Opened in 1925 as the Fortune of War Hotel by brewers Ind Coope,
it was built to replace an earlier pub, also called the Fortune of War and now a vehicle wheel
specialist, that still stands in Wash Road (West) at the junction with Noak Hill Road.
In March 1925 the
A127 London - Southend Arterial Road opened and with it came the business
potential from the expected increase in passing traffic. The Fortune of War Inn was already
in a good long established location adjacent to the Dunton and Billericay roads but the present
building, lacking in size and potential, and, given its location was obviously not considered good
enough to take advantage of the new road. Sometime during 1922 or early 1923 land was secured
close to the north east corner of the soon to be High Road crossroads in a prime location* on
the Southend bound side of the then under construction road and in April 1923, in anticipation of
the eventual completion of the 'new' Fortune of War, the licencee, Mr. Francis Tubb, made an application
for the removal of the current licence to the new building. The application which although receiving no opposition was
not taken up for reasons unknown and in January 1925 after the building had been completed Ind
Coope made an Order for the removal of the licence, which again was granted and its most likely
the new Fortune of War Hotel opened soon after, and possibly before the completion of the A127.
custom from day trippers on charabanc outings to Southend 'stopping-off' for
refreshments did materialise ensuring its popularity for many years.
In 1968 the pub was refurbished by
Ind Coope at a cost of £25,000. The landlord at the time, Mike Liddle, was known to take part
in the annual publican's chariot race to the Crown Inn at Langdon Hills. During this time the pub had
a restaurant known as the Clan Room and Steak Bar.
Years later in April 1983 the pub
became known as The Hustlers, but this proved unpopular and by January 1985, following a 400
name petition to brewers Ind Coope, one of its bars was renamed 'The Fortune'. By 1996 the
name Fortune of War once again adorned an outer wall though in its final years to closure
the pubs' name was shortened; being known as The Fortune.
In the 2000s the land value
of its location far outstripped its profit margin and rumours soon began to circulate about a
possible closure and redevelopment. This was soon confirmed by owners Mitchells and Butlers
Brewery Co. and the public house called last orders for the final time on Monday 25th August,
2003. Demolition took place soon after from around mid September to mid October 2003.
The site was then
redeveloped by Barratt Homes in a new housing scheme known as Saxon Walk
comprising one and two bedroomed apartments and nine houses. These became available to
purchase during 2004 when the area was named Walnut Close.
During the late 1930s the Arterial Road was converted
to duel carriageway and around this time the A127/B1007 Laindon crossroads was upgraded to a roundabout, which
appropriately took the name of the adjacent public house. Despite the loss of the pub, the roundabout, which has been
closed to right turns since 1995, is still referred to as the Fortune of War.
The first licensee was Francis
Frederick Tubb, who was also the final landlord of the old Fortune of War Inn.
Publicans in the 1960s:
Jean and Dickie Dark