Skip to main content
23rd May 2022

The Queens Head…Davenports’ Latest Opening in Birmingham

Davenports Brewery, which was established in Birmingham in 1829, will open the doors to its latest pub, The Queens Head on Steelhouse Lane in Birmingham city centre on Friday 20th May.

Following months of extensive renovations, the team are excited to reveal the thoughtful new décor, great food and drink offering that will add to the appeal of the Colmore District.

Marketing Director, Katie McPhilimey explains; “The board were delighted to find a venue that beats in the very heart of the city, that serves both a dynamic district, and a diverse community of professionals, and students. In 1904, Davenports Brewery fought, and won an important ‘Beer Hawking’ case in the Victoria Law Courts, right around the corner from The Queens Head, so it felt a little like coming home with this location!”

Whilst researching the history of the pub, formerly known as The Jekyll & Hyde, the team uncovered some interesting facts to include former names; The Queens Head and prior to 1850, The Kings Head.  Katie explains; “In this important Jubilee Year, and in honour of Her Majesty The Queen, the company decided to rename the pub The Queens Head. Baron Davenport wrote to Her Majesty to advise her of our plans and received a wonderful letter back from Her Majesty’s office to say that she was ‘delighted by the news and wished us well’. We have framed the letter.”

The pub boasts a wonderful eclectic history, which coin and token expert, Andrew Cunningham has helped to uncover. Katie adds; “Baron Davenport found some tokens for sale online with The ‘Queens Head, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham’ on them. In the 1800 and 1900s the pub had its own tokens that were used for various transactions, to include wet rent. Druids, Forrester’s and many other friendly societies used The Queens Head for meetings over the years, and rather than charge for the room, those attending bought tokens for the pub which they exchanged for drinks, guaranteeing the pub an income. They were also used for games such as ‘Knock ‘Em Down’ – with losers using them to buy the winner a pint. Numerous tokens were issued over the years by different landlords.”

Over the decades The Queens Head has been a firm favourite with the residents of the area most notably barristers, lawyers, law court staff and NHS staff from the nearby hospital. There has been much interest from all these parties, and passing students whilst the refurbishment has been taking place.

As you would expect from a Davenports pub, The Queens Head will boast a great selection of drinks – from ales to freshly prepared cocktails, spirits and wines, and not forgetting a strong foodie offering with breakfast available to eat-in or takeaway from 9am through to sandwiches, pub dishes and sharing platters.

In addition to two bar areas and an orangery, the pub also boasts an outdoor smoking room upstairs called The Engineers Yard.

Prior to opening the doors on Friday 20th May, The Queens Head played host to three launch parties, where guests not only raised a glass to the venue, but did so with a variety of drinks to include Continental Lager which the brewery are reviving. First brewed in the 60s and with a host of awards to its name, Continental Lager should deliver a taste of the Continent once again!

Notes To Editors:

The Queens Head

The Queens Head will be managed by Harry Higgs, former GM of The Bulls Head. The pub boasts an eclectic history which dates back prior to 1850 when it was known as The Kings Head. So far 6 tokens used in payment of entertainment, food and drink, room rent and for payment of games, have been uncovered. The tokens, or coins as some refer to them, were made in Birmingham. Two of the tokens are on display in the pub. Druids from the Grand Junction Druid Lodge 495 would meet at The Queens Head, as would other friendly societies.

Davenports dedicated build team have been refurbishing the pub over the past few months to a tune of £350,000. Had the company used external teams it would have cost in excess of £500k.

20 jobs have been created at The Queens Head.

The bar is across two levels with handcrafted leather booths, bespoke Davenports wallpaper and tiling; interesting lighting to include chandeliers and nods to Davenports’ history across the walls. There is an orangery to the rear, whilst upstairs there is an additional outdoor room, ‘The Engineers Yard’ which is a dedicated smoking area.

Meat, fruit and veg and other ingredients from the menu are sourced locally, as per Davenports’ policy.

The Queens Head,28 Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6BJ



Davenports Brewery Interesting Facts

Davenports was established in 1829.

1902: A new branch of the business started – manufacturing, bottling and delivering Davenports non-deposit ale and stout.

1904: Davenports C.B Ltd, registered to supply ‘pure bottled ale and stout at the cheapest possible price’.  Quickly reaching delivery to 15,000 homes.

Famous Legal Battle: In 1905 Davenports was accused of ‘Beer Hawking’, selling beer by retail at a place where they were not authorised (beer at home), It was viewed as a hugely important prosecution, fought brilliantly, and won by the very theatrical barrister, Mr Marshall-Hall K.C, on behalf of Davenports in the Victoria Law Courts. Marshall-Hall was later knighted. Davenports had paved the way for other brewers to follow a similar scheme.

The Co-operative beer bottle…A Double Inducement:  Within a month of the dismissal of the beer hawking accusation, C.B Ltd launched its prospectus to potential shareholders in the company, which already had proven ‘progressive, substantial, and satisfactory’. Half of the shares were Ordinary and were divided equally between the three directors and John Davenport and Sons brewery, and half were advertised as customers’ shares. Those who bought them had to commit to buying ten shillings’ worth of bottled ale (CB) or Stour (CS) over a six-month period; if they didn’t do this, they had to sell their shares at the paid-up value. Holders of these shares were entitled to a 5% cumulative preference dividend and half of the surplus profits of the company in proportion to what they had spent in the year after 5% had been paid to the Ordinary shareholders. The FT wryly dubbed the scheme ‘A Co-operative Beer Bottle’, more seriously and optimistically, Davenports advertised it as ‘devised to give EVERY shareholder a double inducement to further the interests of the Company’.

Early pioneers in advertising. By 1910, it was obvious that much thought was put into making them lively, pertinent, and appealing.

1922 Motorised lorries expanded delivery capability.

Technology: in 1930, The Birmingham Daily Gazette stressed that few of Davenports’ rivals could claim to be as modern in equipment as Davenports which boasted ‘The very latest appliances that science and mechanics have evolved’. In total, three batteries of machines with ten machines in each turned out 120,000 bottles of beer every day!

Continued Investment: More investment in the bottling plant meant that a few years later, Davenports were capable of 24,000 bottles per hour.

Pioneers of Recycling: In the 1930’s, Davenports championed recycling bottles that were returned by customers. Scrupulously cleaned and chilled for reuse in two automatic bottle washing machines the rate of 12,000 per hour.

1937: More than 250,000 regular customers.

Famous Slogan: In 1939, the ‘Beer At Home Means Davenports’ slogan was first introduced.

That Jingle: Davenports gained much publicity from an advert that featured marketing director Carl Daniels and a catchy ditty:

Beer at Home means Davenports,

That’s the beer, lots of cheer.

The finest hops with malt and yeast

Turns a snack into a feast.

Straight from brewery to your home,

Why collect, we’ll deliver.

Soon you’ll know why folks all say,

Beer at Home, means Davenports.

Costing little to make, it was credited with boosting sales to such an extent that in 1973 Davenports’ profits reached just under £1million compared to £86,000 in 1961.

2021: Despite the terrible impact of the pandemic on the industry, Davenports managed to acquire new pubs and venues, refurbish existing pubs whilst also launching ‘Beer At Home’.

Making A Difference:

Reducing box size and lessening void fills all adds to reducing lorries on roads each year.

2022: The Queens Head is opened in Steelhouse Lane Birmingham

Press release from Davenports