The Lion Hotel, Clumber-Street
THE Lion Hotel in Clumber-street, Nottingham, was better known to our forefathers as the "White Lion Inn," and seems to have been established in 1684, a year before King James II. came to the throne.
Although not quite so aristocratic in its associations as the old Blackamoor’s Head it was in the first flight of coaching inns, and was the stopping place of many coaches during the palmy days of coaching in the first half of the Nineteenth Century.
In 1779 it housed the Duke of Cumberland, brother of King George III., when he came to Nottingham to receive the freedom of the town, and a few years later, in 1799, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stratford, was seized with his fatal illness within its walls.
But perhaps the chief interest of this old inn rests upon its fame as a sporting rendezvous.
It was frequented by the local nobility and gentry, and at one particular meeting held within its walls in 1776 it was decided to erect a grand stand by the side of the racecourse on the Forest, and no less a sum than £2,460 was subscribed before the meeting broke up.
Cock-fighting, however, was the most attractive sport of the period, and the " White Lion ‘‘ catered very extensively for it. In 1763 a great match was arranged between the cocks of Nottingham and those of London, but it had to be abandoned in consequence of the poisoning of certain of the combatants, a tragedy which led to the establishment of the once well-known " Society for the Protection of Fighting Cocks."
There are many features of interest in and about the old inn, and under it are certain rock cellars, one of which is shown as " the cockpit."
It probably was made for a beer cellar, but it is possible that cocks may have been walked in it for safety. It is unlikely that any fighting would take place in so dark and restricted an apartment.