Our namesake and mascot, the White Bear, has stood proudly outside the inn for over 100 years. The original wooden bear was acquired at auction in 1905 from a London coaching inn known as the White Bear, which once stood at the site now occupied by the Criterion restaurant in Piccadilly Circus.
However, during World War Two, the Bear was abducted by revelling Canadian troops from the West Nova Scotia Regiment who were stationed nearby in Woldingham. It has never been found, although surely they didn't smuggle it back to Canada – so should you hear of a Canadian veteran with an interesting story to tell about the fate of the Bear, we'd love to hear it!
Our present Bear is a far heavier chap, and although he hasn't been moved he has certainly enjoyed his share of mischief. During the general elections in the late 1960s and early 1970s, competing political factions painted the Bear either blue or red depending on their personal voting preferences. Since then, we're pleased to report that the Bear has remained politically neutral.