Echoes of the past: Rich history of the Old White Bear Inn

The Old White Bear Inn in Norwood Green
The Old White Bear Inn in Norwood Green

Looking at this old photograph of the Old White Bear Inn in Norwood Green.

It is difficult to imagine it as the present day Old White Beare pub and restaurant but yes they are the same place.

As with many villages Norwood Green has had a number of public houses, ale-houses or beer- houses. Changing times through legislation and drinking habits the number of drinking establishments nationally has gone down and the numbers continue to go down each year.

It is sad that this is happening in smaller communities with village pubs closing in greater numbers across the UK.

In Norwood Green where there is now just the two pubs, the Pear Tree in Station Road being the other remaining one. The village could boast having had four in days gone by.

The Old White Beare derives its name from a ship which was part of the English fleet and was built to be just one of the ships to take on the might Spanish Armada.

It was a 40 gun ship launched in 1564 and weighed in at 900 tons and carried 350 mariners, 30 gunners and 120 soldiers.

In 1585 following some repairs it was re-commissioned under Lord Howard of Effingham and three years later saw action again the Armada. In 1599 following further extensive work it was rebuilt as a 57 gun royal ship.

The White Bear was in service until 1627 when after 63 years it was deemed as being unfit for further duties and was sold in Rochester on the 12 June 1629. Once sold it was dismantled and some of its timbers were re-sold and then used to help re-build a burnt out alehouse on an old packhorse route. This old packhorse track ran through a community called North Wood Green, as Norwood Green was then known.

The route was situated between Halifax and Leeds and today that route is Village Street .

The Old White Beare, as it has been spelt for many years, I don’t know when or who decided to add the ‘e’.

However, being in such a prominent position in the village it would have served the village customers well and would play an important part in the many celebrations both local and national ones enjoyed in the village.