THE GEORGE HOTEL

by MERVYN EDWARDS, Local historian and Burslem History Club Speaker Secretary

The origins of the George are predictably hazy, this being an ancient pub site in Burslem.  Warrillow gives a first-recorded date of 1657 whilst Greenslade suggests the date of circa 1750.
Michael Stanyer appears as innkeeper of the "George and Dragon, top of Nile Street", in the 1818 directory.
William Barlow was landlord of the George Inn by 1834.  He often provided dinners for the Burslem Subscription Library, which met annually at the George in the 1830s.
The George Inn was one of many public buildings in the Potteries which was attacked and ransacked during the Chartist riots in the area in 1842.  Tension in Burslem reached boiling point on August 16th when the agitators journeyed from Hanley to meet up with their brethren in the Mother Town.  Amid the violence which followed, the George Inn was "forced, the cellars invaded, and drink again consumed to give a fiercer fury to those who had shared in it.”  As the author Robert Anderson reminds us, the attack on the building occurred hard on the heels of a previous one on August 6th.
Unsavoury incidents were plentiful in the 1860s, during the reign of the hotel’s most infamous landlord, William Frederick Horry (1843-72) who bought the George, circa 1866.  He married Jane Wright, a barmaid there, in 1867, and children followed.  However, his alcohol-induced paranoia led to their separation and divorce, and in 1872, he shot his wife dead. 
Amazingly, there was a huge wave of support for the charismatic killer, but he was executed at Lincoln Castle in April.  There is a monument to him in St. John's churchyard.
Plans for a new hotel were certainly being discussed by Parker’s Burslem Brewery Limited in the early 1920s.  However, the size and weight of the new hotel that was built in 1929 coupled with the potential for subsidence – the site was heavily undermined – made it necessary for the new premises to be constructed on a base of reinforced concrete to provide stability.
When the old, low, two-storeyed pub was finally demolished in October 1926, it was discovered that a much older building, possibly of Elizabethan origin had been incorporated into the house.  An almost complete timbered shell of a wooden building, felt at the time to be of no later that the 17th century had been subsequently walled in and "hidden".
Parker's Burslem Brewery's new hotel, a neo-Georgian style edifice designed by Longden and Venables of London, was opened in June 1929.
In 1958, there were major alterations including an impressive new banqueting hall with accommodation for more than 200 diners and dancers.  The nearly Leopard Hotel had ceased to be residential a year before, and so the George keenly anticipated an increase in
custom.
The hostelry was styled the "Dragon Hotel" in the novels of Arnold Bennett.  Another claim to fame is that the Hollywood star Sigourney Weaver stayed at the hotel when she attended a conference on autism at Vale Park early in 2005.








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