The Shades Pub Coincidence

WHAT a coincidence! This old picture of The Shades in Lumley Road, Skegness, prominently shows the name of its licensee, G. Severn.


The name is once again above the door although the new tenant Chris Severn does not know whether his predecessors were from the same family. However as they both have their roots in Nottingham, it would seem a fair possibility.

Although born in Skegness himself, the son of local chartered accountant Charles Severn and his wife Doris, who was a Lill, Chris knows that his grandmother came to the resort shortly after the end of the first world war: “She was a widow with eight children and we know that another relative came around the same time so it could be her brother or sister’s name above the door,” he suggested.

After attending the Lumley School, Chris left the resort when he was 16 for London where he lived and worked in the ‘rag trade’. Using the capital as his base he travelled abroad including the United States.

For the past 20 years he has been in the licensed trade and returned to his home county to run the Lady of Shalott pub in Louth from 1977 to 1982. He also had a spell at the Grange and Links at Sandilands.

But now Chris is delighted to be back in Skegness where he has taken over the tenancy of both The Shades and The Welcome on Burgh Road.

He is running the two Greenall Whitley houses with the help of managers, Mark Mosley at The Shades, Steve Bray and Jo Woodthorpe at The Welcome. After a brief closure for refurbishment both are now reopen for business.

Although Chris doesn’t envisage any major changes initially, he is reintroducing the carvery at The Welcome as well as a full range of bar food. The menu will include his own speciality, fresh fish in batter made from a unique formula.

He is also looking forward to meeting old friends: “I am really pleased to be here — it’s taken long enough to get back!”

shadesSource: Skegness News 5th July 1995

I did a little digging into this story and, though without purchasing Chris’ father’s birth or marriage certificate I can’t make a certain connection, it’s looking highy likely up to pres! Chris was born in 1947, to Charles Severn and Emily D Lill, who married locally in 1946.

At this point, I’m going to challenge all the local history books and popular conceptions and say the ‘G Severn’ on the old picture above is NOT in fact a ‘G’ – it’s a ‘C’!

Look! Both the ‘C’ and the ‘S’ have squared tops, but examine the finishing curl on the ‘S’ – it’s echoed on the finishing curl of the ‘C’!

I’s a ‘C’! ‘C’ for Charles – Charles Severn!

The date stamp on this old postcard, which is from my personal collection, is 1907. Skegness man, Chick Fowler, tells us in The Shades History article that in 1913 the tenancy had passed from G. Severn to his aunt and uncle Harry and Sarah Selby. Therefore, I figured the Severn Family could be seen at The Shades on the 1911 census.

I searched the 1911 census for G Severn (I’d not figured out that it was “C’ for Charles at that time) and found only a boy – Garnet Beresford Severn – and he wasn’t living at The Shades. Turns out Garnet was a boarding pupil at the Orient Boys College on Algitha Road. Here is Garnet Severn at the Orient College in 1911 – fifth from bottom:


Eventually I found the 1911 census for The Shades:


Listed as a barman is Albert Severn, aged 29, of Nottingham, with his wife Harriet (nee Dutton) and son, Charles, aged a few months. The couple married in Nottingham in 1910. Incidentally, this entry in the 1911 census is written by Albert’s own hand!

The sign says ‘C Severn’ not ‘A(lbert) Severn’! So where do we go from here? Where’s Charles Severn, the landlord?

Charles and Mary were not in Skegness on the 1911 census, it appears they were back in Nottingham, possibly on a visit? Because of how the 1911 census online is designed at this time, it’s difficult to find them without laboriously trailing through each street in the city of Nottingham. I’m afraid!

The 1901 census reveals Albert Severn living in Nottingham with his parents Charles, age 49, licensed victualler of Nottingham, and Mary S Severn.


A search on FreeBMD revealed the marriage of Charles Severn and Mary Sabina Brittain in 1871.

A search on the same website for their deaths tells us that Charles died locally in 1915 and Mary locally in 1922.

The next step was to find Charles’ obituary in the local newspapers. I was disappointed to find only a brief mention to the effect that he died on the 18th December 1915, aged 64, and was buried in St Clement’s Churchyard, Skegness. A later issue produced:

death-severn-charlesSo we now know that the couple were living at Cavendish Villa, Cavendish Road, Skegness in 1915, two years after they relinquished the tenancy of The Shades.

Here is the probate record for Mary Sabina Severn after she died in 1922. It reveals she was living at 27 Sea View Road.


Here are links to Charles Severn and Mary Sabina Severn graves in St Clement’s Church, Skegness.

So, to recap, up to now it’s basically all circumstantial evidence that the proprietor of The Shades was ‘C’ Severn – CHARLES Severn.

But look at this…


The above is a portrait of Charles and Mary Sabina Severn. Compare them to the couple in the old postcard! One and the same? I think so!


And this is a portrait of Albert and Harriet Severn:


Charles and Mary Sabina Severn had eight children:

Charles William Severn 1872 –

John Henry Severn 1874 –

Frederick Severn 1877 – 1892

Elizabeth Severn 1877 – 1951

Albert Severn 1881 – 1946

Thomas Alexander Severn 1883 – 1884

Arthur Severn 1885 – 1958


James Harold Severn 1888 – 1891


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