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Greyhound Inn

In the 1700s, the Greyhound Inn was one of the three great coaching inns of Blandford and was both stylish and substantial. The other two great inns were the Crown and the Red Lion. In fact, the Greyhound dates back to the early 1600s. This inn was a regular stopping point for horse drawn coaches travelling between London and the West of England.

The Greyhound was destroyed in the 1731 Great Fire of Blandford. It was then rebuilt with an impressive Market Place facing frontage together with sizeable back buildings which included stables, a tap room, workshops and a brewery. The front part covered 3,150 sq ft and the back buildings a further 3,100 sq ft. In 1779, the Inn was advertising it had an excellent and much used billiard table.

On Bonfire Night in 1805, the Greyhound Inn was one of the many stopping points to change his horses for Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere of the Royal Navy. He was taking the news of victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and of Horatio Nelson’s death to the Admiralty in London.

In the first half of the 1800s, Blandford Corporation held many grand dinners in the Greyhound including a Great Ball to celebrate the Coronation of King George IV in 1821. Tickets cost five shillings (25p). In 1827, the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington visited Blandford Races and the Meeting Ball and it is believed he stayed at the Greyhound. Four years later, the windows of the Inn were smashed during riotous protests following a not too honestly conducted Dorset by-election. Four of the rioters were held overnight in the Greyhound before transfer to Dorchester Jail. Two, namely George Long and Richard Bleathman, were condemned to be hanged as a result of their actions.

By the 1850s, and with the dawn of the railway era, the coaching trade had declined so the front of the building was rented out. However, the Inn moved to the back where it still trades today.

(Illustration: Greyhound Inn during the horse drawn coaching era)

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