In July 1843
Thomas Prentice opened the 'spacious premises' on the road
to Newcastle and formerly occupied by William Sparke . He named
it The Hexham Hotel.
He had laid in a stock of the most approved and genuine wines
spirits etc and provided good stabling. (1)
By June he
was advertising for couple to work as cook and waiter and
laundress and housemaid (2)
When Thomas Prentice died in
1848 John Slack Smith took over the Hotel and established a race
course at the rear of the premises. (4)
John Slack Smith
was granted a license for the Hexham Hotel in 1853, 854 and
historian W. J. Goold wrote of the Inns at Hexham.....
the little village of Hexham there were two Inns, John Smith's "Hexham
Inn" and John Hannell's "Wheat sheaf Arms"—each had a racecourse
adjoining the house, and races were held there on holidays for
prizes presented by "mine host." On these race days there was
great rivalry between the two proprietors to secure the
patronage of the sporting fraternity that came from Newcastle
and Maitland. (7)
In 1855 the following advertisement
was placed in the Maitland Mercury:
To be let the
well established Inn known as the Hexham Hotel, situated in the
thriving town of Hexham, daily becoming more populous. The high
road between Newcastle and the interior passes the door. The
Newcastle Railway runs through the lands of the inn and also Mr.
Eales' Railway, for the transit of coals from Minmi, passes
through the property to terminate at a wharf near to the inn.
The hotel is very commodious; contains six large rooms for the
reception of visitors, and four bed rooms; has detached kitchen,
stable, and out buildings, large paddock etc and will be let an
advantageous terms. For further particulars apply to Mr. A.
Dodds of East Maitland of to D. Carter, West Maitland.
James Bain was granted the license in 1856.
(1) Maitland Mercury 1
(2) Maitland Mercury 3 June1843
(3) The Voice of the
North - The Pioneers by W.J. Goold 11 January 1932