WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2005-07 > 1121792441
From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Subject: McCUTCHEON; Ellen Malvin Dodd- 12/9/2004-UK
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 18:00:41 +0100
The Daily Telegraph & the telegraph.co.uk
Ellen McCutcheon, who has died aged 74, was the most traditional of English
country pub landladies, and the fourth of her family to hold the licence of
the Harrow Inn at Steep, in Hampshire.
Over the years Mrs McCutcheon's customers included characters such as Lionel
"Bobby" Birch, who lodged at the pub (climbing in and out of the windows)
and later became The Sunday Telegraph's columnist Mandrake; a dog that
smoked a pipe; the painter and art teacher Innes "Gigi" Meo; a poacher who
kept his 12-bore tied to his bicycle crossbar; Free French sailors and Jack
Harris (the writer John Wyndham).
Her father, Arthur Dodd, first acquired the licence in 1929, and Ellen
Malvina Dodd was born in the pub on October 21 that year. She attended the
village school before working as a pharmacy assistant for Boots in
Petersfield. After marrying she settled down at the Harrow where, using her
mother's country recipes, she began making the pub's now famous pea and ham
soup. Every day began for her with tears induced by cutting up pounds of
Against all the trends, she kept the Harrow as a tiny two-bar pub (one
Tudor, one Victorian); she retained brass taps in the barrels behind the
bar, and maintained the pub tradition of not having a till, a tribute to the
honesty of the staff employed there.
Perhaps her greatest clash with authority was when the then owners,
Whitbread, supported by East Hampshire Council, devised a plan to integrate
the two bars for the purpose of providing indoor lavatories, the existing
ones being 15 yards across the lane at the front of the pub, an arrangement
which local health officials deemed unhygienic.
Ellen and her husband, Eddie, were supported by their customers, and a
grassroots revolt ensued, hundreds of people writing letters and signing
petitions; it was the highest number of objections the local planning office
had ever had, and the status quo prevailed. Ellen McCutcheon herself
continued to use an outdoor privy situated at the back of the pub, rather
than the bathroom in the family's living quarters above.
Her appetite for conservation was also reflected in her attachment to a
rickety, green, galvanised fence that surrounded the pub's old chicken-run -
its removal would have provided valuable car parking space - and in her
staunch opposition to Hampshire County Council's thinning of the beech and
ash "hangers" (wooded hills).
The Harrow interiors, complete with inglenook fireplace and elm table,
Victorian polyphon and stuffed Victorian animals, featured prominently in
the Campaign for Real Ale's book about unspoilt pubs. The Harrow received a
long-service award from the Good Pub Guide after achieving 20 years'
inclusion in the book.
Ellen McCutcheon - whose husband predeceased her in 1996 - continued to run
the pub until her death on September 12. She is survived by their two
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.
|McCUTCHEON; Ellen Malvin Dodd- 12/9/2004-UK by "Peter_McCrae" <>|