Advertiser reader, Dr H Hackenbusch, has reminded me that as I have recently written articles on the Gardener’s Arms at Bilton, and the Coach and Horses on West Park, the Advertiser should do a whole series on the pubs of Harrogate.
Unfortunately, the Gardeners Arms and the Coach and Horses are in the minority of pubs that have a reasonable amount of surviving historical information. It would certainly be possible to compile a list of landlords’ names, and rough dates of when the pubs first opened, but this hardly forms a basis for a literate and interesting newspaper article.
However, there is one fascinating old pub about which I have never written The Promenade Inn. A recent visit from my good friend Mr V Lokie included the loan of several splendid postcards that I had never seen before. One of them is reproduced with this article, and indeed gave me the means of responding to Dr Hackenbusch’s suggestion.
There are 17th century references to inns within a stone’s throw of the Old Sulphur Well, mostly in the accounts of the Pannal Constable, who recorded that he went to ‘sulfer’ wells to cease quarrels , and it is likely that the original businesses of the later Bell, Promenade and White Hart Inns had grown from such 17th century establishments.
It is known that the Bell and the Promenade Inns were at the time of the 1778 Award, which divided up the Royal Forest, both tenanted by Joseph Hogg, and the map of the Award shows a small building on the site of the Promenade Inn. The name Promenade does not appear in any surviving documentation until 1822, and it is likely that it originated with the building of the neighbouring Promenade Room, now the Mercer Art Gallery, in 1805-6. Earlier names of the Promenade Inn are not known, as the Brewster Sessions records of this period are annoyingly vague on the matter. Then, as now, landlords often changed the names of their establishments, and the Brewster Sessions clerks sometimes entered inns by the term at the sign of the board.
Mr Lokie’s splendid post card, issued in about 1905, shows the buildings at the corner of Swan and Crescent Roads. At left may be seen the building that had once been the Promenade Inn, and on the right, Hale’s Bar, which took over the licence of the Promenade when the latter establishment closed in about 1840. Document S.1243 in the Harrogate Great Chronicle contains details of the demise of the old Promenade Inn, when it was purchased by the brewer and developer Thomas Humble Walker for £1,220, this being the same man who built most of Swan Road between Well Hill and what is now York Road. Mr Walker went on to build an extension to the old Promenade Inn during the 1840s, the older building then being converted as a house, the newer portion becoming an inn, which took the name of the new landlord, Hodgson. In about 1882, Hodgson was replaced by William Hale, whose name survives to this day.
Although the old Promenade has sometimes been called a coaching inn, this is misleading, as there are no records of any coaches ever having stopped there. The term probably came from the inn’s proximity to the Promenade Coaching Office, a small building behind the end of Royal Parade, from where the coaching companies operated an office. This week’s picture shows the differing stone work of the older Promenade Inn on the left and the more recent Hales Bar on the right. The big poster is advertising a performance of Sherlock Holmes at the theatre tonight My thanks to Dr Hackenbusch for his suggestion, and to Mr Lokie for providing such a splendid post card view.