DVDs & CDs
View All Titles
A fascinating history of the George Hotel in Penrith, which has served an impressive range of roles in the spheres of public entertainment, law and order, local government, sport, agriculture, personal health and the property market.
Nowadays, the George Hotel is a centre for sociability, a meeting place for local clubs and for less formal, more gossipy get-togethers, but the history lingers on.
Cumberland and Westmorland Herald
b&w photographs. Line illustrations.
'The George Hotel stands at the heart of Penrith. It is one of those proud edifices that has stood witness to the passing years, been at the centre of everything taking place in the town, a place for politics, business, friendship and romance.
Without the George, Penrith would not be Penrith.
There was a hotel here in Elizabethan times – it was The George and Dragon then – and actually stood on a site next-door to the present hotel.
Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed there in November 1745 on his march south with his insurgent highland army noisily thronging the narrow streets of Penrith..
James Boswell, Dr Johnson’s philandering biographer, escaped there in 1788. He was staying at Lowther Hall, the guest of Lord Lonsdale, but he found the food so poor and the hall so cold that he fled to the George for proper sustenance and warmth.
And he would have been well fed. Another famous eighteenth century traveller, Arthur Young, who rode around the country inspecting the farming was well pleased with his dinner. He said that it was, “Exceeding good, reasonable and very civil. The dinner was roast beef, apple pudding, potatoes, celery, potted trout and sturgeon.. One shilling a head”
Modern celebrities who have partaken of the George’s hospitality have included the inevitable Coronation Street characters - Stan Ogden of immortal memory, and Tracey Barlow, “a young woman prone to be involved in scandal, mainly with men” according to George Hurst. She enjoyed a Cumberland sausage sandwich.
More interestingly the golfer Henry Cotton, Princess Zaid of Iraq, and Harold and Mary Wilson (Mary was brought up in Penreith) have been guests as also were the famous 1950s Newcastle football team.
The George had been a great coaching inn, a stopping place on the great road north from London to Glasgow, a place where horses were changed and guests refreshed. The Earl of Lonsdale was certain it would not suffer in the age of the motor-car. He commented: “I don’t think motor cars will interfere with coaching. The talk about the extinction of coaches and horses is nonsense.”
The George has survived and it has had many roles.
The courts were held in the Assembly Room on the first floor. “They all passed through: vagrants who begged for money, scoundrels who stole money, trespassers, drunks, window smashers, swindlers, pickpockets, prostitutes, out-of-hours drinkers, sheep stealers, night poachers, owners of straying cows, domino playing gamblers, absconding servants, quarrelsome women, violent brawlers, illegal anglers, callous ravishers, embezzlers, depraved abusers . .”
Penrith local government was “born” in the George in 1849 when the Commissioners of the General Board of Health began an inquiry “as to the sewerage, drainage and supply of water” in the parish, and the last dinner of the urban council was held there in 1974.
The Committeee of the Penrith Agricultural Show were also fond of the George. In the 1830s they managed twenty-three toasts, the last, as was customary, was to “The Bonny Lasses of Cumberland” and was proposed by the gallant E Bleaymire, Esq.
The Penrith football team started life at the George and, perhaps, fortunately, the hotel was also the place to visit for miracle cures. One practitioner even offered to restore health by medical electricity.
George Hurst is a newspaperman.
The George’s colourful history presents a gallimaufry of Penrith through the centuries. Truly all human life has been there.' - Steve Matthews, Bookcase.
DVDs & CDs