The Heritage Blue Plaque Scheme was devised and is operated by Howden Civic Society, with support from the National Lottery.
For the resident or visitor to Howden, following the Blue Plaque trail gives a guide to the history of some of the most interesting buildings in the town. A guide can be be downloaded from the Civic Society website.
The trail includes these buildings and locations:
- The Shire Hall in Market Place, built as a covered market and assembly rooms and resembling a Dutch town hall with its large stepped gable and mullioned windows. It has been used as a theatre,
- Market Place. From medieval times farmers and their families came from nearby villages to buy and sell.
- The White Horse Inn, Market Place is one of Howden’s oldest inns dating back to 1702.
- Parkin’s Shop, 5 Market Place has been a butcher’s since 1867, having previously been a grocers and a candle-maker’s. The decorative tiles on the shop-front were added in the 1920s by the then owner Frank Moore.
- The Half Moon Inn, which is now the Cooperative Store, was rebuilt in 1890, although an inn had stood on the site since 1661.
- Bridgegate was the location of Howden’s famous horse fair, when 16,000 horses would be traded in one week.
- Baron Ward was brought up in a cottage behind the Angel Inn which stood on Bridgegate.
- Bridgegate House is a fine town house, with its six bay brick front laid in Flemish bond, dating from the mid-18th century.
- Howden Hall was built as ‘the house of a small manor called Paradise’. Whilst the house is mainly Georgian, it may have its origins in the 17th Century.
- Hailgate House, with its outstanding Greek Doric porch and pediment, was built in the 1840s.
- 78 Hailgate is a nice example of a three-storey late 18th Century house. In the 1920s, Nevil Shute Norway, the Chief Calculator at the Howden Airship Station where the R100 was being built, lodged here. He later became famous as the novelist Nevil Shute and his first novel ‘Marazan’ was probably written here.
- Highbridge House was built about 1700, and named after the bridge that spanned the River Derwent near here in medieval times.
- The Bishop’s Manor is the great banqueting hall, all that remains of a much larger palace built by the powerful bishops of Durham.
- The Ashes: a survey of the Bishop’s palace and grounds in 1648 describes ‘a close of ground called The Ashes’ adjacent to the moated orchard, garden plots and fishponds.’ In 1927 Charles Briggs gave the land and buildings to the trustees of Ashes Playingfields Trust to create public playing fields and recreation grounds for the people of Howden.
- The Old Police Station at the junction of Pinfold Street and Treeton Road was built in 1843 as a Superintendent’s house with cells
- 4 Parsons Lane. Parts of this largely Georgian House date back to the late 17th century but it was refronted in grey-yellow bricks in the early 1800s, possibly from the nearby Newport brickworks.
- Grammar School. A school was established within the Minster in about 1265. The present two schoolrooms date from Tudor times and were in use until 1925.
- On Pinfold Street, near the Minster, stood the Spotted Cow, popular as a beer house with the farmers attending the Corn Market. It was saved from demolition and is now restored as a private house.
- The Chestnuts on Pinfold Street is a handsome red-brick and slate house with its large Tuscan style porch on the south front built circa 1800.
- 37 - 49 Pinfold Street. On this site from 1665 to 1794 were two houses, owned by the town, where the needy could lodge. They were replaced by a workhouse, where the inmates were required to work for their keep. The new building included a manufactory, cow shed, stone breaking yard and prison. It closed in 1839.
- 14 St John’s Street, an early 18th century house with its typically steep roofline is the oldest property in the street.
- 10 -11 Churchside was built in the early 1850s and became known as the Town Hall.
- 2 Churchside was built in the style of a Florentine palazzo.
- Bowman’s Hotel. The Nag’s Head was renamed Bowman’s Commercial Hotel and Posting House in 1851 when John Bowman became the owner.
- Wellington Hotel. Known in the eighteenth century as the White Hart Inn, the Wellington was a stopping point for stage-coaches travelling between Liverpool and Hull.