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Fire, 1898, at the Jolly Millers, Cottenham (Cambs Collection)

73 High Street, Jolly Millers, Cottenham

History of the Jolly Miller


Whitehead Smith summonsed for serving beer after 10pm. His thatched cottage had opened as a public house in 1840.

1850s: White Smith jnr, miller of the Lambs Lane mill, became licensee.


Whitehead Smith, 58, inn keeper and victualler, b Cottenham

Elizabeth, 59, b Cottenham

Joseph, 27, b Cottenham

Mary, 23, b Cottenham

1861: Jolly Millers

Whitehead Smith, 41, miller and publican, b Cottenham

Sarah Ann, 38, b Cottenham

Harriet, 17, b Cottenham

Henry, 13, b Cottenham

Emily, 7, b Cottenham

Sarah Ann, 4, b Cottenham

James, 2, b Cottenham

Caroline, 7 mos, b Cottenham


Norman’s Yard:

Whitehead Smith, 68, ag.lab., b Cottenham

Elizabeth, 69, b Cottenham

1871: Jolly Millers

Whitehead Smith, 51, journeyman miller, b Cottenham

Sarah Ann



Sarah Ann, 14, b Cottenham



1881: Jolly Miller

Whitehead Smith, 61, corn miller and publican, b Cottenham

Sarah Ann, 58, b Cottenham

Henry, 32, miller, b Cottenham

Elizabeth, 30, b Cottenham

James, 22, miller, b Cottenham

Caroline, 20, b Cottenham

1891: Jolly Miller

Whitehead Smith, 71, miller and publican, b Cottenham

Sarah Ann, 68, b Cottenham

Elizabeth, 40, b Cottenham

James, 32, miller, b Cottenham

John Peirson, 49, gardener, b Cottenham

Whitehead Smith died in 1891 and his son James took over.

The Jolly Millers, 73 High Street Cottenham


See Francis Garrett, Cottenham Ablaze:

15.9.1898: two houses on the site of the Jolly Millers and 71 High Street were destroyed together with farm buildings of 69 High Street.

At 3.15 pm a boy of three and a half knocked on the door of Thomas Smith and said ‘Your stack is on fire.’ The little boy had been playing with matches. Thomas Smith’s property, and then that of Mr Graves, burned down.

The fire spread to the back of ten cottages and then the wind changed direction and moved to the yard of the Jolly Miller where a cottage and other buildings were burnt out.

For many years it was the location of meetings of the Cottenham, Willingham and Rampton drainage board.


James Smith, publican and gardener

Elizabeth, sister


James Smith, 52, publican, b Cottenham

Elizabeth, sister, 60, assisting in business, b Cottenham


James Smith retires. It was the last public house in Cottenham in private ownership. Sold to Dales, the Cambridge brewers for £1,200. Edgar Cooper was licensee.

1930: Thomas Lee Burke

1931: William August

1932: George Rose

1933: Harry Hersey

1938: Cecil Severn, licensee


Jane Lee, b 1853 [resident]

1951: Albert Green, licensee

1954: William Musson

1956: Violet Musson

1961: Sidney Bishop

1963: George Anderson

1967: Fred Ward. House sold to Greene King.

1981: Terry Bond

1984: David Parson

1985: John Marshall

1986: Robert Mabbitt


Information from Francis Garrett, A History of Cottenham’s Inns and Hostelries, 1989



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