White Lion Hotel, 50-51 Smithford Street
|These premises have been known by different names during their history:||FROM||TO||NAME|
|c1734||?||WHITE LION HOTEL|
The White Lion, 1954, shortly before demolition early the following year.
This is a heraldic reference to Edward IV, or the Earls of March or Duke of Norfolk.
The pub gained some notoriety in 1734 when the licensee, Susannah Wall, was murdered by her nephew, Thomas Wilday, a local wool-comber. He also murdered Ann Shenton, whom I have seen described in different accounts as Susannah Wall's daughter, her niece or her servant girl. Goodness knows which is the truth! Wilday was hanged in chains on Whitley Common.
In 1756 four soldiers were billeted here. In 1823 Townsend, a pedestrian, that is a competitive walker, walked from the White Lion to Warwick and back three times a day for six days. I only hope he made some money from this. In 1860 the White Lion was leased by Mr Edgar Sharman, a veterinary surgeon and publican! Odd combination that, but he only stayed for a year. During that time it appears to have been known as the STORK, perhaps in recognition of Mr Sharman's position as a vet.
The pub was sold in 1874.
This was the last building to be demolished to make way for the Upper Precinct in 1954. It stood next door to Marks and Spencer. A good description of the pub was printed in the local press some years ago, and the best I can do is to repeat it word for word:
The White Lion had a really beautiful interior, the large bay window being the public bar. To the right was a passageway to the main entrance, a smoke room, kitchens, a staircase to the Grosvenor function room and restaurant. The large window in the centre of the first floor was our private lounge with a view across the street. During air raids the top storey, where the staff had their quarters, was destroyed, which explains the appearance of the building after the war.
Sounds grand, doesn't it? Of course, it was replaced by the unpleasant modern concrete rubbish of the Upper Precinct. The license was transferred to the WHITE LION, Ironmonger Row, in 1955.|
LICENSEES:1734 Susannah Wall 1822 - 1835 James Mills 1841 - 1851 Charles Price 1860 - 1861 Edgar Sharman 1861 Mr Hanson 1867 Mrs. Ann Robinson 1868 William Ladkin 1868 Henry Bailey 1874 - 1886 John Whittam Loveitt 1890 - 1891 J. E. F. Jones 1893 E. Branston 1894 H. J. Smith 1896 Percy Whittem 1903 G. E. Taylor 1909 - 1913 Walter J. Osberne 1919 J. Hains 1924 - 1925 Arrmit Wallace Brown 1925 - 1927 Horatio Nelson 1927 Sydney Burleigh Edwards 1933 - 1936 A. S. Lane 1937 - 1940 J. Lunn from 1940 Mr. Moon
Street plan of 1851