Opening Hours
Weekdays 12:00-15:00,
  17:00-00:00
Weekends 12:00-00:00

History

As Cradley, Colley Gate, and Two Gates expanded in the wake of the industrial revolution, numerous inns, taverns, and after 1830 - beerhouses; opened ... and closed. One that survived was the 'Why Not Call & See'.

By 1887 the sign had been abbreviated and 'Call & See' had been dropped. However, the name continued in popularity when Why Not, a famous racehorse, won the Grand National in 1889 and 1894.

A Small beershop, the Why Not owed its existence to the Duke of Wellington's Beer House Ace, 1830, which permitted a householder or ratepayer, on payment of two guineas to the Excise, to turn his private house into a public house.

Fruiterer Samuel Bennett was the first landlord in 1855. He was recorded in the 1861 census aged 43, with his wife Sarah, 42 and family of four; William, 12, Sarah, 9, Elizabeth, 7 and Sophia, 4.

Locally, the large Bennett Family were licensees of two other Colley Gate beerhouses, The Vine Inn, Two Gates Lane, and the Old Two Gates Inn, Windmill Hill. Both are now closed.

Victorian licensing hours were long - 18 hours a day, 4am to 10pm, seven days a week, closed only during Divine Service, Christmas day and Good Friday.

Local magistrates granted the Why Not inn status, which allowed the beerhouse to remain open as long as a bed was empty; offering basic accommodation, simple victuals, homebrewed ale, and stabling to the lawful traveller.

Busy Samuel Bennett, would probably have drawn his ale from the 'New' Two Gates Inn (See OS Map below). Widowed landlady Sarah Parrish, helped by her son Henry, was a licensed brewer. The popular Colley Gate drink was a form of malty mild : heavy, dark, sweet and strong - that varied considerably from brew to brew. The average Black Country gravity was 1060, the second highest in England.



Cradley born chainmaker George Billingham became the new host of the Why Not Inn, in 1870. He was documented in the 1871 census aged 54, with his wife Susannah, 51, and their four children : Rebecca, 16, George, 14, Harry, 12, and Joseph, 11.

William Henry Bangham bought the Why Not Inn from George Hatton in 1910, selling to Plant's of Netherton in 1916. Plant's Steam Brewery had been taken over by Hereford & Tredegar Brewery in June, 1912.

Plant's were acquired by expanding Birmingham brewers Ansells. In December, 1936, closing down the brewery in 1947. Licensing Justices granted the Why Not Inn a full alehouse licence in February, 1949.

Ansells sold the Why Not Inn to Jean Rawson in February, 1987, who sold on to West Country brewers Wiltshire, Stonehenge Brewery, Tisbury, November 1989.

Rebuilt and extended on its original site, the old Why Not Inn - once again a freehouse, remains, as originally intended by Samuel Bennett, a social and convivial centre of a community.