Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Pubs Of Old London

The Pubs Of Old London

The Vine Tavern, Mile End
I cannot deny I enjoy a drink, especially if there is an old pub with its door wide open to the street inviting custom, like this one in Mile End. In such circumstances, it would be affront to civility if one were not to walk in and order a round. Naturally, my undying loyalty is to The Golden Heart in Commercial St, as the hub of our existence here in Spitalfields and the centre of the known universe. But I have been known to wander over to The Carpenters’ Arms in Cheshire St, The George Tavern in Commercial Rd and The Grapes in Limehouse when the fancy takes me.
So you can imagine my excitement to discover all these thirst-inspiring images of the pubs of old London among the thousands of glass slides – many dating from a century ago – left over from the days of the magic lantern shows given by the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society at the Bishopsgate Institute. It did set me puzzling over the precise nature of these magic lantern lectures. How is it that among the worthy images of historic landmarks, of celebrated ruins, of interesting holes in the ground, of significant trenches and important church monuments in the City of London, there are so many pictures of public houses? I can only wonder how it came about that the members of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society photographed such a lot of pubs, and why they should choose to include these images in their edifying public discourse.
Speaking for myself, I could not resist lingering over these loving portraits of the pubs of old London and I found myself intoxicated without even lifting a glass. Join me in the cosy barroom of The Vine Tavern that once stood in the middle of the Mile End Rd. You will recognise me because I shall be the one sitting in front of the empty bottle. Bring your children, bring your dog and enjoy a smoke with your drink, all are permitted in the pubs of old London – but no-one gets to go home until we have visited every one.
The Saracen’s Head, Aldgate
The Grapes, Limehouse
George & Vulture, City of London
The Green Dragon, Highgate
The Grenadier, Old Barrack Yard
The London Apprentice, Isleworth
Mitre Tavern, Hatton Garden
The Old Tabard, Borough High St
The Three Compasses, Hornsey
The White Hart, Lewisham
The famous buns hanging over the bar at The Widow’s Son, Bow
The World’s End, Chelsea, with the Salvation Army next door.
The Angel Inn, Highgate
The Archway Tavern, Highgate
The Bull, Highgate
The Castle, Battersea
The Old Cheshire Cheese, Fleet St
The Old Dick Whittington, Cloth Fair, Smithfield
Fox & Crowns, Highgate
The Fox, Shooter’s Hill
The Albion, Barnesbury
The Anchor, Bankside


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(The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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