Page Updated:- Tuesday, 14 December, 2021.



The People's Refreshment House Association.



As far as I can see, of the c.130 pubs the PRHA ended up owning/managing, only 2 were in Kent.

The "Crown," Groombridge (as per the letters PRHA appearing on the pub sign in the 1916 and 1923 photos).

Crown PRHA sign 1925

Above PRHA sign that was on the "Crown", 1925, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


The "George and Dragon," Speldhurst (as per the plaque on the wall in the 1915 photo.)


The People's Refreshment House Association.

The PRHA was founded in 1896 by Francis Jayne, Bishop of Chester and in what we might now call its mission statement, its Article of Association included the following aims.

Francis Jayne, Bishop of Chester

i) The encouragement of temperance at Inns, Public Houses and Canteens.

ii) The provision and prompt supply of food and non-alcoholic refreshments.

iii) The maintenance of cleanliness and good order.

iv) The purchase of good supplies in the open market.


The PRHA recognised, at the outset, that c.80% of pubs in the United Kingdom were tied to brewers and spirit merchants. Therefore, it set out to invite landowners (with pubs on their estates) corporations, property trusts etc to allow the PRHA to manage their houses and to encourage the public to let the Association know if free houses were being put up for sale.

Funding came via 1 shares offered to the general public, though to discourage stock speculation, the annual dividend was capped at 5% (or 1/- in the pound).

In 1901 the PRHA owned/managed 14 pubs but by 1907 this number had risen more than fourfold to 61. At the peak of its powers, the PRHA controlled c.130 pubs. However, the progress of the PRHA seems to have slowed down in the inter-war period and the Association's freehold properties and leasehold interests were acquired by Charrington's Anchor Brewery in early 1962.

The PRHA Limited was formally wound up in 1966.

The PRHA made available a form of directory (an early Good Pub Guide!) which offered travellers a simple map and a brief description of their pubs. All PRHA pubs offered tea/coffee at 1d a cup and a separate room/entrance (away from the bar) for individuals and families to enjoy food and non-alcoholic drinks. Most PRHA houses had tea gardens and some offered accommodation. Pub managers were paid commission on food and soft drinks but received nothing on sales of beer/spirit sales. Adverts for alcoholic drinks were banned and the Association insisted that its managers strictly observe all the conditions of the various Licensing Acts.



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