STARBECK NOSTALGIA by local historian Stephen Abbot

I AM indebted to Rob Sherwood and Nigel Burridge, both old friends, for this week's photograph which was taken on the Henry Peacock forecourt back in 1961.

At that time Rob’s father Arthur Sherwood was licensee and he can be seen sitting down third from the left beside his wife. Mr Sherwood was a well known and popular man around Starbeck up until his sad passing last year. On a further sad note I am told that of all the 39 people in the picture only four are still with us.

A community has many focal points of which it’s public houses are only one, and Starbeck is fortunate that both it’s High Street pubs have retained their traditional atmospheres despite the changing times and the demands of a modern commercial brewing industry.

As for the Henry Peacock, as we are all aware, at the time of the picture it was known as The Harrogate Hotel, a name which it lost during the early 1980s following the opening of what was then called the Harrogate International Hotel but is now better known as part of the Moat House chain.

The Harrogate Hotel opened in 1848, on the same day the railway station opened and for many years profited because of its close proximity to both the station and the Starbeck Spa.

The original stable block can still be seen today to the rear of the pub and this tells us that visitors on horseback were also catered for, though trade did take a downturn following the opening of the Harrogate central station in 1862.

One thing that did strike me when first looking at the picture is the high percentage of the regulars in the picture who are seen in suit and tie.

If the same picture was taken today I fear that the number so formally dressed would be far fewer.

What would you expect from a pub that bears the name of a town’s most infamous workhouse master?

Though a peculiar choice of name it has to be admitted that Henry Peacock had as many good as bad points and that during his time in Harrogate where he served as workhouse master, assistant overseer, and as an early improvement commissioner he did serve Harrogate to the best of his abilities during his time here.

Henry Peacock left Harrogate in the spring of 1850 to return to his native Richmond in the old North Riding where he died on December 1,1877 at the recorded age of 95.

As a sad final twist to his tale his place of death is recorded as Richmond workhouse.

sabbottstarbeck@aol.com