Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pubs of Old Baldock: The Black Eagle.

? Norton End

The Old Black Eagle was a pub that formerly stood on the Icknield Way just up the road from the Orange Tree.

Well known during the 1970s and 1980s to the locals in the proximity for its loud music and lively atmosphere. It was unfortunately closed down in 1984, and was in 1992 demolished completely.

It has since been redeveloped as The Eagle Court housing complex, but was once upon a time a part of Norton End. The former extension of Norton Road that crossed over Ickneild Way.   Which pretty much was like The Eagle demolished, but a lot earlier in the 1920's.

As for the Eagle though, Its reason for its closure was assumed to be a business decision by its owners Greene King, to boost the trade of its other Baldock pubs.  Described as a back street boozer, a suggestion was put through by the North Herts CAMRA commitie that Greene King should try and swap the Eagle for another pub, with a different brewery, but with this being an idea quickly dismissed another Baldock pub was gone. Much to the disappoint of CAMRA who had hoped it could fill a gap in the Baldock pub market, of being one of the only few in the town (at the time) serving real Ale.



The oldest historical account of the Black Eagle is from the first half of the 19th century, when it was owned by the Baldock Maltster - Joshua Richmond Page. However at which point it was actually opened as a Public house is unclear.  It was sold in 1850 to the Steed/ Pale Ale Brewery, and at the start of the 20th century to (Wells and Winchs of Biggleswade), and finally in the 1960's after the purchase of Wells and Winchs put into the hands of its final owners Greene King.

The Ghost Of The Black Eagle

The Black Eagle was maybe known for many stories in its day, but one that might possibly stand out, is the apparent haunting of the pub from a former pot boy.  An elderly man who was employed to keep the bar tidy, and collect the glasses.  

The story comes from around the 1960s-1970s.  At the beginning of the Greene King era, and when it was said that the pub was run by a rather snobbish, and house proud landlady.  A woman who apparently was very peculiar about this pot boy, and where he went in the pub.  In fact as some incarnations of this story suggest there was only one time he was ever permitted into the pubs living quarters, and this was the day he died.
Which maybe never had anything to do with this pubs haunting, as many old pubs, and places are said to have ghosts, but the main thing what was noticed about this particular ghost is that its activity didn't begin till after the former Pot Boys untimely death. When spookily the sound of loud banging was said to be heard coming from the underneath cellar.

It was dismissed by some, but to others who knew the Pot Boy and the Black Eagle Pub. There was only one explanation, the angry soul of the Pot Boy was back, out to exact revenge on a snobbish Landlady who had only ever allowed his Presence in her beloved sitting room to die.

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