The Ship

3 Hart Street, EC3R 7NB

Nearest tube: Tower Hill, 0.2 miles

Nearest attraction: Tower of London 0.4 miles

Historical interest: 7/10

Cosiness quotient: 8/10

 

COVID-19 news flash

The Ship will be reopening on July 6 2020 for outside drinking and takeaways including sandwiches, snacks and wraps. New pub hours for now will be midday to 7pm, Monday to Friday.

The Ship, Hart Street

The Ship, Hart Street

The hook

The frontage of the Ship is ridiculously lovely with its bright white paint, maritime styling and grapevine motif picked out in in red and green. And despite its City location it looks for all the world like a proper local with its old-fashioned swinging sign. Meanwhile, the pretty windows provide a tantalising glimpse of the warm welcome that awaits you within.

 

The history

EST: 1887. Monarch: Victoria.

The Ship is quintessentially Victorian, though a pub has been on this site since at least 1791. And being in the ancient City of London it’s a shoo-in that history was going on all around it – and maybe even where it stood – long before it was built.

Hart Street is dominated by the magnificent St Olav’s Church which is a couple of doors away from the Ship. History definitely happened in its hallowed interior: Samuel Pepys and his wife used to worship here for starters and it’s where the couple are now buried. I say “worship”, but Pepys actually spent many a Sunday snoozing in his pew, ogling the ladies or glaring at fellow-supplicant Mr Pembleton. This was his wife’s dancing master whom Pepys suspected of teaching her other things besides – which was a bit rich coming from a man who regularly indulged in extra-marital activities with servants, barmaids, friends’ wives, friends’ daughters and even friends’ mothers. He dallied with them in pubs, carriages, theatres – and even occasionally in church pews. Probably in St Olav’s, come to think of it.

The Great Plague of 1666 is said to have broken out close to St Olave’s and 300 of its victims were buried in the adjacent churchyard. Perhaps this is why its entrance is ornamented with skulls and crossbones? Actually, all graveyards are filled with bones and skulls – crossed or otherwise – so this is a moot point.

The Great Fire of London apparently stopped within 100 yards of St Olave’s when the wind suddenly changed direction. A miracle? Maybe – but the fire also halted within 50 metres of the Hoop and Grapes in Aldgate, so perhaps it was all just a question of luck.

St Olav’s is named after a Viking warrior and descendant of a Norwegian ruler who invaded Britain and fought against the English from 1009-11. But when the Danes came a-plundering in 1013 Olav promptly switched sides and joined forces with Aethlered the Unready to fight off these new marauders. And when it started to look very much as though the English were going to lose (they did), Olav fled the battle and upped sticks for Rouen to be baptised. As you do.

Hart Street itself was once the site of a magnificent palace that was decorated with carved wooden figures depicting crouched goblins and wild beasts. According to British History Online, this residence stood on the south side of Hart Street – which is actually a very short street – so it might even have occupied the site where the Ship now stands. And it may have been the home of none other than that much-loved pantomime character, Dick Whittington.

Too many “mights” and “mays” I hear you say. Where are your facts?

Well, the building was actually called Whittington Palace, which is a bit of a clue. Richard Whittington was also a 15thcentury City MP, Sheriff of London and Lord Mayor four times over, so he needed a prestigious address within the City’s walls.

And according to Milton’s England, Dick Whittington entertained Henry V and his Queen at Whittington Palace in Hart Street in the early 15thcentury. Then there’s the little matter of the cats.

Despite popular legend there is no proof that Dick Whittington ever owned a cat. It’s true that when the site of his burial – St Michael’s Paternoster Church – was damaged during World War II a mummified cat was found near his grave. But that could have been a coincidence, right? However, the legend must have come from somewhere – and fascinatingly Whittington Palace featured door knockers in the shape of cats’ heads as well as feline forms carved into the ceilings that apparently followed you with their eyes.

