Who, in Wolverhampton over the age of 60, has not heard the name of Bert Adey, a sportsman and popular licensee of a once equally known William Butler’s house; the ‘Pear Tree’?
Showing some early foresight
At the end of the Great War , when making his name as a boxer Bert Adey had ambitions to become a licensee, and during training runs, he often passed the old Pear Tree, then a semi rural house of a very different character to the present large modern premises. Being a shrewd man he visualized it in years to come, and made a mental note this was the house he would like.
All his life he has been interested in the noble art of self defense. As a boxer, trainer, second, manager, or promoter. When he was eleven he fought for his brothers team Ted Adeys midgets, five years later Bert who stood just 5ft 5ins had his first professional bout his purse was 2/6.
Among his many contests was one of the last of the old twenty rounds bouts, which was held at the Central Baths, Wolverhampton in 1919. His opponent on this occasion was Arthur Terry, whom he knocked out in the sixteenth round.
As a schoolboy, Bert was the athletic type. In football he represented his school, Brickkiln Street.
He also represented his school in the towns schoolboy’s team, once playing at Molineux Grounds.
His life as a licensee began with ‘Butlers’ Brewery in 1921, at the ‘Locomotive’ five-ways, Stafford Road. Where he also started running a school for boxers, After four years at the Locomotive he moved to the ‘Yew Tree’, Pool Street, where he stayed for six years.
The Adeys arrive at the Pear Tree
By this time, 1931 Wolverhampton was expanding rapidly, council houses were creeping towards the Pear Tree, and Mr Adey making a successful application for this house on the Cannock Road, realised his early ambition.
Things were not too good, this was a quiet period in the licensed trade and he quickly decided custom had to be attracted.
One of the early efforts in this direction was to purchase a donkey, which he kept in the garden.
Children being what they are, soon persuaded their parents that the Pear Tree was an enjoyable bus ride from town and a fine house for a drink and bag of crisps on a summers day. Bert made such good use of the donkey rides that two more were quickly added to the stable to satisfy the demand.
Taking advantage of his boxing experience, Mr Adey became a promoter, and staged contests in a field adjoining the Pub.
One of his most successful ventures in this direction was on August Bank Holiday Monday in 1933, when he promoted the Southern Area Feather Weight Championship between Tommy Rogers of Willenhall and Tommy Hyams of London in front of 3000 spectators, the result of which went in favour of the local man.
In 1937 the new Pear Tree was built
Bert along with his wife Ada, were licensee’s for 48 years, 38 of them at the Pear Tree and as well as sharing equal sporting interests they also shared the same birthday – June 6th.
On one occasion in 1956, for a dual birthday celebration they planned for something of interest for both of them. Mr Adey decided on seeing the Moore and Pompey boxing match at Harringay on June 5th and Mrs Adey wanted to go to the Derby race meeting on June 6th. So they combined the two events as birthday treats to each other.
Bert Adey was also one time one of the Wolves oldest regulars having been a season ticket holder for over 50 years, even going behind the Iron Curtain with Wolves on one occasion.
This was not the first time bert had travelled abroad to follow his love of sport. When Randolph Turpin boxed in America he took a return ticket by air to see the fight.
After notching up almost half a century in the licensed trade Bert and Ada retired from the Pear Tree.
Besides all his sporting activities he was also for many years chairman of the Wolverhampton Branch of the Licensed Victuallers Association, and will be remembered with his admirable brother Ted; two great Wulfrunians and probably two of the longest serving licensee’s in the district.
I would like to dedicate this post to my dear friend Patricia Malone, Berts daughter, who was kind enough to share these treasured memories of her father with me.