EACH year we see more and more pubs fade from existence, only to be replaced with Tesco Express or a new block of flats.

But in 1964, long before the current decline of the watering hole, Southampton pub-goers faced a sad time as landlords of two of the best known locals called “Last orders” for the final time.

Both The Exeter Hotel and the Baker’s Arms, almost next door to each other at the lower end of the now long-gone Manchester Street, closed in the same September week, ending a chapter of history that could be traced back to the mid-1800s.

The Exeter, which stood at the street corner with Western Esplanade opposite the old Southampton Baths site, was the first to go. The next day the Baker’s Arms closed.

Both pubs were demolished under compulsory purchase orders, the licences held by the breweries were transferred to other pubs in the city and the area was cleared to make way for the present multi-storey car park.

Exeter Hotel.

The Exeter Hotel with the Baker’s Arms behind, both closed in the same week in 1964.

The Exeter was a particularly imposing building and the original pub on the site was known as the Exeter Inn and was first recorded in the early 1850s when a Robert Hunt was the landlord.

In 1918, the first building was demolished and new premises were built on the site. The landlord at the time was Telford Minns and the ownership changed from a William Cooper’s house to a Watneys.

The last landlord of the Exeter Hotel was Alf Evans, an ex-chief bedroom steward with the shipping line, Cunard.

William Cooper.

The Exeter Hotel was once owned by the Southampton brewery William Coopers which was based in this building that stood behind Hanover Buildings until pulled down in the 1980s.

He and his wife went to The Nag’s Head that once stood in the High Street.

The first known landlord at the Baker’s Arms was an Arthur Chandler in the 1860s.

The building was demolished in 1914 and a new pub built on the site.

1981 drawing of William Cooper

Beer was once delivered to Southampton pubs by dray horses owned by the William Cooper Brewery. This 1981 drawing was by the late Ted Zillwood, who once worked at the brewery as a teenager.

Soon after the closure of the Baker’s Arms, the landlady, Doris Wilkerson, moved to The Junction at Adelaide Road in St Denys.

Her late husband, who took on the Baker’s Arms in September, 1955, was also a Cunard steward.