163 High Street and the ‘North Eastern’ public house
William Bulmer was born in Great Ayton in 1793, the son of Jeffrey Bulmer, a stonemason. In 1824 he married Elizabeth Bowser and the couple moved to Stockton-on-Tees, where William set up a stone masonry business at 163 High Street.
By the time of the 1841 census, which describes William as a stone mason, he and Elizabeth had six children – William, Hannah, Mary, Jeffrey, Elizabeth and Esther Maria. The 1851 census describes William as a builder; a further two children, twin sons, George and John, are also recorded.
On the 1861 census, William is listed as a stonemason, employing 2 men and 3 boys. His sons, Jeffrey, George and John, are also listed as stonemasons. William was aged 67 at the time of the census and sometime after this date he changed his property at 163 High Street into a public house, The Cleveland Hotel. William died on 11 October 1868 and probate records describe him as an innkeeper. Elizabeth, his widow, assisted by her widowed daughter Hannah, continued to run the business until she died in 1872.
By the time of the 1881 census, the name of the pub had changed to the North Eastern Hotel and Peter Johnson was the innkeeper.In 1889 the site on the High Street was acquired by Robert H. Robinson, a publican originally from Middlesbrough. He demolished the old building and rebuilt the pub, as described in the Gazette of 27 November 1889:
“Mr R. H. Robinson, from Middlesbrough, has now got the North-Eastern Hotel, Stockton-on-Tees, in thorough working order. He did the best thing he could have done with the old property. He razed it to the ground, and built on the site, one of the best in the town, a very handsome hotel, fitted up with a semi-circular bar, a profusion of stained glass, cellars that are patterns of neatness, and smoke-rooms and other conveniences that would do credit to any hostelry in the kingdom”.
Robert Robinson and his family were living at the premises in 1891 but from 1894 onwards the North Eastern has had many changes of landlord. Apart from a brief period when it was known as the Mulberry Tree, the North Eastern Hotel continues to occupy a prominent place on the High Street.” Extract from the Caterer, published London, Nov 15th.
Stories from the High Street participant: Moira Murphy
The ‘Stories…’ project is part of the Council’s wider “Grants for Heritage Buildings’ programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Council, to help promote awareness and understanding of the town’s heritage.
Visit www.stockton.gov.uk/grantsforheritagebuildings for further information on the project.