The Spread Eagle, Preston Village, North Shields
The Spread Eagle is the oldest public house in Preston Township and is one of the oldest buildings. It has certainly stood there for more than 200 years and is mentioned in the will of one John Scott dated 1823 but no exact date of construction is known as no deeds exist relating to its origin.
Like others in the area, this inn was connected to one of the market gardens - Flat Cottage Gardens - when Matthew Arthur owned both for at least 30 years up until 1828.
Several individuals ran the Spread Eagle after Mr. Arthur - namely, Samuel Bell (up to 1847), Robert Mills (1847) and George Fogg (1854). Fogg was landlord for over 40 years until, in March 1897,it was bought by Swinburne and Co., the Monkseaton brewers who became part of Newcastle Breweries Ltd. in later years.
In 1924, the license was taken over by Mrs. Mary Henderson then by George Strong in 1928, R. Strong (1930), Robert Gray (1932), James Moffat (1934) and Tom Maynard (1938).
In June 1937 a report appeared in the Shields Daily News describing proceedings at a meeting of the Tynemouth Compensation Authority whose responsibility it was to grant or otherwise drinks licenses. At this meeting the neighbouring Bambro Castle was refused a license but the Spread Eagle was granted one. The report included a description of the interior of the inn, which comprised a bar, a sitting room and a bottle and jug department. The report continues that the inn was in very good decorative condition and that the sanitary accommodation was very good.
The building has changed little over the years although close inspection reveals that the frontage has been substantially altered. Some time after 1910 the front door was repositioned and, in the 1970s, extensive alterations were carried out to the interior, which included the installation of a new bar counter. Previously, ale had been served through a doorway, which is now the entrance to the ladies' powder room.
The Spread Eagle entered the 21st Century under the ownership of North Shields Rugby Club became a franchised house of Scottish and Newcastle Breweries. An extension was added to the western end of the building shortly afterwards.