Prince of Wales Tavern

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The Prince of Wales, a family run town inn
Prince of Wales 1969

The Prince of Wales Tavern in Hilgrove Street, popularly known as French Lane,, because Breton farmworkers used to gather there on a Saturday afternoon, was owned and run by the Drelaud family for over a century.

The first member of the family to hold the licence in the late 19th century was Peter Drelaud. He was succeeded by his son, also Peter, who died in 1918 and was succeeded by his wife.

Mrs Drelaud served behind the bar for over 80 years, and was renowned for her ability to control rowdy customers, even though she was so small that she stood on a special stool behind the bar so that she missed nothing happening on the other side.

She was even known to stand up to the Germans during the Occupation and if she refused to serve them, that was the end of the story, whereas a male barman might have been at risk of arrest, or even being shot for similar behaviour.

In 1949 the licence passed to her son Percy, who was just as intent on keeping a 'spotlessly clean' traditional town tavern. He was born on the premises and eventually passed the licence to his grandson, Peter Raylor in 1974, when the premises were refitted, but still with Victorian style decoration.

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