The Royal White Horse Hotel at 2 Manor Square, was built in 1865 on the site of an earlier pub (part of which still remains) and at one time had stabling for around 60/80 horses. Was stated to be the only Posting House in Otley.
Was originally known as the “White Horse Hotel” until 1876 when the Duke of Connaught stayed there whilst being on manoevres in the district with his regiment, the 7th Hussars. The name was then prefixed by “Royal” to celebrate the event. Also, the room he stayed in became known as “Prince Arthur Room” which is the room on the right of the balcony. From the balcony, public and national proclamations have been issued, in addition to various election results. The Hotel was used for many events, but one in particular was an inquest relating to John Dawson being stabbed to death in Piper Lane, Otley. The jury declared a verdict of wilful murder against four men – all from Wakefield.
When looking at the property from the rear of building, it can be seen that the front and rear were built in two different periods. Only the front of this older inn was pulled down in 1865 when the new building was added to the front, and also built on to the south gable end in Beech Hill.
There have been many landlords who came and went over the years, but one of the shortest tenancies must have been that of Mr. George William Fotherby who had only run the hotel for 18 months when he died in October 1925.
Unfortunately, on the 28th September 1973, the hotel closed its doors to the public for the last time, ending an era which stretched back something like two centuries. It was to be converted into bank and office premises. The last licensee was Mrs. Kathleen (Kay) Smith, who had been at the hotel for five years, and who was given a farewell presentation of a table lighter by Otley Rotary Club who had used the hotel (like many other Clubs and Societies) as headquarters for many years.
Over the years it played an important part in the business and social life of the town.
In 2012 it is occupied by Barclays Bank. Now closed circa 2018 (?)
Here’s a lovely memory from Colin Tasker of Otley (4/4/22):