Cambridge has changed a lot over the years. The Free Press was shut for many years until it was reopened by Greene King in 1978. Apart from most of the houses around The Free Press being knocked down the make way for the Grafton Centre, The Free Press has remained pretty much unchanged. The Interior has been enlarged and as you can see in the two large photos below, houses that enjoined The Free Press have long gone.
The Free Press boarded up until 1978.
History Of The Free Press
The Free Press has been a pub for over 120 years and seen many a change in the area. On the fireplace wall you can look at a survey map from 1888 where you can see for yourself what is and what isn't around. The pub got its name from when part of it was a printing press which circulated a free Cambridge newspaper. Unfortunately for them it lasted one issue, but the name survived. The walls are adourned with front pages of old newspapers to commemorate this.
B & T Brewery
In 1897 Messrs. H.B. Bailey (later Mayor of Cambridge) and H.H. Tebbutt acquired the Panton Brewery, Panton Street, Cambridge, from Col. Beales. At the time, Mr. Tebbutt was running the Granta Brewery of Robinson and Tebbutt and this business was transferred to Panton Street. Known to one and all as "B. & T.", the Panton Brewery rapidly became successful and highly popular locally, purchasing many houses and taking over a number of small brewing concerns. After ten years in business, in 1907 one of their beers won a prize at the Annual Brewers' Exhibition.
A price list from a B. & T. advertisement in 1908 makes appetising reading nowadays:
|Strong Ale||1/8 per gallon||Bottled Strong Ale||4/- per doz. pints|
|XXX||1/- per gallon||Brandy||36/- per gallon|
|Stout||1/2 per gallon||Whisky||21/- per gallon|
Early in 1925 the brewery and its 40 to 50 tied houses were bought by Greene King and Sons "for over £100,000". Brewing continued and most of the staff were retained but the founders both retired from business and Alderman Bailey died in October of the same year. The brewery buildings eventually became a Greene King depot and were still standing in the late 1960s.
Well-known pubs in and around Cambridge that belonged to Bailey & Tebbutt ( B&T) at one time included The Free Press Prospect Row, The Green Dragon, Chesterton; The Granta, Cambridge and The Barley Mow at Histon.