A Guided Tour..
(Please note: This section - not unlike the website owner - is currently awaiting a complete makeover, on account that it is out of date, as are the images. The upstairs and the loo's, have undergone a complete refurbishment - and are rite posh!)
Welcome to the guided tour section where you can browse Nellies from your armchair. Some people find that especially on their first visits they get lost - much to the amusement of the regulars.
Quite typically, every evening the will be a number of people asking for directions to the toilets, the way out, or even the bar! New visitors having arranged to meet with friends at the pub can find it quite disconcerting when on arrival they realise that they may have to explore a warren of rooms and corridors. This whilst hoping that their friend are not also doing the same - in the opposite direction!
So if you are somewhat unfamiliar before a visit, here's your opportunity to do some brief preparation. As a good majority of people enter the pub from the back door, i.e. from the car park or bus station, we'll start here.
The White Horse Inn - aka Nellies - chimneys,
were swept and looked after by Jethro
THE CAR PARK ENTRANCE
The car part entrance is just behind us, on the right-hand-side - and is accessible from 'New Walkergate'. Just behind us to the left, the car park continues and passes the secluded courtyard entrance. The car park is walled, with a pedestrian entrance (behind us) leading from the bus station.
As you look ahead - and to the right, you can see the old coaching entrance, consisting of large double doors - facing onto 'Hengate'. You will notice some tables and benches - surrounded by the beautiful aromas from flower boxes and hanging baskets (picture taken June-1999).
The doorway in the foreground, to the immediate left, is the 'Cellar' entrance - although it's actually at ground level ! We'll have a brief look in there in a moment, by accessing it from the inside door.
Notice the small windows at the top of the building, on our left - that area is strictly off limits - but we shall explore it later in the tour.
Now as we approach the back door, which is located just to the left of the two windows immediately in front of us, you can probably just make out the cobbled ground (actually stone 'blocks') beneath us.
Between here and the doorway - behind the outdoor tables and benches - you can just make out the Well (now gone).
THE CAR PARK ENTRANCE - progressing further towards the back door
Ah, there's the back door - and the Well (now gone). Yes the Well was original - but no longer in use. Although partially filled-in, it's still some 20ft down, and so has a locked gate over the top to stop those who may suffer temporary, alcohol-induced insanity, from leaving by the wrong exit!
A few years ago, 'regular' - Jonathan Linthwhaite - otherwise known as 'Johnny Windows', braved some time down the Well (now gone) - all in the good aid of charity! If I remember right, it was at least 24 hours, but it must have seemed a lot longer. Now Johnny generously displays the physical signs of an enthusiastic appetite - making conditions below ground-level, somewhat cramped. Anyway, he stuck it out - despite the odd showering of 'spilt' alcohol.
Just a quick look in here. We've just entered and will leave by the door in front.
As we stand with our backs towards the wall (that we have just been stood on the other side of) you will notice that within this section we are facing the large oak barrels containing the Draft Bitters.
THE LINEN PRESS ROOM
For want of a better description, this small open room lies between the main corridor and the Scullery. Incidentally, it has been suggested that the large wooden Press, that we are facing at one end of this room, could well have been a Linen Press - as it has large wooden draws beneath, which could have been used for linen storage. Anyone any ideas?
Anyway the Press still works. On one occasion in the name of historical science, I tested the operation of the Press on the nearest item - yes, my head! I had decided to conduct this experiment following another experiment associated with evaluating the residual effect of 'Old Brewery Bitter' on the brain - on an empty stomach. Conclusion: a pre-hangover headache - especially if you're not sure which way to turn the handle to release the pressure !!!
THE POOL ROOM
Here we are, at the far end of the pool room, standing near the patio doors - leading to the secluded courtyard. Although not an original part of the Inn, this room has been quite tastefully designed, and does not pretend to be a copy of any other part of the building. This room, with its opened apex ceiling, houses two pool tables, a jukebox and pin-ball machine. All of this is more of an annex, and shouldn't detract from the uniqueness of the rest of the Pub. This is - at the end of the day - a real and operational Pub, with real people (well maybe a few exceptions there!), and not a museum.
This room is the base, and practice area ('practice' being the operative word) of the Nellie's Pool Teams. The A-Team, for which I've been a member for some years, and now the last few years - Team Captain - has been exceptionally popular with most other teams in the 'Beverley Pool League'. This was mainly due to the fact that although most games were a close result, the other team usually won! However things have changed a little bit recently.
THE SECLUDED COURTYARD
As we stand with our back towards the Southwest corner of the courtyard, facing the patio doors of the Pool Room, you can clearly see that again there are a number of tables and benches - which make this area, weather permitting -an enjoyable area to relax amongst friends.
The entire area is walled in, with an entrance from the car park via a couple of steps - beyond the small wall on the right. On a quiet summers evening, the relaxing background chatter is only interrupted by the bells of St Mary's - which is only a couple of hundred yards away.
THE SMALL CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE 'SLIDING DOOR ROOM'
Heading from the Pool Room door back into the pub, and heading in a straight line through the next doorway will take you back through The Scullery, then trough the next doorway - turning right into a small corridor section.
A small but interesting little area. In front we have the doorway leading into the main corridor, with the Bar to the right, and front door to the left.
To our immediate left is the 'Sliding Door Room' - more on that in a moment. On our right is a small wooden topped table, on a cast iron base, which has a horizontal-swivel top - which reveals a set of wooden rollers - ouch!
Just out of view, immediately to our right, is the Scullery entrance, and all around are old cupboards built into the walls.
