The morning broke dry if not sunny. As the good lady had already set off on a ladies ride the other side of Chesterfield I thought that I may as well pop out too for a couple of hours of not too strenuous pedalling.
I'd spotted the Wheel Inn marked on old Ordnance Survey maps whilst trying to establish whether there had ever been a pub in nearby Hulland - so far I still I haven't found one - and decided that I'd take a spin out in that direction to see if I could find it and grab a couple of shots.
The former Wheel Inn stands on the A517 Ashbourne to Belper road, on the eastern outskirts of the village of Hulland Ward. I'd never really noticed the building before, even though it is next door to the Black Horse where I have supped a pint or two. A couple of clues to its previous existence are its current name, The Wheel House, and the cartwheel mounted on a side wall. Until the recent retirement of the owners it operated as a bed and breakfast establishment where it was described as an ex-18th century inn. The earliest reference to it operating as an inn that I have found is in the 1871 census when one Thomas Beeston is the innkeeper. I can find no reference to it as a hostelry in earlier censuses or any of the earlier county directories that I have access to. No matter, it is certainly a bygone boozer.
If doubt exists as to its early days as an inn, I'm pretty certain that it shut up shop early in the 20th century. It's marked on the 1900 Ordnance Survey map but is absent from the 1920 mapping. Supporting evidence comes from census and directory entries. The 1901 census has a Daniel Booth as innkeeper and farmer at the Wheel Inn but ten years later he's simply a farmer at Wheel House. The 1912 edition of Kelly has him as a brewer's agent, again at Wheel House, and an identical entry is given to his widow, Lydia, in their 1925 edition – William having died in 1923. It appears that time was called on The Wheel Inn during the century's initial decade.
Comparing an early photograph of The Wheel with one which I captured on my ride – yes, the sun made enough of an appearance at just the right time to make it hard to get a decent shot – shows that there has not been too much alteration to its original structure. Although the door may have been moved, and the sign above it removed, it's certainly recognisable as the same building.
After snapping the place I continued on my ride through Hulland – still no signs of a bygone boozer – and back onto the A517 where I passed the former Fox and Hounds at Bradley which I'll deal with in a later post.
From Bradley it was back to Carsington Water, on through Bradbourne and Longcliffe, where I passed the former Jug and Glass, and then home in time to catch Ireland v Samoa in the Rugby World Cup. All in all a good morning.