Mayor Whittington was a prominent medieval statesman who pursued a successful business career. He also spearheaded many important reforms such as improving the lives of apprentices and overhauling London’s drainage system. Yet we picture him as a callow youth dressed in tights, striding to London with a bag on a stick and his beloved cat in tow. It makes you think, doesn’t it – will future pantomime audiences watch tight-clad parodies of today’s politicians prancing about the stage and being laughed at by children? Sadly, we’ll never know.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Ship, Hart Street

Inside the Ship, Hart Street

The charm of the Ship’s exterior followed us inside. It is tiny and inviting with plenty of dark, glossy wood and an olde worlde atmosphere. The clientele was mainly made up of suited men drinking pints which meant my septogenarian friend and I stuck out like sore thumbs – particularly as we were the only women, the only wine-drinkers and the only people who requested food.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain:  Free house

Open:  Monday 11.30am to 10pm; Tuesday-Friday 11.30am-11pm, closed weekends

Food: midday-3pm Monday-Friday

The sign said: “Rolls, £2.50” but no rolls appeared to be on offer. “We do toasties” they offered helpfully. And indeed they did, but when these toasties arrived they were pretty basic and somewhat charred. However, for a mere £2.50, how could we complain? The food repertoire has now apparently expanded to include fish and chips, sausages and mash plus “small plates” – one of which is chips and another is chopped sausages. I think I’ll stick to the toasties.

Home

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.

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Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

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The Fox & Hounds

29 Passmore St, SW1W 8HR

Nearest tube: Sloane Square 0.1 mile

Nearest attraction: Saatchi Gallery 0.4miles

Historical interest: 6/10

Cosiness quotient: 9/10

 

The Fox and Hounds, Passmore Street

The Fox and Hounds, Passmore Street

The hook

The Fox and Hounds is situated in Poshville Central (not its real name). It occupies a quiet corner of Belgravia just a few roads east of Chelsea. Yet from the outside it looks like a regular corner pub, even a somewhat down-at-heel one with its chipped black paint and underwhelming hanging baskets. It was this contrast between pubby appearance and fancy address that made me want to step inside – and I’m jolly glad I did.

 

The history

EST 1860. Monarch: Victoria

The Fox and Hounds is one of those pubs that have seemingly served the locals for many years without anything happening – or at least being documented. After all, what could have occurred on a quiet backstreet just around the corner from the Kings Road? Particularly since this built-up urban area was proper countryside just a few short centuries ago.

Actually, something important did happen a couple of roads away from where the Fox and Hounds now stands. An 18thcentury German musician managed to pick up a nasty throat inflammation while visiting London. So he moved to 180 Ebury Street – just around the corner from the current site of the Fox and Hounds – to convalesce away from the Smoke. It took Leo several weeks to get over his dicky throat which made life pretty dull for his two young offspring. Bored and restless, one of his children decided to dabble with a little composing to while away the time (kids, eh?). And the rest, as they say, is history. Leopold’s son Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first ever symphony in Belgravia in 1765 while waiting for his dad to recover from a sore throat.

Like many pubs in this area, the Fox and Hounds was built as a watering hole for staff of the Grosvenor Estate. And this vast tract of prime London land can be traced back to one young 17thcentury man with a shrewd eye for business.

Alexander Davies was a scrivener who earned a decent living writing property deeds, and he decided to invest in a large area of meadow and marshland near London on which he planned to build himself a fancy mansion. But the Great Plague put the kibosh on his plans and he died at the tender age of just 29.

Davies left behind a baby daughter whose inheritance-to-be made her an extremely sought-after infant. Posh people vied for her hand and she eventually married 21-year-old baronet Sir Thomas Grosvenor, with her dowry comprising of a large area of land around the Fox and Hounds pub.

The marriage didn’t exactly flourish: Thomas died at just 44 while Mary ended up as a mental patient and two of their sons died young. But the third son survived and went on to start the Grosvenor dynasty whose estate now covers 300 acres of land belonging to the Duke of Westminster.

Several centuries later, a literary chapter of history was quietly coming to an end just around the corner from the Fox and Hounds. On April 5 1960 a 63-year-year old man who had spent the evening drinking at the Royal Court Hotel popped next door to Sloane Square Station and jumped in front of a train.

This tragedy would have gone virtually unremarked if it hadn’t been for the fact that the man in question was technically never supposed to grow old, let alone die. Peter Llewellyn Davies served as the inspiration for Peter Pan in JM Barrie’s novel.

