THIS photograph, around 1910, of the Borough Arms near the entrance to Vigo Road Recreation Ground is carefully posed.

Even the barrels are stacked up in graduated order, together with some of the regulars sitting and standing in a line.

Perhaps it is landlord Edward Dennett holding the baby.

The empty dray suggests that the brewers had just delivered a new consignment of ales and are about to take away the used bottles and casks.

Crates of bottles lie at either side of the building.

John Lovibond and Sons Ltd were Salisbury brewers who occupied the Old Friary in St Ann’s Street from 1868 until 1960.

At the time this photograph was taken, the various Andover breweries were all in decline.

Clark’s, Hammans’ and Poore’s were all major, local players during the 19th century but their heyday was over, overtaken by larger brewers elsewhere.

In 1910, they were all still functioning but despite each of the brewery works being no more than 200 yards away from the Borough Arms, Lovibond’s from another town had gained a foothold.

The building is sited on the edge of Common Acre, which in earlier times stretched down to East Street.

However, there were periodic encroachments over the years and it is now a car park.

Running down the east side of the Borough Arms is Adelaide Road, named after the wife of William IV, who reigned 1830-1837, dating the road fairly precisely.

Originally, there were iron gates across the upper entrance to Adelaide Road, blocking it off from Common Acre itself, until 1880 when the council constructed a new road, connecting Adelaide Road to East Street.

However old the building may be, its history as a hostelry appears to date from Sophia Fiander whose carpenter husband Charles died in 1842, leaving her with four children aged between six and 14.

Sophia started brewing ale to sell, initially as a simple beer retailer, before opening up as a fully licensed inn by 1851.

It was then known as the Andover Arms and according to Bert Earney in his Inns of Andover, the home-brewed beer was strong stuff and ‘reputed to send men mad at times.’

He also mentions the presence of a well in the kitchen, discovered during renovations in the 1950s.

Sophia died in 1870 and her son William took over the licence.

He continued to brew his own beer and also changed the name of the pub to the Borough Arms.

Initially, he ran it with his sister but William married in 1875 and continued there until retiring in about 1888, when London-born Robert Laverty took over.

Two of his children were born in the town but Robert Laverty’s early death in 1906 meant the family had to leave the Borough Arms, to be replaced by Edward Dennett.

He was born in Downton, near Salisbury whose trade was carpentry when he married Elizabeth Knight in 1904.

Their first son Garnet Edward was born at Downton in 1906 but Thomas and Vivian were born in 1908 and 1909 respectively at the Borough Arms. The family remained there during World War I but by 1920 had gone to Longparish. Alfred George Merry became the licensee at this point and he was followed by Bertie Batchelor in the 1930s and 1940s.

Andover Advertiser: The site of Borough Arms in Andover as seen today.The site of Borough Arms in Andover as seen today. (Image: Newsquest)

Today, the Borough Arms has become a convenience store and undergone a recent facelift. Let us hope the future is set fair as it enters a new phase as a different business.