In many ways Henry Booth was typical of the men who became publicans. The records show that he worked his way up through the trade before becoming a publican. In 1891 he was a barman in a pub, by the time of his wedding in 1896, he was a waiter. According to Paul Jennings in his book The Local, publicans usually came from within the trade having served as beerhouse keepers or in a serving role within the trade. Barman and waiter were both serving roles and, sure enough, by the 1901 census Henry’s occupation was that of a public house manager.
The 1901 census also gives the first evidence of Ellen’s occupation. She is listed as Henry’s wife but also as a pub manageress. As Jennings says about wives in The Local, “But in general they were essential business partners. Marrying a woman with experience in the trade was a good move.” It appears that Ellen must have had some experience to became a manageress and that marriage was good for Henry’s career. It was also common for other family members to be involved in the public house as well. The1901 census entry shows Henry’s sister, Florence as a barmaid at the same premises as Henry and his wife.
Husband and wife partners were common pub hosts. With family working other jobs in the same house it really points out how much running a public house became a way of life.
Jennings, Paul. The Local: A History of the English Pub. Tempus Publishing Limited, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2007