BONDGATE WITHIN 1. 5330 (North Side) Nos 18 and 20 (The White Swan Hotel) NU 1813 SE 1/148 II GV Former coaching inn and still the principal hotel, Included for group value and Listed because of its interior. Mid-late C19 front. Two storeys and attic. Ten windows. Ashlar built, stringy over ground floor, cill string to 1st floor, moulded eaves cornice. Slate roof with 3 chimneys. Five pedimented and scroll sided dormers and 4 circular dormer windows. Late glazed sash windows with moulded architraves and cill brackets The 3 left band ground floor bays break forward slightly with channelled rustication: an arcade of 3 bays; central entrance, with stone balcony over, to garage flanked by arcaded fanlight headed windows. Fourth bay from right also breaks forward slightly on ground floor with channelled masonry and an arch headed main entrance with a stone balcony annexe. The interior has the remarkable 'Olympic Room' at the back salvaged from the sister ship of the Titanic which was broken up at Jarrow in 1935. 59x63 ft and 12 ft 3 ins high in the Louis XV style the details being taken from the Palace of Versailles" Three and a half bays with a bay window to north and to east; 3 aisles. Large ornamental fireplace on west wall with richly carved frame to mirror above. Panelled walls with carved festoons particularly at doorway.
In 1822 Davison wrote: "the White Swan was "the principal inn ... at which the mail and union coaches stop, and all the posting on the Great North Road.
When the mail service was first introduced between Edinburgh and London it took two days and three nights to cover the distance. It was possible for someone to cover the journey in that time, but it was considered dangerous. This is Lord Campbell, writing of a journey from Edinburgh to London in 1788: "But this speed was thought to be highly dangerous to the head, independently of all the perils of anoverturn,and storieswere told of men and women,who,havingreached London with such celerity, died suddenlyof an affectionof the brain.My family and friends were seriously alarmed for me, and advised me at all events to stay a day at York to recruit myself".
By introducing shorter stages the journey became even more speedy, and by 1832 a letter could leave London at 8:00 pm, take 24 hours to reach Northallerton the following evening, then arrive in Alnwick at 5:00 am the next morning, then Edinburgh by 2:23 in the afternoon.
Tate: Another old house of this period, only recently destroyed to enlarge tlie White Swan Inn, stood on the north side of Bondgute, not fiir from the tower ; possessing the characters of a pele of the border land, it must have been one of the most important houses in the town. Two stories it had, with Avails of immense thickness, the under storey being vaulted with stone, and the entrance being by a low door-way with a pointed arch; long narrow openings passed diagonally through the thick walls, more like loop holes through which to annoy an enemy than windows to admit light; but larger mullioned windows were in the upper storey. Some important personage lived in this pele house in the days of yore — some warrior perhaps, ready to defend himself and the town against Scot- tish foes.