History of the swan
The 'Swan Inn' was opened in 1861 by Mr George John Swann. Mr Swann had previously been manager at the Queen's Hotel during the period when the German Legion were camped on the Queen's Parade opposite the Hotel in 1857 on the Legion's return from the Crimea War.
Mr Swann did all the catering for this legion and with the profits made decided to start on his own account and became the first Landlord of the Inn and it became known as the 'Swan Inn".
An anecdotal story from the local newspaper tells us that on every Easter Monday there were sports held in the gardens, including cock fighting in pits.
The following is an extract from a letter from Mr Swann’s grandson to the proprietor in 1949.
A Mr Cocks followed as Landlord until about 1880 when the Inn was taken over by Mr Reeves the father of Mr George Pryor Reeves who died at the Inn several years ago (1938).
The following items may be of interest to you:
The Architect who designed all the roads in this new part of Farnborough had his office and lodging at the Inn. In 1869 the Rateable Value of the Inn was 13.10.0 and the total ANNUAL Rates amounted to 27/- (Good old times).
There were two Parish Constables in 1869 each being paid the sum of 1.0.0 per year. Their names were J White and A Young.
In 1861 on the site which is now the R.A.E. there were usually a Brigade of Cavalry camped every Spring time and during the month of August the whole of the land now used for Flying was covered with tents accommodating about thirty thousand Volunteers and Militia.
The Inn was enlarged by adding the two bay window portions to give more room to the workers of the newly built Army Balloon Factory.
Until the 1890's it was all open ground opposite the Inn and the only exciting item was the running of the Trams from Farnborough Station to North Camp Station via "Queen's Hotel". The Trams always stopped at the "Swan" to refresh both horses and driver.
Thanks to Jo Gosney for providing the above information.