Photo of Great White Horse

grid reference TM 164 446

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listed building grade II*

CAMRA Ipswich & East Suffolk branch.

last updated 25/01/2020

Ipswich Great White Horse

also traded as as: Tavern, White Horse

historical closure era: 21st century

opened 1518

closed 2008

43 Tavern St, IP1 3AH

Overview | Gallery | Historical info | Public transport | Map

Originally opened in 1518, the Great White Horse started out as "the Tavern", whence Tavern Street gets its name. It's understood that the Tavern existed back at the time of the Commonwealth (circa 1660).

By the 19th century the inn was effectively a "terminus" for many coaches to London, Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

Admiral Lord Nelson stayed here overnight in November 1800 with Lord & Lady Hamilton. His reception was tremendous (after the battle of the Nile) and reportedly the "enthusiastic citizens unharnessed the horses from their carriage and drew it through cheering crowds to the end of St Mathews St." Earlier in the day he had taken the opportunity to visit "Roundwood" a house his wife had purchased for him in north east Ipswich - but sadly he subsequently never lived there.

Charles Dickens also famously stayed at the hotel when he was working as a young reporter, covering a by-election in Sudbury and was appalled by local dubious vote buying practices then employed. His experiences (of 1835) soon provided him with the inspiration for Eatenswill in his first book, Pickwick Papers. It also caused him to be threatened with libel action by the hotel's then proprietor William Brooks.

Other eminent visitors have included George II and Louis XVIII of France.

The current white brick & stone faced building replaced an earlier (16th/17th century) timber fronted hotel and posting house in the early 19th century (between about 1815-18) when the road was being widened.

The building has been mostly disused in recent years, with shop units taking up the ground floor areas to the first.In 2018 some of the building annex was incorporated in a new hotel being built to rear.

It's shown (though not named) on this old OS map from about the end of the 19th century. larger map

old OS map

(Most pub, location & historic details collated by Nigel, Tony or Keith - original sources are credited)

(some detailed information from Old inns of Suffolk by Leonard P Thompson)

(information from Dudley Diaper)

(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)

(*** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)

Old OS map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.