four cottages at the rear for sale.

Poisoned servant

When Mr Banbury was landlord, in 1896, a general servant, Caroline Owen, in his employ, was admitted to hospital after suffering from poisoning by laudanum. The woman had consumed the substance which was meant for toothache, by mistake, to ease an attack of indigestion. Realising her error, she threw the bottle away and ran to a neighbour who called Dr Moon. Before the doctor arrived, a cab took the girl to the hospital. The report did not indicate her fate.

Later in the same year, the house came up for sale with Mr James Banbury still in occupation. The rent for the house which contained a bar, smoke and tap rooms, was £50 per year, although the lease was due for renewal in 1898. Three months later and Captain Banbury, as he was referred to, died, aged 52. It was reported he was a prominent Conservative – his wife continued to run the house, and her Conservative sympathies emerged when the house was host to the annual dinner of the Exeter Working Men's Conservative Union in 1898. Mrs Banbury retired in 1900 after eighteen years, when she was presented with a purse of money subscribed by customers of the house. Mr Bradford, formerly of the Victoria Inn, Paris Street was granted the license for the house, although he was warned by the magistrate that the authorities would keep an eye on him as he had been previously summoned for allowing drunkenness on his premises, although the case had been dismissed.

The new building

The pubs identity as the London Ale House came to an end after at least 150 years in 1958, when the landlord, Reg Bowden, was relocated to the Spirit Vaults in South Street, and the London Ale House was demolished for road widening. Reg Bowden moved back into the rebuilt pub, which was named The Mitre. Fashions come and go, and pub names, once seemingly fixed for ever, suddenly changed at the whim of a new landlord. The Mitre became The Exchange and then in the millennium, Three Fat Fish, with a concentration on music to bring in both the affluent and poor student, alike. Competing with the Angel and the Cavern, to name but two, Three Fat Fish struggled before closing and reopening as the more trendy Hub. However, it was not long before the Hub closed in early 2009.

Wendy Joseph's ownership of the newly named Mama Stone's promises to be a turning point for the establishment. The building was transformed during July, and it was reported that Joss Stone had also helped during a break in her European Tour. With a definite image and style of music, reinforced by an opening weekend featuring her daughter, and her band, Mama Stone's is a welcome addition to the city's music scene.

In late September 2009, Wendy Joseph announced that she had received planning permission to convert the upper floor into a recording studio and music academy. Not only would she start to admit music students, but she promised that Joss Stone's next album would be recorded there.

Source: Flying Post, Express and Echo, Geoffrey Prings history of Exeter breweries

Mama Stones
The newly decorated front of Mama Stones.
The Hub, now Mama Stones
The Hub before refurbishment as Mama Stones.

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