"he'd be getting on at the White Elephant."
The pub universally known as the White Elephant was in fact the North Seaton Hotel on Newbiggin Road. This was one of only three pubs built as part of the rapid expansion of Ashington during the 1880s and 1890s when the 'colliery rows' of miners' houses were built. Most of the land built on at this time was owned by the teetotal Duke of Portland who insisted that only three public houses could be built to serve the needs of around 30,000 inhabitants. Ironically, one of the other pubs was called the Portland Hotel. The third was the Grand Hotel, built in the middle of town at a crossroads ever since referred to as the Grand Corner (see bookmark p.42
). The North Seaton Hotel was built on what was then the outskirts of town; as a result many people claimed it would be a 'white elephant' (an object whose cost was out of proportion to its worth or usefulness). The pub still stands; in recent years its name has been officially changed to The Elephant.