Memories of beer and fresh bread

A childhood treat
“As a child, we probably went out for lunch about twice a year, usually paid for by my grandparents. And we always went to the Clarence Hotel in North Street, probably because my step-grandfather used to take his business clients there occasionally. The hotel had a bar and a dining room and smelled of a peculiar mixture of beer and fresh bread. The menu was limited in the mid-1950’s, and we usually had soup, then roast lamb or roast chicken.

Tackling an ice cream!
Probably the threat of three courses and the lime juice and soda water which was my preferred tipple at that tender age meant that I usually felt a little unwell by the middle of the meal and had to ‘retire’ from the dining room for five minutes until I felt well enough to sit down again and tackle an ice-cream !

A kindly waiter
I recall one of the waiters in his white jacket and bow tie, a small man who seemed very old (probably only around sixty) who was very kind to us children. Perhaps only a few children ever made it through the hallowed portals in those days!”

Comments about this page

  • I currently work at the Clarence Cafe, and am very interested in finding out the history, especially pre 1900. If anyone has any hints, pop in or email me.

    By Jodie Coomber (09/07/2003)
  • Does anyone know whether a Thomas Baume, baker/confectioner worked at the Clarence Hotel between 1908 and 1930?

    By C Ring (23/09/2007)
  • I believe that the waiter you are talking about was the Head Waiter. I think his name was Cyril. I was also taken there as a small child on numerous occassions and remember it very fondly, especially the revolving door which I thought was very clever.

    By Jane Mudge (25/02/2008)
  • I used to work at the Clarence Hotel in North Street in 1970 and worked with Cyril the head waiter. I was only 15 at the time he got me to save all my tips and spend them on clothes evey 2 months. I loved working with him and especially the waitresses called Doris, Gladys, Rene.

    By David Patrick (20/07/2009)
  • Did you know the hotel was haunted at the rear?

    By David Patrick (10/06/2010)
  • I worked in the hotel 1969-70 in the kitchen as a comme chef. I remember the waitresses as I think they were there a long time. My mother, Doris, worked in the bar. The boss’ name was Rankin. If anyone would like to know more, please ask. 

    By Derek Evans (15/09/2011)
  • I know my Father worked there as a cook at that time, and I know so little about it, I would like to know more Derek, how do I get in touch?

    By Paul Hardy (22/06/2012)
  • I  worked at the Clarence in the ’60s for about 2 years as commis waiter. Cyril was the head waiter, I also remember Doris who worked on the bar with Jean. Doris always made me laugh, she had such a dry sense of humour and was always well dressed. I would take the drink orders from the dining room up to the bar hatch and Doris would dispense. I remember her hair was gold or silver – a funny lady. I remember all the waitresses and still see one Ann who worked there. The manager was Mr Cox who was married to a Danish lady and they had a dog named Max, who I used to take for a walk. Think I was there  from ’66 to 1970. A life time ago. 

    By Chris (15/02/2014)
  • I was an assistant to a commercial traveller called Mr Sweet who sold childrenswear. He used to take a stock room in the hotel to sell to the stockists in the area, this was in 1950s. He was very strict and if I had not laid the goods out to his satisfaction he would just come in and sweep the whole lot on to the floor and I had to start hours of work all over again! I forget the name of the head porter who did a lot of the heavy work for me handling the heavy boxes which arrived. He almost was an employee of our Company he was so helpful. I was only about 17 (am now 85) but they were generally happy days. 

    By John Sugden (17/08/2018)
  • Hi all, I have just found this thread…am attempting to find very old info on the Hotel. I am not having any luck on for the 1891 Census. I am specifically looking for any records that may exist on the Clarence and its staff but from the year 1891. Is anyone aware if any such records exist?? I am looking in particular for a Henry Glover who was employed as a porter – and resided at the hotel – he was definately employed/resided there in November 1891. I would be terribly grateful if someone could please help me in this matter – or at least point me in the direction of someone that could assist. Thank you so very much.

    By Rosanna-Angela (03/09/2020)
  • I too remember as a young boy ( 4 years old ).. must have been 1967/8 .. my father was a salesman and rented a suite as a show room to see buyers in .. had tressle tables with white tablecloths under which we hid whilst my father was seeing his customers.. remember the wooden revolving doors and the smell of old wood and alcohol.. and all the other salesmen selling their wares

    By Martyn Sinclair (05/08/2021)
  • My father John (Jackie) Hardy was head chef at the Clarence hotel in late 60s early 70s. He died in a car accident on his way home from work in January 1972. If anyone knows anyone who remembers him. I would love to hear from you.

    By Deborah Dean (11/09/2022)
  • Hi Deb, your dad Dean, was my boss when I worked in the kitchen, we got on well I was young and he helped me a lot. I heard he was killed in a car on his way home. He was a kind man, my mother was upset as she worked in the bar. Regards. Derek.

    By Derek evans (15/10/2022)
  • I mean Hardy,I got the name wrong.

    By Derek evans (16/10/2022)

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