FOR a little mining town that once had an unquenchable thirst, there’s little wonder six pubs traded at the same time early last century. Today, sadly just one pub remains in West Wallsend. That insatiable thirst seems to have been quenched.
While the Museum Hotel’s taps were still pouring, we found the other, the Clyde Inn Hotel, a few doors from the West Wallsend Workers Club, had shut for business. The Clyde had closed in 2007. Originally opened in 1893, the pub was rebuilt in 1929.
Around the corner we found another reminder of thirstier days, the former Northumberland Hotel, ironically with a sign pinned to a power pole near its front door, warning any remaning thirsty locals that this corner was now an alcohol free zone!
The Northumberland opened in 1888, and closed in 1956 after its license was transfered to Belmont to allow the Belmont Hotel to open. The Newcastle Morning Herald reported on Friday February 16 1951:
New Hotel Licence For Belmont Transfer of the license of the Northumberland Hotel, West Wallsend, to modern premises to be built at Pacific Highway, Belmont, was approved by the Full Bench of the Licensing Court in Newcastle yesterday. It was stated that the cost of the new hotel would be about £140,000. With the Chairman (Mr. V. H. Wens) were Messrs S. J. Bliss and R. M. Stewart. Sergeant J. Milne appeared for the Licensing In-spector. Leonard Arthur Lownades, licensee of the Northumberland Hotel, West Wallsend, appeared for the transfer of the license. He said that the other two hotels could supply the needs of the town. The Belmont Hotel would be of two stories and would accomodadate 28 guests. The residential quarters would be seperate from the public and saloon bars. A beer garden to cater for more than 100 customers would be partly covered. The report of the licensing inspector showed that West Wallsend, with a population of about 2000, had four hotels. The transfer of the licence of one of these premises had been approved. At Belmont, where there was a population of 13,575, there was only one hotel. Police did not oppose the proposal.
Other pubs that have traded at Wallsend were the Tattersall’s from 1899 to 1921, and the Royal, which opened C1900 and closed in 1956.
With thanks to local pub historian, Ed Tonks and his book, Smelters’Haven to Artist’s Rest – The Hotels of Lake Macquarie.