WELCOME TO TIPPERARY
The Tipperary Inn is well known for both its quality food and its famous history. Set in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside and originally owned by one half of the duo who wrote the notable wartime marching song It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, the inn now serves special Italian inspired dishes that are hard to beat.
With plenty of stunning walks nearby, customers are encouraged to park in the inn’s car park and explore the surrounding countryside before being treated to a well-earned drink and meal.
The menus reflect classic Italian dishes. The highly recommended chef’s choice of Portobello mushrooms stuffed with goat’s cheese and crushed herbs served with rocket salad and balsamic dressing is the ideal light and fresh starter. The mains follow in traditional Italian style, boasting a wide-ranging selection of meat, fish, pasta dishes and pizza, all of which are reasonably priced and beautifully presented.
The staff are friendly without being intrusive; you’re encouraged to sit and enjoy the beautiful views along with your delicious food and thirst-quenching real ale in the large beer garden. The Tipperary Inn’s al fresco dining area really makes it stand out as a go-to venue for friends or family, not forgetting the dog
WE GREW UP WITH ‘TIPPERARY
The strange sad portrait of a man in a wheel chair gazed down at us. He was the co-composer of a world famous song. It had sold over 3,000,000 copies in the USA and 5,000,000 across the British Empire. We grew up with Tipperary.
The song It’s A Long, Long Way To Tipperary celebrates its centenary in 2012. The song filled the First World War soldiers with longing for home. The song the nation took on as their national song, filled our hearts and homes long thereafter.
We grew up with Tipperary. Harry lived on in the soul of his brother Benjamin Williams, who was our dear grandfather.
7, Station Road Hampton in Arden, where our grandparents lived after their retirement from The Plough, (later the Tipperary Inn) was a lively and atmospheric place for the young cousins to visit
Although Harry was long dead, Benjamin, the extrovert brother- publican brought The Plough and Harry back to life.
Apart from the excitement of the thundering, express trains shaking all the windows in the front of the old Victorian house, my brother and I were entertained by the wind up gramophone. Along with the Laughing Policeman, the Laughing Clarinet and Frank Crumit’s lost golf ball which went rolling down the hill, It’s A Long, Long Way To Tipperary was part of our musical diet. Our all singing-hunting-shooting-skipping-poetic-painting-fun grandfather would then yodel. This is when his daughter, my mother, Violet would cover her ears and leave the room trying to escape her humble origins. John, my brother and I loved it, clapped our hands as the old- fashioned voices of Florrie Forde and John McCormack sang the Tipperary song, which reverberated with yet another express London train roaring through the cutting, rattling the teacups and windows.
After a suburban house this old tunnel back Victorian rambling place had an eerie feel. We pulled the brass knobbed door bell nearly out of its socket before we heard the delayed action clanging somewhere in the back scullery. With her stiff leg it was ages before my grandmother hobbled to the door. We followed her long, rustling dress and petticoats down a dark back passage to the breakfast room, which smelt of tobacco and snuff.
They were surrounded of incunabula they had kept from the Plough. The furniture was massive, dominated by a moon faced Grandfather chiming clock. In the cellar they kept barrels and old wine. (the dark abyss reminded me of the two families sheltering down there from the bombing of Coventry and Birmingham in the war. I was three.)
In the attic we found more sheet music, bundles of poems, (one published on the sinking of the Titanic and the other on the funeral of Edward VII), children’s stories, lullabies and more.
Piles of other music belonging to the Williams girls lay there waiting to be rescued.
My mother, Violet played the accordion and the piano. She is still remembered for her Winifred Atwell style of playing surrounded by her friends’ sing- songs. She loved a party and outlived all her sisters at the great age of 98.
Phyllis, (non musical,) the youngest, a jollier and more relaxed member of the Williams daughters spoke fondly of her father’s memories of Harry.
Later in life she moved to Hampton in Arden to care for the elderly parents Benjamin and Margaret Mary. She kept the family history alive with her amusing stories breaking out into fits of infectious uncontrollable laughter. Before she died (nearly 90) in 2000 she passed on to me sheet music, photographs, press cuttings, tankards and curiosities from The Plough.
