George Mitchell (c.1801-1856)

George Mitchell was an innkeeper who was described by the Huddersfield Chronicle as "a publican and a sinner".


He was born in Huddersfield circa 1801.

He married Elizabeth Kershaw on 26 November 1823 and they had six known children:

  • Christiana Mitchell (1823-1847)[1]
  • Ann Mitchell (c.1826-?)
  • John Mitchell (1828-1879?)[2]
  • George Mitchell (1830-1847)[3]
  • Eliza Mary Mitchell (1833-1849)[4]
  • Henry Mitchell (c.1840-?)[5]

Prior to becoming an innkeeper, he worked as a cloth dresser.[6]

At the time of the 1841 Census, the family was living on Temple Street, Huddersfield, which was situated at the upper end of Westgate.

According to an article published in the Leeds Intelligencer in 1844, he was the landlord of the Druid's Arms Inn ("demolished for the new road") until at least 1836[7] and then the Druid's Hotel (described as being "Mr. Mitchell's new house" in April 1837).[8] These were both likely locations used for meetings of the local Ancient Order of Druids (Lodge 352), of which he was a member. The Druids continued to at the inns subsequently run by Mitchell.[9]

By August 1844, he had become the innkeeper of the Grey Hound Inn on Market Walk and remained there until circa 1851/2.[10] By March 1852, he was the landlord of the Greyhound Inn on Manchester Road.

In August 1852, the Huddersfield Chronicle reported:[11]

On Thursday morning, Mr. Mitchell, of the Greyhound Inn, Manchester Road, was astonished to discover a hot-bed in the garden belonging to the house covered with fine mushrooms. The plants are thickly spread over the bed, and have grown in clusters of from ten to twenty in each. This somewhat novel growth has excited quite a sensation in the immediate neighbourhood, and during the day the plants were visited by great numbers of Mr. Mitchell's friends.

In April 1854, he was fined 5 shillings plus expenses for "having, on the 14th instant (Good Friday), his house open for the sale of intoxicating drinks."[12]

The licence of the Greyhound Inn was temporarily transferred to Martha Sykes in August 1854[13] before being returned to Mitchell in March 1856.[14]

George Mitchell died at the start of November 1856. Upon hearing of the death, Richard Oastler wrote to Elizabeth:

South Hill Cottage, Guildford, Nov. 4th, 1856.

Dear Mrs. Mitchell,

I did not expect, when I last spent such a very pleasant afternoon with you and your dear husband, that I should not again on earth meet my good, faithful, and warm-hearted friend, George Mitchell. This day our friend John Leech has told me that you are a widow — that I have lost a true and much valued friend. John tells me that even in death George kindly remembered his "old king." Death is at all times a solemn monitor. The death of a dear friend calls loudly on survivors — the death of a husband cannot surely call in vain. Be ready! May that voice be listened to by you, by me, by all bis surviving friends. This is a moment when many words would be offensive ; but I know that even now, at George’s grave, you will kindly permit me to say, I sincerely sympathise with you, and earnestly pray that He who is the husband of the widow, may throw around you His strong arm, and be your comfort and protection! Remember! In trouble He is very near waiting to be gracious! Ever more ready to hear than we to pray! Never nearer His people than when they are in trouble! This stroke is not of chance! He who has called our friend, your husband, out of this transitory state, has removed him at the best time. Were we as wise and good as He, we should say: It is well — Thy will be done! Accept these few lines from one whom your husband loved, as a token of my love to him and to you ; and believe me to be, dear Mrs. Mitchell, your sincere sympathising friend,

Richard Oastler

The Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Nov/1856) contained the following:

Death of Mr. George Mitchell. — During the week one of the "characters" of Huddersfield has been called away to his long home — one who has occupied a space in the public eye for a considerable period as "a publican and a sinner," though, so far as the last was concerned, we are sure all who knew him will hold with us that his sinning was as harmless as fun could possibly be. As landlord of the Druids Hotel, then of the Greyhound in the Market Walk, and latterly of the Greyhound in the Manchester Road, George Mitchell became intimately known to a large circle of friends, who highly appreciated his somewhat rough but hearty manner, and his generous disposition. For now some months he has been ailing — the once robust man evidently sinking gradually into the grave, until at length death has put a period to his sufferings.

The licence of the Manchester Road Greyhound Inn was then transferred to Elizabeth Mitchell[15], but she apparently decided shortly afterwards to move in with her son John who was residing on John William Street. The licence was then transferred to Isaac Hammond (formerly of the Prince Albert beerhouse on Cross Church Street) at the start of 1857.

Elizabeth Mitchell most likely died aged 72 on 1 December 1875 and was buried on 4 December at Huddersfield Parish Church.

Further Reading

Notes and References

  1. Born 23 December 1823 and baptised 18 April 1824 at Huddersfield Parish Church.Married 11 December 1844 to woolsorter Hiram Burley at Huddersfield Parish Church. Died 5 December 1847 and buried 8 December at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  2. Baptised 18 May 1828 at Huddersfield Parish Church. Married Agnes. Worked as a joiner (1851 Census). Possibly died 1879 aged 52.
  3. Baptised 5 December 1830 at Huddersfield Parish Church. Died October 1847 aged 17 and buried 27 October at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  4. Baptised 19 May 1833 at Huddersfield Parish Church. Died August 1849 aged 16 and buried 12 August at Huddersfield Parish Church.
  5. Baptised 1 January 1841 at Huddersfield Parish Church. Worked as a woolsorter. Married 8 October 1870 Sarah Southall at Holy Trinity Church, Highfields.
  6. Occupation given on baptismal record for sons John in 1828 and George in 1830, and daughter Eliza Mary in 1833.
  7. "Huddersfield" in Leeds Times (12/Mar/1836). According to contemporary newspaper reports, Richard Oastler reportedly gave a speech to nearly 10,000 people(!) in front of the Druid's Arms Inn in June 1837.
  8. "Huddersfield" in Leeds Intelligencer (08/Apr/1837) and "Huddersfield Brewster Sessions" in Leeds Intelligencer (31/Aug/1844).
  9. "Druid's Funeral" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Jan/1851).
  10. The Leeds Times (29/Jun/1844) reported that Benjamin Ainley had taken over the licence of the Druid's Hotel in 1844.
  11. "Crop of Mushrooms" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Aug/1852).
  12. "Huddersfield Police Court" in Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Apr/1854).
  13. "License Transfers" in Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Aug/1854).
  14. "Transfer of License" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Mar/1856).
  15. Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (15/Nov/1856).