Exchange Evil for Good, Berry Brow

The Exchange Evil for Good was a beerhouse situated at Park Gate, Berry Brow.


The beerhouse was likely established in the 1830s by Job Vickerman (c.1789-1855).[1]

One explanation for the beerhouse's unusual name was provided by this short article which was reprinted in several newspapers in the late 1840s:

There is in a small village about three miles from Huddersfield, a public-house, with the following singular inscription, by way of a sign, over its door: "Exchange Evil for Good." When the good hostess was asked to explain it, she answered by blandly inviting the querist in there, to exchange, as she said, his evil brass for her good drink.

The name may also be a reflection of the more general belief in the virtues of beer over the evils of gin consumption which had led to the introduction of the Beerhouse Act of 1830.[2]

In November 1841, Vickerman brought a prosecution against Christopher Tinker after the latter's geese invaded his garden and began eating his vegetables. Unfortunately for Vickerman, when the magistrates examined the damage, it turned out he did not have a garden gate to keep animals out and so the case was dismissed.[3]

In 1847, Vickerman was found guilty of "filling ale during the hours of divine worship" on Sunday 17 January and fined 20 shillings and costs.[4] In May, he was again fined 20 shillings for permitting gambling on his premises.[5]

Vickerman was visited by Superintendent Heaton early on Christmas Day 1850, where he found "two persons drinking beer". Vickerman claimed they were both lodgers who had just woken up, but Heaton examined their clothing and found it damp, "as though they had been exposed for some time to the open air". At the Guildhall, the magistrates fined Vickerman 20 shillings plus costs.[6]

The beerhouse appears to have been the subject of a temperance composition, which may be the "poetical squib" mentioned by the Bradford Observer in their coverage of the November 1841 case, which they suggested may have been penned by Christopher Tinker. The Sheffield Independent (28/Mar/1866) reported on a temperance meeting at Chesterfield in which Mr. Richardson, "gave a few lines composed by a working man, subject, a public-house sign, and entitled, 'Exchange evil for good'."

It seems probable that the beerhouse closed after Vickerman's death in July 1855, as his wife Arabella had pre-deceased him in June 1854.

Further Reading


The exact location of the beerhouse at Park Gate, Berry Brow, is uncertain. However, it was likely situated somewhere in the vicinity of the junction with Hood Street and Robin Hood Hill.

Notes and References

  1. Job Vickerman married Arabella Camm in September 1809 at Huddersfield Parish Church and worked as a clothier (1841 Census) and beerseller (1851 Census). He died in July 1855 and was buried at St. Paul, Armitage Bridge, on 11 July. His first son, also named Job, emigrated to Iowa circa 1840.
  2. William Hogarth's prints "Gin Lane" and "Beer Street" of 1751 encapsulate this belief. Wikipedia: Beer Street and Gin Lane.
  3. "A Hole in the Wall" in Bradford Observer (18/Nov/1841).
  4. "Huddersfield" in Leeds Times (30/Jan/1847).
  5. "Huddersfield" in Leeds Times (22/May/1847).
  6. "Berry Brow: Beerhouse Conviction" in Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Jan/1851).