There is no getting away from it, this pub will always be known to many as 'The Fountain'. For a short while it was The Fathom and Firkin and then The Assembly, before adopting its present guise as Bar Release. UPDATE: September 2016: Refit in progress, will be renamed the Slug and Lettuce apparently.
We think that whilst it was the Fathom and Firkin, it was a brew pub. That's to say, it actually brewed its own beer on the premises. I do seem to recall seeing two or three copper brew kettles through a side window but never sampled the brew itself. (Brewing on premises confirmed, thanks Roger). Colin also tells me that he was a regular in the Firkin days and was fortunate to have a tour of the brewery which opened in 1997 and closed in 1999.
The original building dates to around 1890.
Opposite the pub was an area that may have been a brewery run by Richard Carter in around 1866.

The fountain was later built opposite as an outlet for the brewery. It may have been known as the Fountain Tap. Cook's Row on the north side of the pub was renamed Chatsworth Road. The name possibly derives from its close proximity to the old water fountain and horse trough where the old town hall stood.


We can see that the Fountain Inn wasn't originally on the corner that we have become accustomed to. I am given to understand that the Carter family who had a brewery up at the Lennox moved down in to town, set up a brewery and also built a family home next door. The map seems to bear this out.

The brewery building clearly has room for stabling and storage. Over time, for reasons unknown, the house was converted in to the pub we know today.




Jack Watts, author of 'Old Worthing As I Remember',  1906 to 1920, recalls the Fountain Hotel and its proprietor 'Mr Wardroper with its very cosy bars'. I assume this to be the same Wardroper who was landlord of the Maltsters in Broadwater from 1892 to 1896.

May 1940: The rebuilding of the Fountain hotel has been completed by frank Sandell & sons to the direction of architect CH Ridge, the exterior of the building has been brick faced and the interior drastically reconstructed. The Spanish garden dining room is one of the principal features. Worthing Journal 1940


A Fascist History.

It seems a little hard to believe now that the Fountain was the meeting place of the fascist movement in Worthing. Oswald Mosley and William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw), were attending a fascist meeting at the Pavilion. As they left, protected by a group of Black Shirts, entering a cafe in the arcade, they were attacked by a group of youths. Whilst attempting to flee to their headquarters in Ann Street, fascist supporters from the fountain rushed to their aid.

Mosley died of natural causes on 3 December 1980
Joyce was executed on 3 January 1946 at Wandsworth Prison, aged 39.


A rare video clip of Worthing in 1988 where Bar Release is still the fountain.

July 2011: Starting to look a bit shabby. The peeling paintwork on the front has revealed the green paint of the 60's or perhaps even older.

Update November 2011: External renovations started.

Just discovered! Whilst trading as the Fathom & Firkin, a miniature crazy golf course was built on the rear patio. A round cost 2.00 with tournaments held each Tuesday. Were you a winner? Other non-traditional pubs games included giant versions of Jenga and Connect 4

The Fathom & Firkin brewed monthly specials with names such as Fathom Ale, Firkin Ale and Dog-Bolter. They also supplied the Font and Firkin in Brighton. Dave the Head Brewer was always happy to show people around if they made an appointment


November 2011 saw a much needed facelift.

The picture directly below used to be the brewery in the Fathom & Firkin days . . . pictures anyone?


1892: Plans of proposed alterations to the Fountain Inn, Chapel-road, were submitted by Mr. Walter Foster Crouch (representing the firm) and Mr. West, architect, Croydon, on behalf of Messrs, Nalder, Collyer, and Co, of that place, who recently purchased the property. The Bench retired to inspect the plans, and on their return the chairman said they considered that the licence over the old building did not cover the portion at the corner of Cook's-row, and therefore it would be necessary to make application for a transfer in the usual way. The Bench did not wish to offer any opposition to the proposed alterations, but everything must be done in a legal way. If the building was to commence it would, of course, be at the owners risk.

It is most likely this event refers to the time when the fountain inn/brewery was just a little south of the present building and the owners had built their own house where the fountain stands today. It is thought that they wished to transfer their business to this newer building and make alterations to accommodate that.

Known landlords/managers From: the Worthing Journal

1866 - R Carter  
1878 - Richard Carter - Chapel Road
1891 - Richard Carter PH & Brewer (16 Chapel Rd)1897 - Edwin Tyrrell
1899 - 1905 David Ovenstone - 20 Chapel Road  
1914 - Howell & Sons
1919 - Frank Howell (The Fountain)
1973 - 1983 Peter & Wendy Richardson
1984 - Peter Richards (The Fountain)
1986 Terry Clark

1960: Ada Nighy, licensee of the Fountain Hotel, Chapel Road, for 28 years, died at the age of 85. She lived at 16 Woodland Avenue, High Salvington.