|Hexter's Vaults PH. existed at 7 and 8 North Street by 1960 according to Kelly, the same
was the case in 1970 (K). The Inn at No. 8 originally having been a wine and spirit merchant until run by James Hexter around 1906.
In the 1960's it was known as the The Longbar and was very popular though a bit of a dive.
The pub later became the Golden Hart (mid 1970's) until the mid eighties when the name was changed to Hart's. In the mid 1990's the pub became Porter Blacks which closed in early 2004.
The Longbar was not the real name of the pub only that to which it was often referred. According to Nick Heard there was a sign inside the pub reading Hexter's Vaults.
The pub had a market day license which mean't it could stay open until 15.30. However it was prevented from sunday opening because the site was owned by the Church! (many thanks to Nick Heard).
Until the pub became Porter Blacks', it did indeed have a long bar. It ran nearly the entire length of the pub and was quite a feature although did tend to take up too much space causing drinkers to be squeezed into a corridor that effectively made up the pub. With the advent of Porter Blacks, the bar was cut to half the size creating a larger drinking area. Small tables were added along the north wall with bar stools. The front part of the pub was more like a lounge with sofas and pictures of Marylin Monroe and James Dean.
The building the pub inhabits looks to have been built around 1870, very close to the site of the George Inn, the building does not however appear on a map of 1876 as a pub.
By 1878 (W) No.7 North Street was a provisions merchant, Thomas Gibbons and No.8 North Street was a wine merchant, Henry Richard Dawason & Co.
By 1906 (B) Henry Hexter had taken over the building running a wine & spirit merchants, however by 1923 (K), James Hexter was running Hexter's Vaults which appears to have been a PH and wine & spirit merchants. In 1923 (K), No 7 was a Tailor run by Leonard Corry.
By 1947, 7 and 8 had become one, Besley shows Reginald Charles Garnswortyjy at this address, he was a Wine, Spirit & beer Merchant.
In 1939. Kelly shows Victor John Donaldson resident at N0.8 North Street, Hexter's Vaults.
Judging by the fact that there was always a beer, spirit and wine connection, it is likely that the building was always some sort of bar originally at No.8, expanding into No.7 later.
Work started on re-generating the building in early November 2007, Tiger Bills was in business by mid November 2007, a restaurant and bar.
Stuart Callon Copyright ©2002-2007