I've been doing a bit of musing on this one. I've actually been musing on a couple of fronts. Firstly, as we'll see later you can still buy a beer here so should it really be featured at all? And, secondly, I've been puzzling about its early life.
Numerous sources suggest that this pub was once upon a time called the New Inn. Various pages about the surrounding area on Facebook do. CAMRA's WhatPub! website does. Even Amber Valley District Council's guide to walks around Milford does. I can't help but wonder whether the latter was the source of information used by the others.
I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb and say that the Beehive was possibly never called the New Inn. I have found no evidence to suggest that it was. I think that some confusion could have arisen because there was another establishment in the village called the New Inn and one of its landlords moved to become mine host at the Beehive.
Why do I think this? Well, in 1835 there's no mention of the Beehive in Pigot's directory, or indeed in any earlier ones by Pigot or his competitors, but we do have a William Slater at the New Inn on Hopping Hill in Milford. And that's the only referenced New Inn in Milford that I've come across.
By the time of the1841 census William had moved to an unnamed pub in Hazelwood Place, the then name for where the Beehive was located...
...whilst a Samuel Chadwick was in another unnamed pub on Hopping Hill.
The following year, Pigot's directory shows them both in named hostelries in Milford, William in the Beehive and Samuel in the New Inn.
What I'm suggesting is that William Slater moved from the New Inn into the newly opened Beehive, which was always called the Beehive, and that there were never two New Inns, less than a quarter of a mile apart as the crow flies, in the same village. Anyhow, back to the Beehive.
William continued looking after the Beehive until his death in 1868 whereupon his widow, Mary took over the role of apiarist.
By 1881 Mary had retired but the Slaters were still at the Beehive, for now it was in the hands of son George...
...and his second wife Hannah. I presume that she's one of the ladies in the picture further up the page as her name's above the door.
If I can't be one hundred per cent certain that William Slater was the Beehive's first landlord I do know that its final one was Frederick Stainforth.
On 31st March 1901 he was recorded as being at the Beehive...
...and perhaps I'm wrong, and maybe the Beehive was the New Inn at some point, but it's certainly an old inn now for it closed at the end of that year.
Local mill owner Herbert Strutt paid for the building of the Strutt Arms on the main Derby road to put up guests that he couldn't, or didn't wish to, accommodate at Milford House and in December of 1901 both the licence and licensee from the Beehive transferred to the new establishment.
The Strutt Arms has had a bit of a chequered history of opening over the last few years, but currently still seems to operating to some degree.
What became of the Beehive? Well, after some extensive remodelling, Strutt opened it in 1902 as the Milford Institute where villagers could meet for 'recreation, amusement and instruction'. The Milford Institute is still running as the Sunshine Club.
Today, non-members can enjoy a pint there by being signed in as a guest for a £1 donation. So this former pub is strictly no longer a pub, but at least it's once again pretty pub-like.
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