Welcome to www.worthingpubs.com, dedicated to researching the history of our local pubs.

This study is ongoing and we welcome contributions, stories, pictures etc that will expand our knowledge and bring back memories of times past.
Feel free to email us HERE

Built in 1927 and named the Ham Hotel, to most of us it will remain so. A name change can be difficult. New owners often do this to make a fresh start and distance themselves from the previous landlords, whilst others just feel a need to change an image. This will often go hand in hand with a refit.

The Ham was renamed the Smugglers Return in 2009. The traditional swing sign outside depicts a preventative officer, pistol on his lap, perhaps enjoying a drink as an unwary smuggler walks in the door with a barrel on his shoulder.

Of course, being built in 1927 it is unlikely to have a smuggling history.


Almost out of sight and barely noticeable this stained glass sky-light holds the real heritage of the Smugglers pub.
The two 'H's of course stand for Ham Hotel.

A picture recently sent in by John Walls (standing in the back row). John recalls  that he used to play darts for the Ham pub team and there was a marathon held over the Easter weekend back in 1980.

I cant remember how it ended up but I remember Mark Lawrence threw the first 3 darts and came back on the Monday to throw the last 3. He played for Brighton then. The landlord was Tony Harris and his wife Pam. They eventually left and had a few pubs in different parts of the country then came back to run the Alexandra. He still uses the Ham.

Henry Charles Woodford, landlord 1961 and ex-mayor of Worthing. Our thanks to his grandson Jason for this picture.

Known Landlords

  Licensed from The Feathers in Portland Road
1931 - W Jenvey
1961 - Henry Charles Woodford (Worthing Mayor 49-50)

1970 - 74 (Approx) Bill & Sylvia Forsyth
1970s+ - Ron and Margaret Benn (Pub of the year 1977 - Worthing Herald)
1980 - Tony & Pam Harris
1986 - 1999 Matthew and Sandie Squire

Landlord & Landlady extra knowledge for the curious.

Matthew also worked at Ye Old House at Home as well as the Britannia (Lancing) and ran the Social Club bar in the Post Office in Chapel Road.
Thanks to Matthews' son Chris Squire for this information.

Ron and Margaret moved to The Romans in Southwick in 1979. After Ron's death Margaret carried on until moving to the Alexandra (Worthing) which she ran until her retirement in 1988. Margaret died in 2006. Thanks to Carole (nee Benn) daughter of Ron and Margaret and her daughter Ang.