Blacksmiths Arms

The Blacksmith’s Arms was located in North Street – next to Bowling Green Hotel. It was demolished to widen the “Great North Road” in 1929, and the Garden of Rest was created.

The Blacksmith’s Arms location (green) in 1824
Demolishing the Blacksmith’s Arms to widen the Great North Road in 1929 @copyright Wetherby Historical Society

The Wetherby Brewery was sold on Friday 25th May 1855 and several public houses were included in the sale. Lot 7, in the catalogue was –

The BLACKSMITH’S ARMS PUBLIC HOUSE, with Workshop, Stable and yard, in North Street, , in the Occupation of James Mason. Frontage 58 Feet. Area about 412 Square yards.

‘The license was transferred to The Cross Pipes in Westgate when the pub was demolished in the late 1929.’

In the Wetherby Almanac the following is an extract concerning public houses –

“The then Blacksmith’s Arms was Mr. Mason’s blacksmiths shop in North Street, and the present Blacksmith’s Arms was called the Cross Pipes.”

The History of Wetherby by James Henry Clay 1941 mentions –

‘Immediately beyond the Bank was a small open space or recess of 10 or 12 feet, in which at one time Mr. Ramsden Littlewood had his photographic studio. …. The next building was Mrs. Mason’s house and blacksmiths shop, in far distant days a public-house known as the Blacksmith’s Arms. These premises jutted out into the roadway for some twelve or fifteen feet from the site line of the Bank, and the road became very narrow, but the whole of this property up to Bank Street, was demolished for road widening purposes in the late ’twenties. It is not generally known that over the blacksmiths shop was a room with a floor space just about equal to that of the large room in the Town Hall.’

Mr. Hick’s house was then the “Blacksmith Arms,” kept by Mrs. Margerison and successively by Mr. R. Chambers and the late Mr. John Bee, a relative of Harry Bowman. At that time there was no public access to the river, though one boat was kept by Mrs. Margerison, and one by a resident in Wentworth Terrace.

In 1856, William Brown from Leicestershire returned from Van Diemen’s Land after a ten-year transportation sentence. A few weeks after he arrived home he was on the run for committing double murder in Melton Mowbray. Whilst on the run he stayed at the Blacksmiths Arms in Wetherby. William also attended the Primative Methodist church in Wetherby. On 22 June 1856, William was arrested by two of the parish constables, William Eccles and Henry Crossley. William was sentenced to death and was the last man to be hung publicly in Leicestershire.

Mr. Hick’s house Westgate demolished to create the entrance to the Council Offices @copyright Wetherby Historical Society

In Wetherby – The History of a Yorkshire Market Town Robert Unwin states, on page 102 –

‘By 1861 a number of innkeepers combined their principal means of livelihood with other activities: agricultural machinist (Blacksmiths Arms); carrier (Crown); wheelwright (Fox); wine and spirit dealer (Red Lion); farmer (White Hart); blacksmith (White Horse). The total number of inns in Wetherby remained almost unchanged; sixteen in 1837; fifteen in 1861.’