Pub History

A pint of your best please Mr. Slasher

William Perry 'The Tipton Slasher', (Champion of England 1850-1857), is a Black Country legend, what is possibly lesser known about him is, that between the years 1854 to 1863, like many other sportsmen past and since he had a career as a publican. His fame and notoriety brought with it a few problems, here is the story of his life behind the bar....

Hitchmough’s Black Country Pub History

CHAMPION OF ENGLAND, Spon Lane, West Bromwich

[This is probably not the original name of this beerhouse]

Birmingham Journal 5/8/1854
“In last week’s Journal we gave the facts attendant upon the conviction and consequent punishment of a man named Charles Long, convicted of cruelty to his horse, before the Magistrates at West Bromwich, on the preceding Saturday. We should no further refer to this fellow were it not that even before the Court he showed himself to be a ruffian, and yet it is a fact that, whilst the active secretary and agent to the Animals’ Friend Society was conveying Long towards the police-station, a mob collected and threatened and insulted Mr. C. H. Yewen, no doubt with the intent, which indeed was effected for a time, of rescuing Long from the effects of his cruel conduct to his poor beast. But this is not all, for on Saturday last, at the Public Office, Mr. Yewen felt himself called upon, from a sense of public duty, to endeavour to bring to punishment one of the supposed ringleaders and active of his assailants in Long’s rescue. The person so charged as above by Mr. Yewen was no other than the notorious William Perry, the Tipton Slasher, the well-known prize-fighter and ex-champion of England, but now a retail brewer residing in Spon Lane. Mr. Edmonds appeared for Mr. Yewen in support of the charge of assault made by him against Perry, and Mr. Watson was retained on behalf of the defendant. The enquiry occupied considerable time, and was remarkable for the very contradictory testimony adduced. It appears that on the day when Long was taken, Mr. Yewen said that as he came with the prisoner opposite defendant’s house (sign of the CHAMPION OF ENGLAND) he saw him standing in his shirt sleeves near the door; he called out to him ‘You’ve no business to take that man (Long), you’ve no warrant.’ At this time the crowd pressed on witness, and he called out to Perry to assist. His reply was ‘I shall not, I’d sooner knock your teeth down your throat’ and he at once came up in a menacing attitude and struck him so violent a blow that he was sent reeling against a horse and cart passing along the road. Eventually Long was rescued for a time from his custody. For the defence, Mr. Waite, hatter, and Mr. Gardner, shoemaker, deposed that from the commencement of the disturbance till after Long was rescued and Mr. Yewen had gone away, they were so near to Perry as to be enabled to swear that he never, during the whole of that time, moved from off the footpath opposite his door. He had his hands also in his pockets at the time; that he never did strike Mr. Yewen at all, never incited the mob, nor did he refuse to assist this person, as they heard. (Mr. Watson here intimated that having very recently hurt his wrist, and had his arm sometime before broken, Perry was quite incapacitated from physically rendering assistance to the mob.) Mr. Gardner added that he did see a big man rush up to and strike Mr. Yewen, but he did not know this person, who was in his shirt sleeves. At this stage of the proceedings and with such evidence, the Court put it to Mr. Edmonds whether he could go further with the case, and the learned gentleman said ‘I confess I cannot.’ Mr. Williams and Mr. Kenrick from the Bench intimated that in their opinion Mr. Yewen (who admitted that he was much excited at the time) must have been mistaken as to the identity of the person who had no doubt assaulted him. Mr. Watson thought there could be no doubt of that, and the Court directed the summons to be dismissed.”

