This image by Andover photographer Frederick Pearse is not easy to identify. Clearly it dates from 1897 when many shops and businesses decorated their premises to celebrate the occasion. Notice the row of Chinese lanterns along the front and the patriotic shields placed above them - the nearest of which bears the date 1837. A metal ledge above the fascia supports a number of what look like precariously-placed pot plants but they may be fixed in some way.

The lanterns obscure the writing on the fascia board but a strong glass reveals that it reads, ‘Licensed Retailer of Beer, Charles Viney’, the other end may say ‘Refreshments’. In the window on shelves are what appear to be sweet jars, while beneath is at least one beer bottle and also a Codd bottle, so-named after its American inventor Hiram Codd who patented it in 1872. These usually contained aerated mineral water and were sealed by means of a pressurised glass marble. Also among the window display are boxes of fireworks, maybe a one-off supply for use on Jubilee night, which was a June celebration.

Evidently, the building is No 90 High Street, as Charles Viney was the licensee at that time. The building was owned by Winchester College and had been leased from the college by the Poore family since at least 1854. The Poores were local brewers who, like all breweries, depended on their tied houses to sell their products. The licensees who ran the pubs were the brewery’s tenants.

No 90 was essentially a beer house that was licensed to sell just beer, rather than wines and spirits. It has been called by the intriguing title, ‘Silent Man’, but that name seems not to have been on the front of the premises, nor does it appear in any of the directories that list the businesses of Andover from the earliest of 1784 until the house’s certain demise around 1920. However, there is some evidence that it was indeed called that for a while at least; when Winchester College was approached by Philip Henry Poore in 1920 to sell him outright The Angel and its associated buildings, as well as No 90 on the opposite side of the road, the conveyance drawn up does call it the ‘Beer House, known as the Silent Man’. Poore paid £4,250 for what was four properties, all of which he or his father before him had leased for 80 years or more. The brewery itself was sold up in the same year and after Philip Henry Poore’s death in 1922, the properties passed to his two daughters who would have derived an income from them.

Charles Viney, the licensee, was born in 1827, just around the corner in Chantry Street. He married in 1852 and seems to have moved into 90 High Street. He was certainly there by 1855. Census returns list him as a painter, then a plumber, then both. The 1881 census describes his abode as ‘beershop’ but officially, Viney is still a painter/plumber and none of his children, nor his wife, are given occupations that suggest they are running a licensed house. And yet, most of the directories from 1855 onwards describe Charles Viney as a beer retailer, as well as variously a plumber, painter and glazier. He died in 1901 and his son Fred took over the premises. He too had been a painter and house decorator by trade but was called a publican in 1911.

After Fred’s early death in 1914, his wife Annie retained the business for several years before moving to 7 Chantry Street. The 1921 census lists her as still the licensee but this must have been right at the end, as the brewery that supplied the beer was already defunct. It seems likely that the 1897 photograph shows Charles Viney (the older man to the right), his son Fred, and Fred and Annie’s daughter Florence, then aged five. She was to become a milliner.

The beer house became a watchmaker’s shop, under Alfred Loveridge, the father of Martin, who was to run a high-class gentleman’s outfitters for many years in Swan Court, and later in the High Street, eventually becoming mayor in 1973. His father Alfred remained a watchmaker until his death in 1947, with his wife Florence carrying on the business until about 1960.

Today, 90 High Street has been extensively refurbished and is now Tycoon, the Chinese restaurant and takeaway. From a humble 19th century beer house, it has come on a long journey but in the sale of victuals to the public, it has in a sense returned to something of its earlier trade.