Kendal Bridge Hotel
Location : Kendal
Grid Ref SD 518929
Stramongate, LA9 4BD. Tel 01539 724170
The Bridge Hotel/Inn is situated on the West side of Stramongate Bridge, on Stramongate itself.
Originally built as a private house, the building is thought to have been built in around 1738.
One of the spout heads bears the initials B.G.A. 1738, believed to stand for Garnett Braithwaite, probably the owner/builder.
Garnett was a local mill owner, joint owner of a mill producing silk which was then downgraded to pins. The mill closed in around 1790.
It’s thought that the house was converted to an inn around 1830, but it doesn’t show up on any of the inn registers of the time, possibly as its conversion coincides with the 1830 Beer Act and so missed the first registering of local inns. The inn first appears registered correctly in records dated 1849, when the licensee was named as John Pollitt. A local hunt is recorded as meeting at the inn as early as 1839, the licensee at this time being recorded as Mr Unsworth.
An interesting event is recorded in 1838, when Agnes Stockdale died at the inn. An inquest was held at her place of death, and the surgeon’s verdict was “Died by the visitation of God”!!!
Towards the end of the 1800’s, the inn had become a substantial property, with a report of 1892 stating that it had a dining room capable of seating around 30 people, possessed three drinking rooms, a number of bedrooms to let and stabling for 25 horses. The licensee at this time was George Gardner, and the owners were Kendal brewers Jonas Alexander and Sons Ltd.
The inn’s sign, which is much weather worn these days, shows a four arched bridge, much like Stramongate bridge, but clearly not in the town.”
Words and photos by Matthew Emmott.
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