The first and last public house on Windermere Road, the Union has probably been opening its doors to thirsty drinkers since possibly around 1834.....a Poor Law Amendment Act was passed in 1834, meaning that Kendal workhouse and Milnthorpe workhouse formed a partnership. This became known as the Kendal Union, and at this time, records show the building at 159 Stricklandgate as The Union Tavern.
Above, The Union Tavern in 2006.
The building itself dates from around 1800, and before its life as an inn, it was used as a Spinning House...otherwise known as a Jack Shop. There is possibly some indication as to how the inn obtained its name here, the Union taking its name from the Union Jack...the flag of the United Kingdom, signified in its hanging sign by the floral emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Above. The hanging sign of the Union Tavern.
As the name suggests, the Union is epitomised by the presence of the Thistle (Scotland), the Shamrock (Ireland) and the Rose (England) in its hanging sign.
The Union was sold at a public auction in 1847, to its first named landlord, Thomas Tate, for the grand sum of £600. The Alexanders, a brewing family of Kendal owned the building from 1871 until 1947, with only around 10 years break in this period. The stables were still to the rear of the inn up until recently...I'll have to check to see if they're still there.
Between 1871 and 1947, the Alexanders, a well known local brewing family, owned the inn. An advertisement from 1913, relating to the Alexander's Beezon Brewery, stated that the inn offered 'noted light and strong Kendal ales'. By the end of the 1940s, Duttons Backburn Brewery Limited, was slowly taking over many of the Alexanders inns in town. By 1951, their final business venture, a mineral water business, was closed, and around ten years later, the Alexander brewing company was no more.
A few famous names have passed through the doors of the union Tavern in its time. Stories have been told of John Lowe, three time world darts champion, losing his darts in the inn.....and Randolph Turpin, world Middle Weight boxing champion in 1951, staying the night on his way home after losing to Sugar Ray Robinson!
After being closed for a number of years, from 2013, a victim of the general decline of Kendal's collection of great hostelries, the Union has been re-branded as the New Union Tavern.