MAKING HISTORY: The Old Well Inn used to be called the Railway Hotel. The landlords hope to put up a blue plaque
MAKING HISTORY: The Old Well Inn used to be called the Railway Hotel. The landlords hope to put up a blue plaque

LANDLORDS of a historic Barnard Castle pub who want to erect a blue plaque have failed to win the official backing of the town council, although members have offered their “support and encouragement”.

Roy and Rima Chatterjee, of the Old Well Inn, wrote to Barnard Castle Town Council to ask for permission to put up a blue plaque recording a 19th century mutiny.

The town council is responsible for the blue plaque scheme and over the years has erected a number of them across the town, such as one in Galgate celebrating the Victorian photographer Elijah Yeoman.

However, at the resources committee meeting last week, town clerk Michael King said the suggested wording could be a sticking point.

He said: “It’s quite a lot of words. It would be in intent and style quite different to other plaques in the town that are part of the town trail.”

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Mr King suggested the couple seek out guidance published by English Heritage. He added there was “nothing to stop” the Chatterjees from putting up the plaque themselves, providing advertising consent was granted by Durham County Council. However, he said the wording might be queried by conservation officers as it was “more expansive than normal”.

Cllr John Blissett joked: “Rather than a blue plaque, they need a blue wall.”

The proposed wording was as follows: “The Old Well Inn was known as The Railway Hotel. In circa 1877, when it was being used as a billet, the soldiers of the Durham Fusilier Militia who were initially delighted to know they were being put up in a hotel, on seeing the accommodation, revolted. The landlord was charged under the Mutiny Act for providing unfit conditions. The Old Well In has come a long way and has no risk of mutiny now!

The town council agreed to give its support and encouragement, with mayor Cllr Sandra Moorhouse adding that it was a “fabulous” story to share with visitors.

The meeting heard that there are a number of other unofficial blue plaques in the town – these include the Teesdale Mercury’s plaque which celebrates the long history of the paper.