Staffordshire Advertiser 27/1/1855
“William Perry, formerly champion of the ring, and now keeping a beerhouse in Spon Lane, appeared on Saturday last, before Lord Calthorpe, A. Kenrick, and J. Williams, Esqs., to answer a charge of having violently assaulted a married woman named Bridget Fagan, of Wednesbury. From the evidence it appeared that the assault arose out of a row which occurred in Perry’s house, whither complainant, her husband, and several friends had repaired to pass some time, while waiting for a train. They were induced to go there, as one of the witnesses said, to have a look at the Slasher. The dispute arose from a complaint respecting the quality of the ale, and according to the complainant’s statement, the defendant got into a passion, seized the complainant, and kicked and beat her so severely that she had been under the care of Mr. Palin, surgeon, of Wednesbury, ever since. Her face was half covered with adhesive plaster, and she appeared to suffer severely. Perry had summoned Mrs. Fagan and others for assaulting him, and also charged them with an intent to steal his watch, which, he stated, she snatched at, and broke the guard chain and glass. The defence set up was that Mrs. Fagan merely grasped at Perry to save herself from being flung into the street when he was beating her. The bench decided that Perry must pay a fine of 20s, including costs and also pay the surgeon’s bill of 10s; and the cross summons against Fagan and others must be dismissed. The champion said he had never got in such a neighbourhood before, and would try to get away from it as soon as he could.”

Aris’s Birmingham Gazette 21/5/1855
“To Be Sold By Auction, by Messrs. Chesshire and Gibson, this present Monday the 21st of May, at five o’clock in the afternoon, at the DARTMOUTH HOTEL, in West Bromwich, in either the following or such other lots as may be determined upon at the time of sale, the undermentioned Properties.
Lot 1. The commodious and well-situated Premises, situated in Spon Lane, near to the Stour Valley Railway Station, known as the CHAMPION OF ENGLAND beerhouse, in the occupation of Mr. Perry, at an annual rent of £25; and four Houses and a Workshop adjoining, fronting to the Canal towing-path, and a Party Carriageway and a portion of Land, needed for the erection of Outbuildings, producing in the whole a rental of £52 6s per annum…..”

Bells Life in London and Sporting Chronicle 3/8/1856
“Paddock and the Slasher. The third deposit of £10 a side for this event was made good at Alec Keene’s, Three Tuns, Moor Street, Soho, on Thursday last, and the fourth must be staked at Bill Perry’s, CHAMPION OF ENGLAND, Spon Lane, Tipton, on Thursday next. Touching this match we have receive a communication from Mr. Honeywell, a backer of Aaron Jones, and also of Paddock in his late match with Harry Broome, to the effect that Paddock has not accounted for certain sums advanced to him on Tom’s behalf for the match with Broome, and that if he does not do so he (Mr. Honeywell) will effectually prevent Paddock from meeting his engagement. We hope that this will not be necessary.”

Bells Life in London and Sporting Chronicle 10/8/1856
“Paddock and the Tipton Slasher. The second deposit of £10 a side, for the exciting event between these heroes was to have been made at the Tipton Slasher’s own house, the CHAMPION OF ENGLAND, Spon Lane, on Thursday night, but neither Paddock nor his money was forthcoming. We therefore fear that for the present there will be no fight for the championship, the Slasher having claimed forfeit, to which he is by the articles clearly entitled.”

