Wetherspoons turn former Seaham seaside department store into latest pub (GALLERY)

A FORMER dentist, department store and sweetshop have been turned into Weatherspoon’s latest North East pub.

The Hat and Feathers in Seaham, County Durham has opened after a £1.2m conversion, bringing 40 jobs to the seaside town.

Originally three shops, numbers 57 to 59 Church Street were a pawnbrokers, wardrobe dealer, and chemist and dentist during the 1890s.

Following the turn of the century they went on to become a milliners – hat makers – confectioners and drapers.

And then for almost 60 years, from 1923 to 1981, two of the shops were home to Doggarts family run department store, which sold furniture, clothes and fine hats with feathers – hence the name.

The Tale of Seaham Licensing Signs, 1902 (A “poem” supposedly listing 29 of the 49 pubs in the town at the time)

The fellows of the Royal Naval Reserve entered the Ship built of Royal Oak and sailed up to the Adam and Eve Gardens where they met with some Foresters who informed them that the Duke of Wellington leaving the Edinburgh Castle, had got into a Dray Cart. He was escorted by some noble Volunteers, all loyal to the Rose and Crown and headed by a Highlander playing on his pipes. They passed through Northumberland and on arriving at the Bridge they were met by Marlborough, Zetland and Braddyll who had just returned from Canterbury.

The assembled company here sat down to discuss various subjects, the merits of Shakespeare, the latest achievements of the Engineers and the industry of the Bottlemakers but were repeatedly interrupted by the chattering of the Parrot.

Then a party of Oddfellows suddenly entered the room and informed them that a Golden Lion had escaped from Noah’s Ark and was speeding by the Colliery to the Times Inn hotly pursued by Lord Seaham wearing a Hat and Feather and mounted on a Kicking Cuddy.

The new pub continues Seaham’s long history of hostelries – of the town’s first 133 buildings erected by 1831, 12 were said to be pubs – and includes history panels to tell drinkers about the stores it has replaced, along with photographs on the wall by local photographer Neil Boye.