Edith, the eldest grew up with her uncle Harry in the pub, the Malt Shovel before the family moved to The Plough. An accomplished piano player, she had the earliest and significant memories of Harry. She remembers his brilliant classical piano playing and how he adapted to the Music Hall repertoire entertaining the customers in the pubs. The original publisher’s sheet music and other memorabilia were passed on to her daughter Madeline. She lived close to our grandparents in Hampton and was our playmate. Every time she goes up and down stairs in her Buckingham home she is reminded of Tipperary. The massive gold leaf Tipperary Inn sign that once hung over the pub fills the stairwell.
Margaret (Maggie), the second daughter also grew up with Harry at The Plough and stayed at home to help care for him. Like her father she was in promoting the Harry Williams story. The press releases, original manuscripts, publisher’s letters, first PRS Royalty Certificate and sheet music were passed onto her son Derrick. After Derrick’s recent death, Anne his wife donated them to me.
he Plough, Balsall Common, now The Tipperary pub, former home of Harry Williams and where he co-wrote It’s a Long Way to Tipperary with Jack Judge
A shy, sensitive introvert he was confined to a wheelchair after a childhood accident in which he fell down the cellar steps at his father’s pub, breaking both of his legs. Harry lived in The Tipperary Inn – when it was still The Plough. His father Henry Sketchley moved from Oldbury to become the licensee of the pub in 1900.
Harry met Jack in Oldbury, who at the time was running a fish stall in the town. Their song-writing partnership lasted 15 years and the pair produced 32 songs.
“Harry was a very sensitive, sickly man. He was in a wheelchair and prone to all kinds of illnesses. But he was a great poet, an accomplished pianist and composer. He played lots of different instruments,” says Meg.
“I have the proof it was written at The Plough in 1909 from my mother, who lived at the pub, including the original manuscript.”
So why is a small pub / restaurant near Balsall Common called The Tipperary Inn? Harry Williams was born in Erdington in the district of Aston, Birmingham on September 23rd 1873 and was baptised Henry James Williams.
He was the first born of Mary Ann and Henry Sketchley Williams.
His father was a publican and the family moved from one pub to another during his childhood. Whilst at a pub in Aston, Harry fell down the steps to the cellar, breaking both legs. For the rest of his life he was severely disabled.
From an early age he showed a great talent for writing. This developed into song-writing. During his adolescence he spent most of his time studying music and poetry, eventually becoming an accomplished pianist and mandolin player.
Around 1900 Harry and his parents moved to The Plough Inn, Meer End near Balsall Common in Warwickshire from The Malt Shovel in Oldbury.
His brother, Benjamin, had meanwhile become the licensee of The Malt
Shovel, where Harry returned periodically to entertain the customers playing his original compositions for piano and mandolin. During one of these visits to The Malt Shovel,
Harry first me Jack Judge with whom he was to begin collaborating on a series of songs. It was a partnership which was to result in the most famous marching song of the First World War – ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’.
With his substantial royalties Harry bought The Plough for his parents and they changed its name to The Tipperary Inn.
To the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.
"It's a Long Way to Tipperary" written by Jack Judge and co-credited to, but not co-written by, Henry James "Harry" Williams. It was allegedly written for a 5 shilling bet in Stalybridge on 30 January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Judge's parents were Irish, and his grandparents came from Tipperary. It became popular among soldiers in the First World War and is remembered as a song of that war.
During the First World War, Daily Mail correspondent George Curnock saw the Irish regiment the Connaught Rangers singing this song as they marched through Boulogne on 13 August 1914 and reported it on 18 August 1914. The song was quickly picked up by other units of the British Army. In November 1914 it was recorded by the well-known tenor John McCormack, which helped its worldwide popularity.
An alternative concluding chorus, bawdy by contemporaneous standards:
That's the wrong way to tickle Mary,
That's the wrong way to kiss.
Don't you know that over here, lad
They like it best like this.
Hooray pour Les Français
We didn't know how to tickle Mary,
But we learnt how over there.