Since at least 1842, William LAMB of Derby, had been recorded as a bricklayer. However in the 1871 census, he was recorded living at 59 & 60 Goodwin St “The Shamrock” and his profession was given as Bricklayer & Publican. It was common for innkeepers to have secondary jobs but it was the first mention of this family being involved with running a pub. Goodwin Street was located within the ‘slums of Derby’ which were later cleared in the 1930s. My initial search for this pub proved fruitless but over the years, I’ve managed to glean a little more information about this ‘phantom’ pub.
In 1872, an inquest was held ‘upon the body of Rebecca Lamb, aged 51 years, wife of William Henry Lamb, landlord of “The Shamrock” beerhouse, Goodwin-street, who died on the previous day [17th April]” and the findings published in The Derby Mercury.
In 1873, William Lamb of The Shamrock was among a number of ‘persons who had been called before the Bench to prove that their premises, if used for other than public-houses, would be rented at not less than 15 [pounds] a year” and received a renewal of their license.
These two newspaper clippings together tell me that The Shamrock was actually a licensed beerhouse. According to HistoryHouse.co.uk, beerhouses were “Premises which could sell only beer”.
The opening hours could be from 4am to 10pm. For a small fee of 2 guineas payable to the local excise officer, anyone could brew and sell beer. The excise licence would state whether the beer could be consumed on the premises (beerhouse) or as off-sales only (beershop). [HistoryHouse.co.uk]
An 1874 directory also lists The Shamrock as a beerhouse:
Whereas in 1878, another directory lists it as the ‘Shamrock Inn’:
The Shamrock is also recorded twice in The Illustrated History of Derby’s Pubs by Maxwell Craven which I located when visiting Derby Central Library. The first instance notes that it was almost certainly…
‘…named to encourage the colony of Irish families who in the early and mid-19th century lived (in some squalor, unfortunately) in this area, mainly in ‘Rookeries’ – grandish old houses split up by unscrupulous landlords. First recorded by name in 1874, but to be identified with the anonymous beerhouse listed at this address in 1857 and 1862. The name quite probably migrated with a landlord from King Street. Closed in 1908 after pressure from Mrs Boden and the Derby Temperance Association.’ pp. 135-6
[NB: “First recorded by name in 1874” – does this refer to the 1874 directory entry or more official records?]
The second instance suggests it was a separate establishment located at 34 King Street from at least 1850 to 1852:
“Possibly later renamed the Mechanics’ Arms; it seems not unlikely that the landlord took the name with him to Goodwin Street, first recorded by name only a few years later.” p. 136
Although the Lambs are recorded at the same address in the 1861 census, there is no mention of the Shamrock or any publican profession. The King Street incarnation of the Mechanics’ Arms appears in newspapers in 1862 under landlady Emily Bates [was she the Shamrock’s original landlord?]. It’s still possible that The Shamrock was operating but not recorded at the time of the 1861 census and that William Lamb was the landlord who took the name from King to Goodwin Street. As yet, there is no evidence that the Lamb family ever lived on King Street so we may never know.