The name of the Fat Ox Hotel is entrenched within local folklore due to its association with Edward Hall’s large ox that chewed the cud in Whitley during the 1780s. The ox weighed 216 stones, 8lbs before its slaughter by Newcastle butcher Thomas Horsley on March 18, 1789, and was immortalised in a copper-plate engraving by Thomas Bewick.
The original 19th century building was thatched and picturesque. It served girdle cakes that attracted picnic parties from as far afield as Newcastle. There was also a rowdy side, with 1842 police reports recording an assault on PC William Armstrong outside. Pigot’s Directory for Northumberland lists Robert Hiddleston as the custodian c.1827.
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