England expects that every man will do his duty. So goes the famous signal from fellow Norfolk man Horatio Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar. He wanted to say confide but when advised that it would have had to have been spelt out letter by letter he made do with expect, which was in the signaller's available vocabulary. And whilst I'm not facing the French and the Spanish I'm still doing my duty in the battle against Covid-19. Social contact minimised. No visits to pubs or local studies libraries. No day-long rides to far-flung bygone boozers with their necessary café stops and whilst I fancy writing about a more distant former hostelry I'll make do, for this post, with a local one.
The former Nelson's Arms Inn is to be found in Elton, Derbyshire - just a few hundred crank revolutions, or even strides, from my front door.
With no entry in any directories that I've delved into prior to the 1855 Post Office one, the first reference to it that I've found is in the 1851 census when one Joseph Hadfield is listed as a publican residing there. He was in the village a decade earlier, but appears not to be in the same location. The above-mentioned 1855directory shows his son William as keeping the inn and five years later William himself has moved on and John Webster is now mine host.
On John's death his widow Fanny took over the reins and in 1881 she married slater George Sellors. It is he that's listed in Kelly's 1891 edition as running the place. George and Fanny subsequently moved down to Bakewell and by at least 1895 the pub is in the care of William Morris.
Whilst Kelly's 1915 edition still has William in residence their offering ten years later shows him to be found at The George in Youlgreave, which is still serving today. And that is the last record of it that I have found. It's not listed any any of the later Kelly's that I have access to Did it shut with his move? I don't know. It was certainly closed when one room served as the part-time village Post Office in the 1990s.
Although the earliest record of the pub that I've found is 1851, stalwart of Elton's local history group Lynn Burnet has discovered that a Ralph Keeling was the innkeeper in 1738. What its name was then is anyone's guess. It's highly unlikely to have been the Nelson's Arms as Nelson wasn't born until 1758.
So, a local bygone boozer. Just how long will it be before I'll be venturing further afield once more? Who can tell? The virus which used my heart and lungs as playthings back in tyhe autumn of 2017 was bad enough. I'm still living with its aftermath. I certainly don't fancy meeting this one, so I'll be staying pretty local for now. Even the possibilities of local sorties might be taken away from me by a Covid-19 (Emergency Powers) Act 2020, or similar. As Nelson said, Desperate affairs require desperate measures.
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