The White Swan in Goodramgate still survives as a pub in the city centre of York (dubbed since 1885 as the Old White Swan). The core of the building is timber-framed and was constructed in the early-17th century, when the yard at the back also had an entrance from Low Petergate. A mounting block gives clues to its coaching past: a Roman column beneath a glass panel in the floor is not in its original position so tells us rather less.
The building was in use as an inn by 1703, making it the third oldest in the city. Brick extensions were added to either side of the original building and the frontage on Goodramgate was rebuilt in the 18th century.
The building straddles the parish boundary between Holy Trinity King’s Court and Holy Trinity Goodramgate: the landlord used to paint a white line through the courtyard and kitchen to demarcate the boundary and justify payment of only partial rent to each parish. Innovative landlords apparently were creative in attracting business: a poultry market was sometimes held in the courtyard; in 1781 Patrick Cotter O’Brien was presented here as the world’s tallest man at 8 feet; and long before the Guinness book of records a man attempted to eat ten pounds of tripe.
In the late-18th and early-19th century, the inn was the starting point for several stagecoach routes, including one to Glasgow via Durham and Newcastle, and shorter ones to Easingwold and Helperby.
[NB There was another White Swan coaching inn facing onto Pavement, but it was pulled down when Piccadilly was redeveloped in the late 19th century.]