OLD BRICKLAYERS ARMS, Walsall Street/Duke Street, WOLVERHAMPTON

Wolverhampton Chronicle 24/2/1858
“William Perry, ‘The Tipton Slasher’, late ‘champion of England’, who keeps a public house in Walsall Street, was charged with assaulting a puddler named Riley. It appears that the complainant, who is employed at the Shrubbery Works, went into Perry’s house at a late hour at night, and amongst other things calculated to violate the redoubtable Slasher, accused him of having murdered a woman at Dudley, whereupon the champion ejected him from the house with much less ceremony than force. The Magistrates considered the provocation given justified the violence used, and dismissed the case.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 30/6/1858
“On Monday last, at the Borough Police Court, before G. L. Underhill, J. Wynn, and B. Hicklin, Esqs., William Perry, better known by the soubriquet of the ‘Tipton Slasher,’ landlord of the BRICKLAYERS’ ARMS. Walsall Street, was charged with being disorderly. Police-constable 24 deposed that on Saturday night, the 13th instant, at twelve o’clock, he was on duty in Walsall Street, when the defendant came to him, and, using abusive language, asked him why he allowed the DUKE’S HEAD public house to remain open at that hour. Witness told him it was but just twelve o’clock, when the defendant became very violent and took hold of him rather roughly in order to ascertain his number. The defendant called several witnesses, all of whom stated that the disturbance took place at twenty past twelve, that the officer came out of the DUKE’S HEAD at that time, and on being asked by Perry in a quiet manner why he allowed that house to remain open after giving him (Perry) notice to close at twelve, the officer was very abusive. The Bench considered that the police office had exceeded his duty, and accordingly dismissed the charge.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 2/2/1859
“Yesterday at the Borough Police Court before F. Walton, J. Wynn, and M. Ironmonger, Esqs., the following publicans living in Walsall Street were summoned by Captain Segrave, the inspector of Weights and Measures, for having in their possession incorrect measures and fined in the amounts placed opposite their respective names…..
William Perry, alias ‘The Tipton Slasher’, of the BRICKLAYERS ARMS, was summoned for having two quart jugs which were incorrect. Mr. Langman appeared for the defendant, and called a witness, who deposed that the jugs were her property; they had been left by her at the defendant’s house. The summons was dismissed.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 16/2/1859
“Yesterday (Tuesday), at the Borough Police Court, before M. Ironmonger and F. Walton, Esqrs., Mr. William Perry, alias the ‘Tipton Slasher’, landlord of the OLD BRICKLAYERS’ ARMS, Walsall Street, was charged with assaulting an Irishman named Mark Brannan, on the afternoon of Sunday week. It appeared, from the evidence for the complainant, that Brannan went into Perry’s house on Sunday afternoon, and called for ale. He was under the influence of liquor, and Perry refused to supply him. A quart of ale was called for by other parties in the house, and Brannan was asked to pay for it, but he refused, at which Perry was offended. Brannan said that if Perry would not fill him a pint of ale he would leave the house. Perry requested him to do so, and laid hold of him. He got up, and shortly afterwards the defendant struck him a violent blow, cutting his lip, knocking him down, and producing insensibility. It was alleged that Perry afterwards kicked him. Mr. Smith, surgeon, attended the complainant. For the defence a number of witnesses were called, who stated that several Englishmen were in the public-house when the complainant entered, and that he wanted to drink out of their jug of ale. Perry refused to supply him with ale, and ordered him to leave the house. He was intoxicated, and threatened that if the landlord would not supply him with drink he would give him a blow on the side of the face. Perry took hold of his arm to put him out of the house when he struck him twice on the nose, causing it to bleed, and was about to strike him a third time, when the ‘Slasher’, exasperated, hit Brannan on the mouth, and being intoxicated he fell heavily to the ground. The complainant had previously offered to fight any one in the house, and one or two persons said he pushed his own witness on to the fire. The Bench dismissed the case, believing that Brannan struck Perry first, and expressing their opinion that no kicking took place. Mr. Claydon appeared for the complainant and Mr. Langman for the defendant.”

Birmingham Daily Post 29/6/1859
“At the Petty Sessions yesterday, Mr. William Perry, ex-champion of England, and landlord of the BRICKMAKERS ARMS, was charged with being drunk and disorderly and threatening two police-officers, on the previous Wednesday night. Police-constable Fowler stated that about half-past eleven on the night in question, as he was patrolling Walsall Street, he saw a woman thrown violently into the street out of the defendant’s house. The defendant came after her, and called out that he would have no b––– w–––s there. The woman then came to witness for protection, saying that she had been to the defendant’s house to fetch her husband, and that he had struck her, after which she was expelled as the officer had seen. Witness advised the woman to take out a summons against the defendant, who thereupon became very abusive. Another officer having corroborated this statement, the defendant said that the policemen had come to his door intoxicated, with three prostitutes, and that there would have been nothing of the present case had he not gone to the Station to report them. The Bench, however, believed the officers and fined the defendant 5s and costs.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 31/8/1859 - Advert
“Messrs. Altree and Son have received instructions to procure a purchaser for the licenses and Possession, Furniture, Fittings, Brewing Plant, stock of Ale and Spirits, at that noted and well-frequented business premises, the OLD BRICKLAYERS’ ARMS, Walsall Street, Wolverhampton.
Particulars of the proprietor, William Perry; and the Auctioneers, Bilston.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 15/8/1860
“Joseph Chapman, charged with being drunk and disorderly, and breaking two glasses, value 8d, the property of William Perry, of the BRICKLAYERS’ ARMS, Walsall Street, was fined 2s 6d and costs.”

