Nestled in the heart of Frome, a warm welcome awaits you at The George Hotel. A well-situated and comfortable Hotel enjoying an excellent reputation for good food, excellent beer and fantastic coffee!
Located within easy reach of Longleat, Bath and the rolling Somerset countryside, they are the perfect base for any trip! The bar area and courtyard are dog friendly, so you can enjoy a relaxing drink after a long walk with your four-legged friend.
The George Hotel is part of the You’re Welcome scheme. This means that you are welcome to use their loos and refill your water bottle at this venue without needing to buy further offerings…
History of the George
The George dates back to at least 1650, and has been the centre of the social and business life of Frome for the past three and a half centuries. It is thought to have been named after St George, rather than a monarch, as it predates George the 1st. For most of its history the George hosted balls, dinners, lectures and other social events and was also used for official function.
In the late 18th century, magistrates used the inn as an office and courtroom, and the parish used it to entertain church dignitaries. The George was also a major coaching inn, with many horses stabled there. Because coaches carried mail the George, like many other pubs, also served as a post office. As it was located in an ideal position in the Market Place, the George served to issue proclamations and make announcements such as election results.
In 1813, plans were drawn up to remodel the building which would have produced a fine, elegantly proportioned building and stables worthy of a country house. These were designed by John Pinch, responsible for Babington House and various pieces of architecture in Bath such as Cavendish Place. While this remodelling never came to anything, the sketches survive in the Frome Museum.
Works began on the building of the assembly room in 1817, erected next to the George and with an upper room connected to it. It opened with a public dinner and became a venue for society balls, concerts and banquets. The lower floor was initially a meat market, but became a bank after 50 years or so.
One of the most notorious incidents in the history of the George is the riot of 1832. Sir Thomas Champneys of Orchardleigh, Tory candidate for MP, was allowed to use the inn as headquarters. This lead to a general free-for-all when the Liberal candidate and many of his constituents as well as 600 men from his factories arrived at a speech Sit Thomas was giving. Tory supporters later started destroying the George, which had been taken over by magistrates. A troop of 7th Dragoon Guards was call in to quell hostilities. Despite troops being stationed there on polling day, the Tory mob attacked the Liberal supporters, who were forced to make their way to the polling place through the Crown Inn next door, which caused a more furious assault when this information was discovered. The riots only dispersed when carbines were discharged. There were two casualties of these riots.
The hotel was renovated in 1874, with the splendid balcony across the front added, as well as some attic rooms. The George continued to be one of the social hubs of the town, although a gas explosion seriously damaged the assembly rooms in 1876. Then in 1918, a lorry crashed into the George, taking the porch off the front of the building, causing 2 deaths as a result. The grim post-war years caused hardships at the George to continue, as they meant that social life was more subdued. Balls, dances and meetings were still held, but not with the sparkle they once had. By 1971, there were rumours that the George was closing.
Freddie Giles, a local restaurateur and property developer, rescued the George when he bought it for £35,000 and redeveloped it. By 1977 there were bedrooms for 28 guests, central heating and a managers’ flat. The ground floor had been turned into a single large “Riot Bar” (after the 1832 riots) and a 30-seat dining room, with new kitchens added.
The George Hotel was eventually bought by Wadworth’s, and continues today, though it is now far quieter then it was at its peak.
For more information on the history of the pub, see The Historic Inns of Frome.