Three Men in a Boat (public house)

The Three Men in a Boat was a public house located along Stephenson Avenue in Beechdale estate, within Bloxwich, West Midlands. It was an important focal point and hub of activity for many local bands from the 1960s to the 1990s, prior to its closure, including musical groups such as the Jackpots, Tommy Burton Combo, the Rockin' Phantoms, Prim 'n' Proper, the 'N Betweens, Dual Purpose, Hari Kari, the Answer, and Obs-Tweedle. The landlord of the establishment was William Bonham, Snr., who was father of multi-instrumentalist Bill Bonham, a distant cousin of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. It was this pub to which band manager Peter Grant sent numerous telegrams for John Bonham to sign up with Led Zeppelin, as the venue had no telephone answering machine. Robert Plant and his two cats Tipton and Dudley, as well as members of William Bonham's family lived in the main building's two-storey upstairs accommodation. Noddy Holder was a regular performer at the venue, and his father Jack Holder was contracted to clean the pubs windows, with his van doubling as band transport.

Three Men in a Boat was named after Jerome K. Jerome's humorous travelogue Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), Jerome being a resident of nearby Caldmore, Walsall. The public house opened following the establishment of the Beechdale council housing estate after the post-Second World War urban renewal of Walsall, and reflects the appearance of simple but solid brick architecture of the time and place. The ballroom and stage area was built following the construction of the pub's off-licence adjacent to the main building. The bar and lounge area could accommodate up to 200 patrons, and the ballroom up to 300. Jazz trios originally performed there before rock and roll took over in the late 1950s. The pub finally closed for business in July 2000, and the site has since been converted into the headquarters for the Beechdale Community Housing Association Limited (BCHA).

Address: Stephenson Avenue, Walsall, WS2 7HE, United Kingdom.

Bibliography

  • Daniels, Neil (2008) Robert Plant: Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page & The Solo Years. Church Stretton, Shropshire: Independent Music Press. ISBN 978-0-9552822-7-0 (OCLC 319207623).
  • Farley, Keith (2001) N Between Times: an Oral History of the Wolverhampton Group Scene of the 1960's. Wolverhampton. ISBN 978-0-9541583-0-9 (OCLC 48628920).
  • Hornsby, Laurie; Lavender, Mike (1999) Brum Rocked!: the Story of the People and Places That Shaped Birmingham's Role in the History of Rock. Birmingham: TGM. ISBN 978-0-9536951-02 (OCLC 43337781).

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