There was another ex rugby player who managed the Fforde Grene. He was Terry Robbins who played Rugby Union for Swansea and Wales. He played for Bramley RLFC around 1963. Apart from the Fforde Grene, Terry also managed the Compton Arms at Harehills, the 'old' Kings Arms in Meanwood Road and the Welcome Inn at Tinshill. Terry died in 2015 aged 81 years. I met Terry and his wife, Ida, in unusual circumstances.
In April 1969, a young girl called April Fabb, aged 13 years, who lived in north Norfolk, went to visit her sister’s home on her bicycle. She left her home and was never seen again. Extensive Police enquiries to trace the girl, or her body, were unsuccessful and, to this day, nobody knows what became of her and her body was never found.
At the time of her disappearance, a young lad was doing something which many children did at that time – he sat at the side of the road near to where he lived, which was en route between April’s house and her sister’s house, and he had a notebook and was writing down the registration numbers of every vehicle that past. The Police learned about this and went about tracing the owners and drivers of every vehicle, which the young lad had noted.
As a result of this, there were two vehicles, which he noted, that were from the Leeds area. One was owned and driven by Terry Robbins and the other one was owned and driven by his brother in law, Alan Richardson (I think that is the correct surname), who lived at Garforth and had a butcher’s shop on Butcher’s Row in Leeds Market.
The Norfolk Constabulary sent correspondence to the Leeds City Police requesting that the occupants of the two vehicles be traced, interviewed and eliminated from the enquiry, and also to glean any other useful information. I was working in the Leeds City Crime Squad at that time and was given the task.
I interviewed Terry, Alan and their wives and found that they had been on holiday together in the Norfolk area, near to where April went missing, but had no knowledge of April’s disappearance and could not assist in the enquiry.
At that time, Terry and Ida were managing the old King’s Arms on Meanwood Road, near to Barrack Street. I felt sorry for them because of the circumstances as to how they came to be in the King’s Arms, having managed much bigger pubs like the Fforde Grene and the Compton Arms (two of the biggest and busiest pubs in Leeds).
What happened was that when they were in the Fforde Grene around 1968, there had been a very hot spell in the summer and the pub ran out of soft drinks and mixer drinks. Despite making many requests to Tetley’s Brewery, who owned the pub, for a delivery of the drinks, they failed to respond and the customers were complaining. To keep his customers happy, Terry went to a ‘Cash and Carry’ warehouse and purchased the required stock, himself. This was, apparently, against company policy. The Brewery found out about it and thought that he was trying to make money ‘on the side’ and ‘punished’ him by moving him from the Fforde Grene to the old King’s Arms, which was a very small pub in size and turnover, in comparison to the Fforde Grene or Compton Arms, and no doubt with a lesser salary. After serving his penance, he moved to the Welcome Inn at Tinshill, where he remained for many years.