Criterion Hotel, Westgate, Huddersfield

The Criterion Hotel, previously known as Newill's Hotel, was a hotel and restaurant situated on the corner of Westgate and John William Street. It is believed to have existed for just 20 years.

History

Originally known as Newill's Hotel, after the then licencee, James M. Newill, the first alcohol licence was reportedly granted in 1867 to a Mr. Burns.[1] In January 1870, Newill was awoken by the sound of bottles exploding and discovered a small fire in the spirits vault, believed to have been started by "a rat nibbling at a box of lucifer matches until they ignited." He was able to extinguish the fire using buckets of water. When he died in May 1873, his widow Elizabeth Newill took on the running of the hotel until her own death.

The next landlord was John Stringer who renamed it the Criterion Hotel and then extended into an adjoining property to create a restaurant. In September 1876, a case was heard as to whether or not the original alcohol licence was valid for the restaurant, as its public entrance was separate to the existing hotel entrance on Westgate.[2] In the end, the Bench compromised by allowing the existing licence to cover the restaurant on the strict proviso that alcohol never be served on a Sunday.

Licencee George Boothroyd (aged 44) died after taking a tumble down the cellar steps on Sunday 11 May 1884. He was found unconscious and, by the time Dr. Clarke was eventually summoned, had died.[3] According to a brief comment in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner in 1914[4], the hotel closed on 25 June 1887 which likely explains why it is not marked on the 1887 Insurance Plan of Huddersfield.

In recent decades, the building has continued to be used as a restaurant.

Licencees

n.b. dates are when the licence was transferred

  • 1867 — Mr. Burns
  • 07/Jul/1868 — James M. Newill[5]
  • 04/Mar/1874 — John Stringer
  •  ? — Charles Porter
  • 03/Aug/1881 — Louis Kilkenny
  • 10/Oct/1883 — George Boothroyd
  • 02/Jul/1884 — Samuel Wilson

Location

Although not marked as a hotel on any available maps, newspaper articles named the hotel and restaurant as being on the corner of Westgate and John William Street[6] and the location is confirmed in the archive photograph shown above.

Notes and References

  1. Newill's ancestors may also have been inn landlords, as a Thomas Newill is listed in the Huddersfield Alehouse Licences of 1778.
  2. Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Sep/1876). The case described the original hotel as comprising "parts or portions of Hesp's Buildings in Westgate and John William Street".
  3. "Shocking Fatal Accident to a Huddersfield Innkeeper" in Huddersfield Chronicle (17/May/1884). The jury expressed surprise that the doctor had not been called straight away, but those who found George in the cellar assumed he had simply knocked himself out and would eventually recover.
  4. "Answers to Correspondents" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (07/Dec/1914).
  5. Reportedly died 9 May 1873, after which it is believed his widow Elizabeth ran the hotel for several months until her own death.
  6. "Scraps and Hints" in Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Sep/1876) and "Important Case Under the Licensing Act, 1872" in Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Sep/1876).

Criterion Hotel, Westgate, Huddersfield

Categories

Buildings | Public houses, beerhouses, inns, etc.
This page was last modified on 18 December 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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