Luton Yesteryear: Memories of The Fox Inn

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Generations on Lutonians will have fond memories of visiting the Fox Inn on Dunstable Road. In fact, the establishment can be dated back until at least the 1790s.

The original building consisted of three thatched cottages facing the track towards Dallow Farm. Then, and until the Victorian era, it was the site of an annual ‘fox fair’ during the harvest season. Attractions at the event included ‘orange bobbing’ a ‘greasy pole’ with a leg of mutton perched on top. The first person to climb the pole won the meat.

The building that many of us remember as the Fox, shown here, replaced the original pub in the 1920s when the site was part of J.W. Green’s portfolio. The new build fronted Dallow Road. J.W. Green Ltd merged with Flowers Breweries Ltd in 1954.

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This photograph dates from 1959, when Luton Town Football Club reached the FA Cup Final, as you can see from the celebratory signage. On May 2 that year, the club went on to lose 2-1 to Nottingham Forest at Wembley.

The FoxThe Fox
The Fox

The Fox closed its doors for the last time in 1977 and was demolished in 1978 to make way for the town’s new inner ring road.

However, parts of the building live on in Luton. Building materials and architectural details salvaged from the pub – including the foxes shown here under the Flowers sign in the centre – were later incorporated into a house erected on Old Bedford Road.

Yesteryear by Carly Smith, Luton Heritage Forum.