War ended in 1918 but things didn’t go back to the way they had been. Many changes that came about because of the war remained. It was the same with pub life, the changes brought in during the war remained, except that people could now buy drinks for one another. The restricted hours and higher price of beer were there to stay.
Brewers had realized that selling more expensive beer helped their bottom lines so they started to improve their pubs to attract a different clientele who would buy the expensive brews. New lavish pubs were built but they also updated their old pubs. More of them offered food service. Had food service been offered at the Hearts of Oak before 1914? No evidence has been found either way but we do know that food was most likely offered later as evidenced by one of Ellen’s sons stirring the stew pot on the windowsill. This could have been a set meal for the pub.
By the 1930s most pubs had indoor toilets; a vast improvement over the back yard privy. Even a pub that was unlikely to attract a wider clientele was modernized to this extent because society had changed enough to expect these kinds of amenities.
These improvements were still to come in 1918 when Ellen’s husband, Charles Cavanagh, returned to the Hearts of Oak. No doubt she was glad to share the duties of publican with him as she had a young son to look after in addition to all the other children. Charles' and Ellen's son had been a few months old when he left for war but they had all made it through the First World War and so had the pub.
Jennings, Paul. The Local: A History of the English Pub. Tempus Publishing Limited, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2007