On this site stood the White Horse Inn, a well-known Eighteenth Century tavern and posting house. The honourable John Byng later fifth Viscount Torrington, author of the Torrington Diaries, paid two visits to Bakewell in 1789 and 1790 and describes how he stayed at the Inn. His dinner consisted of a quarter of cold lamb, a cold drink, salad, tarts and jellies; for this he paid one shilling.
He also paid one shilling and three half pence for wine, three pence for rum and brandy, and five pence for hay and corn for his horse, This totalled two shillings and eleven pence half penny.
In 1796 the White Horse was the scene of a riot against the Militia Ballot. The mob burnt the list of men liable to serve, in front of the Inn. However, they dispersed peacefully, having paid for their drinks.
In 1804 the old Inn was demolished by the fifth Duke of Rutland, the father of Lord John Manners, afterwards the seventh Duke of Rutland, the lifelong friend of Benjamin Disraeli. The hotel
was then built as it stands today.
The Bakewell Pudding originated through a mistake by the cook at the Rutland Arms. A Strawberry Tart was ordered for the guest. Instead of stirring the egg mixture into the pastry, the cook poured it over the strawberry jam. The pudding was so well received by the guest that the recipe became recognised as the Bakewell Pudding, although it’s exact ingredients are still kept a closely guarded secret.
Mr William Greaves, whose family was associated with the hotel
during most of the nineteenth century, was a very notable figure in Derbyshire. Mr Greaves had a monopoly of the posting from Bakewell, and according to Slaters Directory of 1862, he was running coaches daily to Rowsley, Buxton, Sheffield and Whaley Bridge. The Manchester to London coaches could alight for refreshments at the Rutland.
Mr Greaves married a sister-in-law of Sir Joseph Paxton, head gardener and man of affairs of the sixth Duke of Devonshire, who is best remembered as the designer of the Crystal Palace.