It's worth mentioning that on the wall - immediately to our right - is a large, glass-fronted frame - enclosing a large selection of receipts and invoices of local business, dating back to the turn of the century. A further selection is on display in the corridor leading to the family room.
Myself and a number of friends now refer to this small room as 'The Office'. It's here we'll often assemble to put the world to rights.
'THE SLIDING DOOR ROOM'
As we enter this room via the sliding door (which is usually already open) you are faced with a large round table - with a gaslight over the center. To the right is fitted in an 'L' shape, is the high-back bench seats. To the left, is the open range which usually has a coal fire burning during colder weather.
The window opposite, looks onto Hengate. Hengate usually has traffic queuing at the traffic lights outside, so it is quite typical to see drivers looking in through the windows with some envy at the occupants enjoying the comfort, warmth and beverages.
Having walked over to the other side - and turning back to look from the window - the 'round table now is more visible in the foreground. The range to the right is not lit as this tour takes place during summer. However, during winter we shall see the place with open fires and happy folk etc.., etc.
Looking forward over the red and black tiled floor, we can see the doorway from whence we came.
OUTSIDE 'THE SLIDING DOOR ROOM'
A view from outside 'The Sliding Door Room'. Immediately beyond the doorway to the left is the front door (from Hengate). To the right - the Bar, Toilets and back door. As you enter the corridor, directly opposite, immediately to your left is the 'No Smoking Room'. Continuing down the corridor -leads to the 'family Room'.
THE EX 'NO-SMOKING' ROOM
This room (which also faces onto Hengate) is pictured a couple of days prior to the replacement hand-made gaslights being installed. This room had relied on candles for quite a number of years (visible above the fireplace) although originally had the gaslights. As we stand with our back to the window - looking towards the left corner - we can see the small fireplace with traditional mirror above, and to the left an ornate mirror surround.
Incidentally, as you might have guessed - this is the one public room within Nellie's that is reserved as a non-tobacco participation room!
THE FAMILY ROOM
Having entered through the doorway visible to the left, we are now facing towards the main fireplace, with the windows overlooking Hengate to our right. In the right-hand corner is one of two piano's (the other being in the function room - upstairs).
The piano is quite often played - preferably by someone who can - adding to the overall ambience. Only just visible between the door and the fireplace, is an old wine cooling chest.
Now let's head into the main bar area....
THE MAIN BAR AREA
Heading out of the 'Family Room', or 'Dart Room' as some of the staff still know it, and heading through the door opposite the main window, takes you into the Main Bar Area. During most days and evenings this is the one source of sale. However on certain occasions, or by private booking, a small bar is available for exclusive use along with the upstairs function room.
The main bar, where all food and drink is purchased, is off-limits to all children. Of course it is essential for the good of all patrons that children, dogs and ferrets are kept under supervision at all times.
The main bar itself was only installed with the take-over by the Samuel Smiths Brewery in 1976. Prior to this, sales where dispatched from a tables located in the same area. Glasses where hand-washed and hand dried with white cotton towels.
Today the main bar area has a large water-sealed, extendable, 4-lamp gas chandelier and a smaller individual gas wall light opposite the bar above a small second fireplace, next to the wall clock. Incidentally, the short-cased wall clock in the corner, behind the entrance door is well known for chiming at unusual times, and the wrong amount of chimes!
The main bar's seating is primarily of the padded bench variety around the perimeter. Marble topped, iron tables are here also. Above each fireplace is a mirror. The main fireplace mirror is large and has quite an ornate wooden surround. At the top of the surround there has been a carving, only obvious by its absence. Rumour has it that during the Second World War, RAF pilots stationed at nearby RAF Leconfield, had one evening broken off the wooden eagles head at the top of the mirror, then throwing it on to the blazing fire beneath. The eagles head at that time was a bit too close to the oppositions symbolisms!
LET'S GO UPSTAIRS!
On the first floor, above the Beer Cellar and Kitchen is the Function Room. This room is also lit entirely by gas chandeliers and wall-lights. The only exception to this is if someone books a band or disco, when to their relief an electric supply is available for modern colored lighting (what ever that is!).
The first floor function room is accessible by a staircase from the main corridor, and adjacent to the back door. At the top of the staircase is another short corridor, with the main function room entrance behind directly opposite. A further staircase heads up of this corridor to a locked trap-door access to the 'off-limits', unoccupied third floor. But don't worry, we'll go and have a look up there in a moment.
As you enter the function room, you are entering a third of the way into it with an area and small bar area behind. Immediately ahead lies the main extent of this room which is sash-windowed on the right-hand side, overlooking the courtyard entrance from the back door. At the far end of the room is a large open fire beneath a large mirror. During winter artists and performers have to be careful on not burning their rears on a lively coal fire behind then.
Adjacent left to the main fireplace is an old upright piano. The function room is regularly occupied with jazz bands, folk singers and poets. Full details can be found within the 'What's On' section.
NOW LET'S GO OFF LIMITS!
Heading out of the function room, back on to the 1st floor corridor we head towards the second staircase leading to the now disused 2nd floor. This area is usually off-limits, but we have permission and more importantly - a key!
The 2nd floor was originally a set of five individual public bedrooms of the Inn. This floor can no longer be used due to fire regulations, which would require a suitable public fire escape. In turn, the provision of a fire escape would probably infringe on the buildings conservation 'listed' status.
What remains on this top floor, are the walls doors and fireplaces, however most of the wooden floor boards have been removed, along with the ceiling. Treading carefully towards the only light source, daylight beaming through the dusting, cob-webbed windows, we can again peer down into the rear courtyard.
THE END - WELL SO FAR...
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