Whitby – Black Horse Inn

This pub is thought to be one of the oldest in Whitby and it is has been trading, perhaps, for as long as seven hundred years. These claims are nearly always fanciful, such as the debate over the oldest pub in Nottingham, but they’re interesting and add character.

The pub’s web-site also tells the interesting story that until 1828 the pub was called The White Horse and there was a scam going on with another pub of the same name which meant that advance payments were taken by the wrong pub, so the traveller turned up and had to pay again. A magistrate decided in 1828 that enough was enough, with this pub’s name being changed to the Black Horse.

The pub was nearly full when I entered, both the front and the back bar having no seats available. There were people signing shanty type songs in the front bar and the atmosphere was warm, welcoming and charming. The photo above is the nearest that I could get to the real ale pumps…..

The bar staff were attentive and helpful, being able to explain the real ales which were available. Unfortunately, the busy nature of the pub meant that I never quite worked out how many real ales they had, but it was at least four and probably more. There’s also a tapas menu available with local breads and cheeses, and it looked inventive and rather appealing.

The Good Beer Guide mentioned that the pub sold snuff in tins, an interesting item to sell in today’s smoke-free pub environments. There was a selection of different flavours, apparently with slightly cryptic names deliberately so that they didn’t look tempting to youngsters.

The pub’s web-site also mentions that the building has been used as a funeral directors, a spirit warehouse and a brothel. I also note from old newspapers that the pub was owned by John Collinson in the late nineteenth century, who operated a forge from the site and who also worked as a veterinary surgeon. The front bar itself is also relatively unchanged from when it was put in during the late nineteenth century.

From 1874, it’s not an ideal situation for a publican to find themselves in….

A plaque outside of the front of the pub, indicating that Tetley consider it to be one of their more historic locations. The prices in the pub were very reasonable, the welcome was friendly and the beer was well-kept. Definitely a recommended first port of call for anyone visiting Whitby for the first time, although space is likely often at a premium.