The Bush Inn, Tenby


The Bush Inn, Tenby

This unusual pub is squeezed into the narrow space between its larger neighbour and the medieval town walls, alongside the five-arched west gate. It was probably built c.1860 and retains its Victorian frontage.

Andrew Wilson, an early licensee here, was fined £5 in 1876 for “permitting drunkenness” at the Bush Inn – an unusually heavy fine for such an offence. At that time, publicans were not allowed to serve alcohol to anyone who had had his or her fill. A police officer found James Thomas drunk in the pub. James reeled against the medieval archway after he left the building and was later fined 10 shillings.

Andrew died in a freak railway accident in 1879. He had moved to England to work as a “packer” on the Great Western Railway’s tracks. He was walking on the main line east of Slough some five hours after finishing work, so he was technically trespassing when the 8.08 express from London Paddington passed him. He assumed no other train would follow on the same track for a while. He stepped onto the track and was hit by a slip coach which had been detached.

Andrew hadn’t heard the approach of the unpowered coach and two others behind. At his inquest, railway officers dismissed the suggestion that slip coaches should have a warning bell. See the footnotes for more about slip coaches.

In the early 20th century, William Herman Henry McGrath kept the Bush Inn after serving with the South Wales Borderers in the South African (Boer) War. He re-enlisted and was in China at the start of the First World War. His wife Sarah ran the pub in his absence.

In 1915, as a Sergeant with his old regiment, William took part in the Allies’ disastrous attempt to invade Turkey through the Gallipoli peninsula. He died of wounds in August 1915, aged 45, leaving Sarah and three children.

Postcode: SA70 7JB    View Location Map

Footnotes: More about slip coaches

The GWR used slip coaches extensively before the war, for passengers to alight at intermediate stations without slowing the progress of long-distance trains. A mechanism allowed the guard in the slip coach to uncouple from the rest of the train. The coach, often with others behind, would slow to a stop at the next station, with the guard applying the brake as needed.