Tuesday 20 June 2023

Old pubs of Howden

 I am sitting here listening to the welcome rain. The garden was bone dry and everything was drooping. In particular the potatoes needed the water as the roots we have tried are the size of marbles. Gardening can be very frustrating and I am not best pleased at the moment as I was watching some calabrese and tender stem broccoli in the raised bed and thought how well it was doing. It was well netted but somehow a pigeon got in and in a short time decimated the plants. I am not feeling charitable towards pigeons at the moment.

This afternoon I am going out with the history groups I belong to to visit Nunburnholme church. We plan a few visits over the summer and enjoy learning about new places as well as meeting up with old friends. I am also looking forward next week to a concert in Howden Minster by celebrated young  pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason. It has been organised by Howdenshire Music whose high quality free concerts are really putting Howden on the musical map.

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on a booklet about the old pubs of Howden which is to be published in early autumn by the Howden Civic Society. Geoff Taylor, another member of the society and I  have been researching the various inns and Geoff has been taking contemporary pictures to go with my old ones.

Howden has always been known for having a large number of pubs, inns and beerhouses, largely because it was the centre of the local Howdenshire area where villagers came to visit the shops and markets. And also Howden hosted an annual world famous horse fair where buyers and sellers came from all over the UK and Europe to buy horses for many purposes ranging from hunting, pulling cabs in cities and in particular for use in the army. 

Our booklet is in the form of a town trail and includes 24 pubs - or pub sites. Some of them are a challenge to research as a new landlord often meant a new pub name. Charles Ledsham, for example came to Howden as the landlord of the Black Horse in Bridgegate in the 1820s. Having fought heroically and been wounded at the Battle of Waterloo he renamed his pub  after the battle. But when he moved to new premises in Hailgate the Black Horse reverted to its original name.

Around the same time the White Hart became the patriotically named Wellington whilst the Grapes in Bridgegate became the Britannia.

The civic society will be having a stand at Howden show on July 2nd. Come along and say hello. And if you have any memories or old pictures of Howden pubs you would be doubly welcome!!!!

 The white building on the left was once the Spotted Cow inn. It later was a lodging house and is now private housing.