Early references to the White Horse are circumspect. There are no references to the White Horse in either the 1891 or 1903 licensing books of Gloucestershire, and contemporary town and county directories give no mention. S.C. Greggs Coleford plan of 1849, however, locates the White Horse Inn ‘in the High Street’.
S.C. Greggs notes that the White Horse is ‘now Smith’s newsagent’s’. This is not the familiar W.H.Smith’s but a local business. It would appear that the premises at 5/6 Market Place was in use as a newsagent’s and also a bookshop ran by Mr Nash. The building only gained a licence for alcohol again in comparatively recent times – probably after a gap of 100 years of not being a pub.
In the last thirty years or so the property has been through many transformations. In the early 1990’s it was Bistro Lautrec; a pseudo Irish pub called Shinnanigen’s; the Wine Bar and the Market Tavern (2006).
It’s last incarnation as a public house was the Red Lion, run by father and son Ivor and Mark Squire. Ivor’s father had been the landlord of the Red Lion in Cinder Hill.
It was then a bijou French styled restaurant – Le Petit Hibou.
When put up for sale in May 2018 for an asking price of over £400,000 the property was described as an ‘unique opportunity thriving local business set within a former public house, spacious and characterful living accommodation above, all being situated in the heart of a popular Forest town’.
At the time of writing in late February 2022 the premises is once again being prepared for re-opening as a wine bar /cocktail bar.