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Crown & Anchor, White Hart and the George

Crown & Anchor, the White Hart and the George are just three of the almost 100 pubs, inns & hostelries that have, over the years, quenched the thirst of both locals and travellers to Blandford. As early as 1390, there is a report of twelve Blandford men and one woman being taken to court for brewing beer contrary to the regulations. Indeed, in 1882, it was reported there were 37 public houses in the Blandford district and all had had their licenses renewed.

Crown & Anchor (1757) in West Street was originally called the Cock & George and was famous for hosting cockerel fights. However, when this was made illegal its name was changed to the Crown & Anchor in 1845. Three years later, James Soper was advertising that a horse-drawn ‘omnibus’ left the Crown & Anchor daily, except Sundays, at a half past eight for Wimborne to arrive just in time to catch both the down train to Dorchester and the up train to Southampton and London. That year also, James Soper was found not guilty of trying to defraud the Licensed Victuallers’ Society concerning a life assurance policy. The Crown & Anchor had to be partially rebuilt after a fire in 1863.

White Hart in East Street, now the Dolphin, dates back to 1738. In 1821, landlord Robert Wilson was fined ten shillings (50p) and deprived of his license for three years for allowing ‘tippling’ on his premises while Sunday morning service was taking place in Blandford Church. While in 1867, White Hart’s landlady, Ann Sloper was charged with assaulting an old man in East Street and she was fined ten shillings (50p) with costs. The White Hart was also always popular with soldiers from Blandford Camp whether they were RASC, REME or from the Royal Signals.

George in Salisbury Street was pulled down in 1965 to make way for Woolworths. It was originally the Three Swans but the publican, James Moore renamed it the George in October 1791 to celebrate King George III passing through Blandford. With the Royal Family, he was on his way to take the waters at Weymouth. Prior to the Great Fire of Blandford in 1731, there had been a previous George Inn in Salisbury Street which was a substantial coaching house with its own brewery. However, it was not rebuilt. In January 1886, the George Inn’s publican, Mr W H Cramp was advertising in the Blandford Weekly News that he had a fine marquee for hire, well-aired beds and he was the town’s sole agent for Melton Mowbray Pork Pies. He also claimed his Oakhill Stout was highly recommended for invalids. The George Inn was always popular on market days although the clientele was warned by a sign which said that they were not allowed to spit in the Inn’s passage!

(Illustrations: Crown & Anchor and the George Inn, Salisbury Street below)



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