PHOTOGRAPHS and images of the exteriors of  High Street inns and shops were a staple fare of the postcard producers from 1900 onwards but it is very rare to find an interior view in any form.

This is a chance snapshot, perhaps taken by a customer who happened to have his camera with him, of John Culling, landlord of the Rose and Chequers Inn, who ran the establishment from 1894 until his death in 1946.

Looking at the bar itself, it seems to be fairly simply stocked: no bottles are visible but they may be behind glass on the upper shelves.

Andover Advertiser: John (Jack) Culling behind the bar of the Rose and Chequers InnJohn (Jack) Culling behind the bar of the Rose and Chequers Inn (Image: Contributed)

We can see a row of handled pint glasses, some packets of Players Navy Cut cigarettes and some hanging pewter measures.

READ MORE: David Borrett's feature: Historic buildings lost for new shops

There is also a rifle behind the barman. Was this for defence or just a decorative feature?

Presumably, the tap handles to draw the ale from the barrels in the cellar are out of sight below the bar surface.

This very Spartan arrangement must surely be the public bar accessed from the street, rather than a more salubrious lounge bar intended for hotel residents.  

The inn was the last building but one on the west side of the lower High Street just before the entrance to West Street.

From outside, it looked a little like the Globe Hotel, a few doors down the street, with an arched yard entrance to the left of the front door, which led to stabling behind the inn and also to Waverley Hall, an entertainments venue within the precincts of the hotel yard.

Culling was an enthusiastic dancer and the hall was a centre for dance classes.

It was rebuilt in 1933 and stood until recently, latterly as a photographic studio.

John Culling was born in 1869 at Barton St David, a small village in Somerset, five miles south-east of Glastonbury.

He was not brought up in the hotel business – his father was a farm labourer and his mother a laundress – and we may suppose that the family finances were limited.

It is often imagined that 19th century families were not very mobile but by 1891, John Culling had left a likely future in Somerset farming and was employed at the Swan Hotel in Leatherhead, Surrey, as a boot boy.

At some point, he moved to Islington Green, as the first mention of John Culling in Andover comes in a newspaper report of July 27, 1894, which records that ‘temporary transfer of the licence of the Rose and Chequers was made from Mr W Newman to Mr John Culling of Islington Green, London.’

We can only guess at the circumstances that took Culling from Somerset, to Leatherhead, to Islington and then to Andover in the space of a few years, going from lowly boot boy to licensee of a substantial inn but history is full of such progresses.

He did not own the inn; it had belonged to the Banks family of Andover Down for many years and they continued to own it until 1920, when it was sold to the brewers, Strong & Co of Romsey.

But Culling in effect made it his own during the half-century he was in charge, so much so that the name evolved into Culling’s Hotel.

He had a good reputation for keeping an orderly house and was frequently called upon to provide the catering for outside events, particularly the annual mayor’s banquet in the Guildhall, which was just across the street.  

Many pubs and inns brewed their own beer, while others were owned by the various local breweries.

The Banks family were not brewers and the inn most likely bought its ales from a local producer.

In the absence of any evidence, the most likely supplier of Culling’s would be Poore’s brewery - literally a stone’s throw away, behind the shops at the back of the Guildhall.

Poore’s was wound up in 1920, precisely when the inn was sold to Strong & Co of Romsey, so Poore’s may well have been the earlier supplier.

SEE ALSO: Met Office forecasts light snow and cold weather for Andover

Culling continued to run the inn until his death in 1946.

His nephew, Frank Culling then took over until he died in 1956, when it was continued by Mr and Mrs Fisher, who resurrected the name Rose and Chequers.

Finally, in 1971, the inn was bought by Halford’s who demolished the old hotel and replaced it with a very uninspiring example of 1970s architecture. The site is now occupied by Santander.

If you are interested in local history, why not join Andover History and Archaeology Society? Details can be found at