About the Pub

The Engineers Arms is situated in Henlow, rural Bedfordshire, close to the A1 and 25 minutes from the M1.

Kevin Machin has run this popular freehouse for over 30 years. Kevin has made 'the Engine' (as it is locally known) one of Bedfordshire's finest hostelries, serving a superb range of real ales,, ciders and continental lagers.

Due to it's close proximity to Champneys Health farm (formerly Henlow Grange) you never know who you might bump into in the bar. Many of Champneys famous guests have popped down the Engine for a pint or a glass of wine over the years: Ross Kemp, Gok Wan, VinnyJones, Frank Bruno, George Best, Gazza, Barbara Windsor, Julie Goodyear and TNT Tony Tucker are a few who have succumbed to the ambience of the Engine.


Not only does the pub provide a wide variety of in-house entertainment, the now infamous 'Engineers Arms on Tour' have visited numerous Beer festivals, pubs, museums, theatres and restaurants throughout Britain over the years, and of course Germany which is covered elsewhere on this website. You can rest assured that a very warm welcome awaits you here at The Engineers Arms....Kevin and Sharon look forward to seeing you.
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John Goodlet and Ken Page

The pub was established in 1830. Abraham Biggs mortgaged his copyhold property in Henlow to John Foster, merchant of Biggleswade in the sum of £60 plus interest. He died in 1834 having left this property to his son David Biggs. James Weston brewer of Shortmead Street, Biggleswade took over the mortgage and David Biggs continued as licensee of the beerhouse.

The property included five cottages at the rear, two in The Alley and three in Back Lane. When James Weston died in 1850, his wife Elizabeth went into partnership with her son in law George Powers as Weston & Powers in trust for her son James Joseph Weston. When James Joseph Weston attained the age of 21 in 1866 he took his mothers share of the partnership with George Powers. James Joseph Weston was sole owner when he leased the pub to William Smith of Henlow bricklayer on 29th September 1874 at a rent of £20 per annum. He put up his brewery at Biggleswade and 17 pubs for sale (including the beerhouse at Henlow) on 28th May 1875.

Extract from Sale Notice 28 May 1875

Brick & Stud built and slated Dwelling House. Licensed for the sale of beer. Containing taproom, parlour, kitchen, and sunk cellar, 2 bedrooms and one other ditto, a large yard with gateway entrance at side, pump and well of water, brick built and slated barn or workshop having one boarded end, wood built and slated closet, ditto shed and poultry place in tenure of William Smith.
ALSO TWO STUD-BUILT AND BOARDED COTTAGES with slated roof each containing 3 rooms, closets, cupboards &  in tenure of Thomas Ashwell and Thomas Legate at a rental of £8.8s Od per annum having also a barn and ashes pit to same; together with THREE BRICK BUILT AND SLATED COTTAGES each containing two rooms with cupboards, pantry &c stud built and slated closet, timber-built and pantiled barn, 3 ashes pits, yard and as now in the tenure of John Harris, Frederick Bywaters and Charles Jordan at rentals amounting to £10.10.Od per annum: the property is bounded on the south by the estate of the Rev. H. Addington and Mr Gravestocks; on the north by a foot and barrow way and the property of E. Eyre Esq.; having a frontage on the east of about 40 feet to the Back Lane; and to the west of about 36 feet to the Hitchin and Biggleswade road through Henlow, the total depth being about 162 feet. The whole of this lot has quite recently been put into a capital state of repair, and with the house and premises is estimated to produce a rental of £30 per annum. This lot is copyhold of the Manor of Henlow Lanthony. The copyhold was later enfranchised in 1915 making it a freehold property.

1903 Licensing Return; High Street .Owner Charles Wells Bedford. Condition good. 1 front & 1 back door. Old deeds at BLARS WL 1000/25.

John Weston Whittaker owner of the nearby Henlow Brewery purchased the beerhouse. He went into liquidation in 1881 and the property was sold to Samuel Lucas, brewer of Bridge Street, Hitchin who in his turn sold it to Charles Wells, brewer, Home Lane, Bedford in 1884 for £500. The beerhouse still had no name. Charles Wells sold off the cottages for £50. In the 1891 census it was called the Engineers Arms and it is now presumed that the licensee at the time Edward Clark named the beerhouse after his own profession. He was noted in the 1891 & 1901 census as being a stationery engine driver, also in 1881 before he took over the beerhouse he was an engine driver at a local flour mill [possibly Harrier's Mill].

Charles Wells, with his sons formed a private limited company in 1910. With the possibility of increased trade following the expansion of RAF Henlow there were considerable alterations in 1936 including the addition of a curved single storey front extension in art deco style. The Licensing Justices granted a wine licence in 1938, but the pub was not fully licensed until 1952. Charles Wells Ltd sold the Engineers Arms as a free house in 1993. Kevin Machin was already the licensee when he purchased the pub and has really put it on the map with the annual Henlow Beer Festival that took off in 1996 with a three-day event at the adjacent Parish Hall. Kevin and Claire won the CAMRA award for the best Bedfordshire pub in 2002 and East Anglia Pub of the Year in 2003. Up to 10 real ales are now available in the pub open all day and every day!

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This is not a complete list. Previous owners:

Abraham Biggs: 1830-1834 
James Weston: 1834-1850 
Weston & Powers: 1850-1869 
James Joseph Weston: 1874-1876 [leased to William Smith 1874-1876] 
John Weston Whittaker, Henlow: 1876-1878 
J. Wm. Whitaker, Henlow: 1878-1882 
J.H. Whitaker, Henlow: 1882 
Samuel Lucas, brewer of Hitchin: 1882-1884 
Charles Wells Ltd: 1884-1993 
Kevin Machin: 1993 

List of Licensees:

David Biggs: 1834-1871 [& wheelwright] 
Elizabeth Biggs: 1871-1872 
Thomas Sabey: 1872-1873 
Thomas Ashwell: 1873-1874 
William Smith: 1874-1877 
Samuel Tyler: 1877-1878 
Leeman Robert Doe: 1878-1884 [& bricklayer] 
Edward Clark: 1884-1911 
George Cousins: 1911-1931 
Mrs. Elizabeth Cousins: 1936 
Stanley Cousins: 1936-1946 
Arthur William Murray: 1947-1953 
Joyce and Eddie Evans: 1954-1956 
Johnny Walker: 1956-1965 
Harold Pepper: 1965-1967 
Leonard Albert Connell: 1967-1971 
Paul Nelson Bennett: 1971-1981 
Trevor Alfred Tiney: 1981-1989 
Kevin Machin: 1989-present