Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Further information on the Bull, and White Bear, Chelsham


The pub is in a quiet part of the countryside with Chelsham Common opposite it - which is useful for exercising Tina, the St Bernard dog who was resident at the Bull. She was a TV star as she appeared in several advertisments on the commercial programme.


Although it is so near suburbia, the White Bear is buried in the heart of the countryside at the end of the delightfully named "Featherbed Lane".

Once a row of cottages, this beautiful pub is long and rangy. It remains completely unspoilt with its stone-flagged floors and low ceilings in the three bars.

In the saloon stood one of the Parliament clocks in the country which is (in 1965. Ed.) still in working order. It dates from Pitt the Younger, who clapped a tax on clocks. Landlords of most hostelries promptly got rid of their clocks, which resulted in chaos as coaches never ran to time as nobody knew what hour it was. To counteract this, parliament had designed special clocks, which in those days were thought grotesque, and these were exempt from tax.

The Surrey & Burstow Hunt and the local Beagles meet at the inn once a year - the only thing that stopped them doing this has been fog (and now the recent Anti-hunting laws, Ed.)

(both extracted from "Surrey Pubs" by Richard Keeble. Batsford press. 1965. pps 24/25)

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