1861 Census
147, Walsall Street
[1] William Perry (42), licensed victualler, born Tipton;
[2] Ann Maria Perry (28), wife, born Dudley;
[3] Mary Walker (16), domestic servant, born Ireland;
[4] William Edward Perry (6), son, born West Bromwich:

Wolverhampton Chronicle 4/3/1863
“William Perry, better known in pugilistic circles as the ‘Tipton Slasher,’ was charged with being drunk and creating a public disturbance. It appeared that on the previous evening the attention of two police-constables was directed to a large concourse or people around the door of defendant’s public house, in Walsall Street, attracted it appears by a rather noisy squabble that was going on between the Slasher and his wife. On the officers going to the spot to ascertain the cause of the uproar and clear away the crowd, the defendant came to his door and conducted himself in such a violent manner that they took him into custody. The defendant denied the charge, and called witnesses to prove that he did not misconduct himself in the least until he was irritated by one of the policemen purposely knocking down his son, a lad about eleven years of age, ‘a thing he would not stand by quietly and allow any man to do without resenting it.’ For a policeman to bring a charge like this against him (the defendant) he was, he said, the more astonished, for as the Bench well knew, he had on all occasions assisted the police rather than resisted them. The Bench considered the case proved, and fined the defendant 2s 6d and costs. He said he would pay the fine, but he should certainly summon the policeman for striking his son.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 4/3/1863 - Advert
“BRICKLAYERS’ ARMS, Walsall Street, Wolverhampton. Mr. Thomas Skidmore has received instructions from Mr. William Perry to Sell by Auction, without reserve, on Monday, March 9th, 1863, the whole of the Public House Effects, capital screens, benches, five-pull ale machine, capital 16-bushel mash tub, pair vats, six feet long; 120-gallon copper boiler, with grate and fittings; 100-gallon iron ditto, cellar of capital barrels, from 60 to 400 gallons; cooling tubs, capital malt crusher, drinking tables, signs, gas fittings, well-bred sow, in pig; the materials forming stable and pigstye, timber for a large booth, jugs, cups, glasses, pewter measures; also the Household Furniture, set of four-post and other bedsteads, hair and flock mattresses, four prime feather beds, bedding, washstands and dressing tables, chest of drawers, Windsor and other chairs, eight-day clock, in rosewood case; Pembroke table, single-barrel gun, five smoking chairs, kitchen requisites, and other effects.
Sale punctually at eleven o’clock in the morning.
Catalogues may be obtained at the Office of the Auctioneer, 2, Bilston Street, Wolverhampton.”

Wolverhampton Chronicle 4/3/1863
“William Perry, better known in pugilistic circles as the ‘Tipton Slasher,’ was charged with being drunk and creating a public disturbance. It appeared that on the previous evening the attention of two police-constables was directed to a large concourse or people around the door of defendant’s public house, in Walsall Street, attracted it appears by a rather noisy squabble that was going on between the Slasher and his wife. On the officers going to the spot to ascertain the cause of the uproar and clear away the crowd, the defendant came to his door and conducted himself in such a violent manner that they took him into custody. The defendant denied the charge, and called witnesses to prove that he did not misconduct himself in the least until he was irritated by one of the policemen purposely knocking down his son, a lad about eleven years of age, ‘a thing he would not stand by quietly and allow any man to do without resenting it.’ For a policeman to bring a charge like this against him (the defendant) he was, he said, the more astonished, for as the Bench well knew, he had on all occasions assisted the police rather than resisted them. The Bench considered the case proved, and fined the defendant 2s 6d and costs. He said he would pay the fine, but he should certainly summon the policeman for striking his son.”

Courtesy Hitchough's Black Country Pubs
longpull.co.uk