The Plough Inn
The Plough in Tentelow Lane, Norwood Green, is probably the oldest licensed premises in the large parish of Norwood and, almost certainly, in the village surrounding the green and its environs. The original building was built in the 12th Century at the same time as St. Mary’s Church opposite to provide refreshment for the church builders and stonemasons though the current fabulous timber-framed pub structure dates back to the 17th Century or even earlier.
The precursors to present-day Fuller’s, Douglas and Henry Thompson, took over the Chiswick (later Griffin) Brewery upon the death of their father, John Thompson, in 1807. In 1816, the brothers bought Newton’s brewery together with its eleven pubs in Brentford, Isleworth and Norwood Green i.e. The Plough Inn with the aid of an £18,000 mortgage from one Thomas Harrington.
It was at this time that the name ‘Griffin Brewery’ appeared. The griffin had been the symbol of Meux’s and Reid’s Brewery in Liquorpond Street, City of London, but, when that partnership broke up in rancorous circumstances, Douglas Thompson snaffled the name up (though the griffin as a trademark was not officially granted until 1892).
In 1829, the two brothers became partners with Phillip Wood and John Fuller but, within two years, Henry Thompson had sold his share and been declared bankrupt. Phillip Wood was also a bankrupt upon his death in 1833 but the partnership of Douglas Thompson and John Fuller continued until it was dissolved in 1842. Three years later, in 1845, the memorable Fuller, Smith & Turner triumvirate was established which has continued for 160 years to the present day.
Therefore, the Plough Inn has been owned by Fuller’s since 1816 and, more certainly, from 1829 although it was not purchased outright until 27 June 1870. As probably the inn with the oldest lineage in Fuller’s traditional trading estate, the Plough has been retained long after the brewery has sold many other pubs in the area on. Approximately, £150k has been spent on its 2005 refurbishment which, once more, moved the bar counter closer to the bar back (at one time, there was a much larger floor area given over to the staff than the customers!) and the otherwise sympathetic restoration even extended to regilding the external ‘Hovis’-type lettering which has distinguished the pub for many decades (it never having been subjected to any more than token corporate signage none of which would sit easily on such an old building).
Home to many sports clubs in the past, it even featured its own active bowling green until recently and, coupled with the restoration and retention of the pub’s own extensive garden, it is to be hoped that the revamp will draw back customers to this historic inn which deserves to be at the forefront in its rightful place as one of the flagship outlets for Fuller’s fine ales.
Pelham - September 2005
Footnote - the pub is now leased by the O'Briens and have already increased the beer range - with beer festivals to come.