The Morritt Arms Hotel dates back to the 17th-century and originated as a farm in the small town of Greta Bridge. This century, some of the original farm buildings were converted into the hotel that stands today. The area around the Morritt was a popular stop on the Carlisle to London coach and experienced a high turnover of visitors.
Charles Dickens visited Greta Bridge in 1839 when carrying out research for Nicholas Nickelby, his third novel, which looked into the struggles of young boys in the Yorkshire school system. Dicken’s stayed in one of the Greta Bridge hotels during this visit, and rumor has it this was the Morritt.
In 1946, John Gilroy visited the Morritt and stayed for several nights. Gilroy is famous for his paintings for advertising Guinness that depict animals enjoying the beer. He also painted portraits of many renowned people of the time, as well as having commissioned wartime propaganda posters. Legend has it that Gilroy was not able to afford his tab, so as a compromise he offered to paint a mural of Dickens.
The mural offers a whimsical take on both Dickens’s tales and life in this area. The faces of the murals are said to represent locals who drank in the bar during the time. It is very enjoyable just to sit in the bar, enjoy a cold one, and take in the surrounding art.
Know Before You Go
The Morritt offers a very comfortable and good value stay if you want to spend a night (or a few) in the area. The bar offers tasty dinners and has a good stock of drinks. There is a large car park out front which is free for customers.