The 16 bedroom Crosby Hotel was constructed in 1910 for the People’s Refreshment Houses Association by the Thornhill Brothers of Lincoln, the architects being Mortimer & Son and it officially opened 11th May 1911. The first manager was Thomas Beck who was also a mason of high ranking at the Masonic Lodge which stands next-door.
The hotel’s proximity to the lodge was also a factor in their provision of the festive board at their regular meetings and, of course, Ladies Nights which the wives held. These were sumptuous affairs held in the splendid ballroom
To the rear of the hotel were once bowling greens, a tennis court and a rose garden.
The Crosby boasted a public bar, billiard room, a wood paneled dining room and a first floor ballroom – the ballroom would be known to many people in it’s latter years as The Hanger.
A large greenhouse ensured a good supply of flowers which helped keep the hotel to a high standard and there were two allotments which ensure there was an abundant supply of vegetables and salads.
A price list from 1911 lists Scotch whisky at 4d a gill, and ale, stout, cider dry ginger and minerals at 3d.
The People’s Refreshment Houses Association was rooted in the Temperance movement and in the Memorandum & Articles of Association under Aims and Objects the company stated it’s the intention to encourage people to drink less and that everyone one of their hotels had to provide food to minimise consumption of alcohol.
The People’s Refreshment Houses Association was subsequently taken over by Courage which was then part of the Imperial Tobacco Group.
The hotel was first run by Thomas Beck and the Beck family were associated with it for many years. Thomas Beck retired in the late 1940s to be replaced, with some irony, by a Mr. Drinkwater.
From 1951 to 1957 Cyril Beck, Thomas Beck’s son, ran the Crosby Hotel and another of Thomas’s sons, Bill Beck took over in 1959 until he retired in 1966 – he died in 1982.
In 1961 it was taken over by Bass Charrington and in 1972 had a change of name when it became known as the Henry VIII but returned to its original name nine years later. In the early 1990s, Burton Brewers Marston, Thompson & Evershed – late part of Wolverhampton & Dudley – bought The Crosby from Bass.
The Crosby closed in 2008 and is currently awaiting either redevelopment or demolition.
The Crosby Hotel has held many functions over the years from works parties, wedding receptions, birthday parties and much more.
The picture below shows employees of John Sheffield Construction taken during a dance at The Crosby Hotel around 1940. The company was based on Normanby Road and were painters and decorators. The firm ceased to operate in the 1940s due to problems caused by the war.
John Sheffield is seated centre on the floor of the picture and his wife is behind him to the left. On the second row, the lady 2nd left is Mrs Strutt (nee Beacock) and next to her is Audrey Yates. Also on the second row the lady 3rd from the right is Miss Button.
Below are employees and families of Kirman’s store at their Christmas dinner & dance held at The Crosby Hotel in either 1951 or 1952. Kirman’s was a general hardware store where virtually anything could be bought. The main store was at the corner of Market Hill & Chapel Street, which can be seen on the header picture at the top of the screen. The was another store further up on Scunthorpe High Street and they later had one on Chapel Street.
The photograph above shows staff from the hotel taken around 1945 and features the landlord, Mr. Drinkwater, second left of the front row, his wife is second right on the front row with her mother in the centre. On the back row, second & third to the right are Joe and Kate Richardson. Joe Richardson was an odd job man and lived in an attic room at the hotel, Kate’s first husband was a naval man called Harold Kerrison from Grimsby but he had died from tuberculosis and Kate had later met Joe and the lived in a house on Grosvenor Street and later moved to Hympdyke Road.
Kate Richardson worked at the Crosby Hotel for a number of years before moving to the Oswald Hotel on the High Street, Joe Richardson later worked as a bookies runner for Crosby bookmaker Cliff Richards.