Kendal Rainbow Tavern Public House
Location : Kendal
Grid Ref SD 515927
32 Highgate, LA9 4SX. Tel 01539 728 271
The Rainbow Tavern is another of Kendal?s old inns, actually vying for the title of ‘oldest inn’ with The Fleece. The earliest mention of the inn is in Cornelius Nicholson’s ‘Annals of Kendal’, in which it is stated “the property in Kendal known as the Rainbow Inn belonged to him (Oliver Platt) and an oak table and oak panel bearing the inscription O.P. A.P. 1638 were discovered when the house was rebuilt”.
The inn was later owned by Robert Stephenson, and together with a neighbouring house, was given into trust by him in 1716, so that any profits that arose could be distributed annually, some to the poor of the town, and the rest to the catholic priest of Kendal.
In 1881 or 1882, the inn was without its Rainbow name and name board, and was simply known as Mrs Lawsons. The sign wasn’t added until 1829, when James Harker took over as landlord. He stayed until 1856, and during his tenancy, the inn was used by Lodge Number 151 of the Freemasons as a meeting place.
From 1875 to 1876, John Robinson, warden of the Unitarian Chapel in Kendal, was the licensee of the Rainbow.
Records of 1892, state that the inn had stabling for around 60 horses.
- William Robinson was the landlord of the inn until 1896.
- 1906, John Graham took over as landlord.
- 1945, Messrs Truman Hanbury and Buxton and Co Ltd of London took over the inn, with Charles Harriman as the licensee.
Until recently, the inn was known as the Pot of Gold, but the name has now reverted back to the Rainbow Tavern.
Words and photos by Matthew Emmott.
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