At the Sign of the White Hart

Some interesting family history research by Margaret West and a family connection, Toban Wild in Australia, has inspired me to put something down about the history of the White Hart.

The sign of the most recent White Hart

The sign of the most recent White Hart

There have been two inns in High Street known by the name of the White Hart. The first one was located in lower High Street near the Quay, although I have not been able to pin down the precise location. The earliest references to it that I have found date from the late 17th century when it was owned by Mrs. Mary Pitman (one of several female inn-holders in the town at the time). In 1735, Mary Franklin inherited the ‘messuage or tenement called or known by the name of the White Hart near the Quay in Poole’, occupied by John Churchill, from her grandmother, Mary Pitman. She also inherited another tenement ‘house, stable, backside, garden and lands . . . situate in the High Street . . near the said White Hart there’, most of which was occupied by Mary Stone. The rents and profits of the premises were to be used for Mary’s maintenance and education until she was 21.

In the middle of the 18th century, a church rate listing shows the White Hart perhaps at No. 3 High Street or nearby, surrounded by the yards and workshops of shipwrights, block-makers and sail-makers, which probably provided the inn with most of its regular customers. Unfortunately, the list does not indicate who owned or occupied the inn at the time. By 1763, the premises is listed as the ‘White Hart Cellars’ and was possibly being used as a store. By the end of the 18th century, references to it seem to cease.

No White Hart is listed in directories up to 1834 (as far as I can trace) but in Robson’s 1839 directory there is an entry for Sarah Hunn at the White Hart commercial inn, High Street.  This would tally with an advertisement in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal in October 1838 which suggests that the inn was newly built:


SARAH HUNN respectfully informs her Friends and the Public in general, that she has taken and entered the above INN (which has been built at considerable expense), where she hopes, by strict attention to Business, combined with moderate charges, to merit a share of patronage and support. S. H. takes this opportunity of returning her sincere thanks for the many favours so liberally bestowed on her whilst living at the Angel Inn, and assures her Friends, that nothing shall be wanting on her part to ensure a continuance of the same.

N. B. – Well-aired Beds and good Stabling.

White Hart advertisement 1906

White Hart advertisement 1906

The opening was celebrated with a dinner when, according to the Hampshire Chronicle ‘about thirty gentlemen sat down to an excellent dinner, served up in Mrs Hunn’s usual good style; the wines, in particular, gave great satisfaction. The song and glass went merrily round, and the party did not break up until a late hour, being highly pleased with the attention paid them.’ This second White Hart was on a different site, the present No. 133 on the corner of Globe Lane. On the other side of the lane was the Globe Inn and the two inns seemed to have co-existed quite happily for decades as near neighbours.

Sarah Hunn did not stay long at the inn which was advertised to let in 1841. It was subsequently taken over by Henry Brown and then Richard Hoskins who ran it from around 1850 until 1872 when he died and his son Joseph took over. After this, it passed through several hands and according to Andrew Hawkes’s book A Pint of Good Poole Ale, was sold to John Groves’ brewery in 1895.

The site today

The site today

In the early 20th century the lower floor was given a new façade in green and white tiles by the Poole Architectural Pottery with a model of a white hart in a niche on the corner of the building. When the pub was eventually demolished in 1975, the tiled sign and some of the interior fittings, the bar, shelves and mirrors, were kept in the PooleMuseum collections. The site is now occupied by Halfords and the site of the Globe by Peacocks.


With thanks to family history research by Margaret West and Toban Wild

Other sources:  Hawkes, Andrew A Pint of Good Poole Ale / Census Returns / Directories / Salisbury and Winchester Journal / Hampshire Chronicle.


About Poole High Street Project

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2 Responses to At the Sign of the White Hart

  1. I remember the White Hart, the green tiles and the model but I wasn’t born until 1979 so pretty sure you have the date of the demolition wrong I’m afraid. Otherwise interesting blog though.

  2. Mark says:

    I have the white hart sign from the pub in my possession, willing to sell 😁

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