Local History Updates May 2013

The group continue to research the building that was the Inn of Old Seaham in 1808.We looked at the 1784 map of the village and tried to assess how much we know of other inns, and how relevant it would be to ours. We wondered what newspaper the grandfather would have access to. Would other people come and drink at the inn because they brewed, or was it mostly for private use?

We considered building materials and styles, and since we may never know, we made reasoned judgements about the walls and window styles. We know that the walls of the parlour were green, so we consulted Farrow and Ball and feel that their Olive Green is probably the most likely shade. The names of the paints are fascinating; Elephant’s Breath, Churlish Green, Dead Salmon , Cat’s paw, to name but a few. It was interesting to note that if you wanted India Yellow in 1808 you would need a herd of cows and feed them on mango leaves before you collected their urine to reduce down, and despite it being extremely toxic, white lead is still used on some National Trust houses.

We read about Bessie the daughter of the mistress of the inn and her seasonal “adoption” by Lady Milbanke, as a companion for her daughter Annabella. We wondered whether Bessie could be related to the Bessie of “Bessies Hole”. Any local knowledge would be gratefully received by the group.

Carol

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