Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Ravensworth Arms, Lamesley (NZ250577)

© Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Ravensworth Arms pub in the tiny village of Lamesley, a little to the south of the Team Valley Trading Estate, has connected to it two rather significant literary stories. The detail is brief, sketchy and may never be provable one way or the other, but the ‘facts’ are remarkable none the less.

We have come across the great Catherine Cookson before on this blog. Well, it transpires that had it not been for a chance encounter at our drinking hole in Lamesley, the literary world would never have been blessed with the storytelling skills of our famous Dame. For though Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, she was actually conceived during a fling between her unmarried mother, Kate McMullen, and one of the punters of The Ravensworth Arms. Kate just happened to be working there at the time (in late 1905), when in walked the shady Alexander Davies – about whom very little is known – for a brief, but very productive, encounter. Davies is supposed to have been a fairly well-to-do native of Lancashire – and a bigamist and gambler by some accounts – but he soon disappeared from Catherine’s life – probably before she was born, in fact.

Even less is known about the other ‘writing link’ of note. It seems that around four decades or so beforehand, the soon-to-be-famous Lewis Carroll had stayed at the pub for a spell. Not so remarkable you may think, but it is believed that he was working on his ‘Alice’ adventures at the time – enabling The Ravensworth Arms, Lamesley, to claim another notch on its literary bedpost.

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