Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Kendal, Bridge Inn\Bridge Hotel

Bridge Inn\Hotel

Here we are again, reading about yet another Kendal public house that has fallen by the wayside. The Bridge Inn\Bridge Hotel seems to have soldiered on for a number of years, stumbling from one landlord to the next, until 2018, when the inn closed its doors for the final time. There were rumours that it was to be opened as a community pub, but as yet, this hasn't happened. 

Above. The Bridge Inn\Bridge Hotel in 2006 

The inn was originally built as a private residence, in 1738. One of the spout heads bears the initials B.G.A. and the date 1738, believed to stand for Garnett Braithwaite, who, we are told, was the builder and owner. Braithwaite was the joint owner of a mill in the locality. The mill was, at first, a silk mill, then a pin mill, ceasing operations sometime around 1790.

Above. The Bridge Hotel in 2010 from Gooseholme 

The house was converted from a residence to a public house sometime around 1830. Brendan Jameson told me that the Bridge Inn did not appear in the directory lists of local pubs and inns before this time, so he concluded that its origin may have coincided with the advent of the 1830 Beerhouse Act, an Act of Parliament that liberalised regulations governing the brewing and selling of beer. The act enabled any rate paying member of the public, to brew and sell beer, the intention being that it would provide healthy competition between brewers, drive down prices, and ultimately encourage people to drink beer rather than strong spirits.

Above. The Bridge Hotel in 2009 from Stramongate Bridge

The Bridge Inn first appeared in the Borough directory of public houses, in 1849, when the landlord was named as John Pollitt.

Above. The sign, as it was in 2006

There is a mention of the inn in the Borough records in 1839, when it was reported that it was a meeting place for the local hunt....the licensee at this time being named as Mr Unsworth.

The inn was the scene of a death in 1838, when Agnes Stockdale died there. The inquest was held at the inn, with the Surgeon's verdict given as "Agnes died by the visitation of God".

By the end of the 19th century, the inn was a substantial property, with reports in 1892, stating that it had a dinning room capable of catering for 30 people, three drinking rooms, bedrooms to let, and stabling for around 25 horses. The status of the property was given as 'mixed' though I'm not sure what this related to. At this time, the licensee was given as George Gardner, under the ownership of Kendal Brewers Jonas Alexander and Sons Ltd.

Plans for a total refurbishment of the inn, were submitted to South Lakeland District Council in December 2018, though to date, these plans do not appear to have progressed at all.

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