Barrie met Mr and Mrs Llewellyn Davies and their small sons when walking in Kensington Park one day, and the young family must have made a significant impression on the writer. He became progressively closer to them and he enjoyed the company of the children in particular. And when Mr and Mrs L-D both died of cancer in the early 1900s he took the extraordinary step of assuming the role of the children’s guardian.

A single man assuming responsibility for four young boys – and going on to depict one of them as a fascinating young sprite in a work of fiction – well, it’s a bit odd, in anyone’s book. Why Peter killed himself 50-odd years later is unclear, but he wasn’t the only Llewellyn Davies to die prematurely or tragically. Jack died of lung disease in 1959 while George perished as a young soldier in the First World War. And Michael’s death while studying as an undergraduate at Oxford was a suspected suicide.

So what, if anything, happened at the pub itself? Presumably coachmen, valets and grooms galore from the Grosvenor Estate passed through it over the years to be later replaced by well-to-do customers from Chelsea and arty types from nearby theatres and galleries. One of these was Tony Warren, creator of long-running British soap Coronation Street. Warren lived nearby in the 1950s and the pub likes to think it served as a model for the soap’s famous Rover’s Return, with the houses around it providing inspiration for Coronation Street. Personally, I think this unlikely since a) Tony Warren came from Lancashire, b) he trained in Liverpool and c) he came up with the idea for the soap on a train to Manchester. But he probably visited the pub, so we’ll have to be content with that.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Fox and Hounds, Passmore Street

Inside the Fox and Hounds, Passmore Street

The first thing you notice when you step inside the Fox and Hounds is the utter cosiness of this pub. The warm fire, the framed oil paintings, the squishy sofas and the wood panelling all come together to make it a true olde worlde delight. The clientele was pretty mixed – it was 3.30pm on a Saturday afternoon when we visited but we could hardly move for family groups, couples, chess-players (what’s that about?) and posh-looking Chelsea types already the worse for wear. We eventually found a cosy nook next to a fire where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon, enjoying the warm atmosphere and the delightfully pubby vibe.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain:  Free house

Open:  Monday-Saturday, midday to 11pm, Sundays, midday to 10.30pm

Food: Monday-Sunday, midday to 10.30pm

Pork pies, scotch eggs and sausage rolls are about as good as it gets at the Fox and Hounds. But this makes it all the more traditional, right? And you could always nip across to trendy Kings Road for a hipster avocado wrap or falafel sandwich before heading back to the Fox and Hounds for a proper pub experience.


For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.

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Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

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The Grafton Arms, Victoria

2 Strutton Ground, SW1P 2HP

Nearest tube: St James Park, 250 ft

Nearest attraction: Westminster Abbey, 0.3 miles

Historical interest: 8/10

Cosiness quotient: 6/10

 

The Grafton Arms

The Grafton Arms

The hook

As soon as you enter Strutton Ground you will feel light years away from the political heart of London around the corner. The Grafton Arms is a pleasant-looking pub on a village-like road lined with food stalls. So it looks pretty inviting, despite its pub chain branding. Though we were a little put off by the fact that we had to rattle the doors to persuade the manager to let us in at the appointed time. A problem? Me?

 

The history

EST: 1839. Monarch: Victoria

The Grafton Arms operated as a quiet, family-run pub for more than 100 years before coming into its own after World War II. Like many pubs, the Grafton (formerly the Kings Arms) had limped along during the war years catering to a skeleton clientele and only started filling up again when ex-servicemen started trickling back from their various fronts. In 1946 it was taken over by the recently-demobbed Major James Grafton who hailed from a long line of publicans. In fact it was his ancestor (another James Grafton) who first took on the pub in the mid-19thcentury.

It’s hard to fathom how anyone who saw active service in the war managed to adjust to civilian life afterwards. They more or less had two options: they could laugh about their horrific experiences or they could go quietly around the bend. Sometimes they did both.

One of the Grafton’s early post-war punters was an ex-intelligence officer named Michael Bentine. He was also a comedian and friend of former Royal Artillery signaller Harry Secombe.

While fighting in North Africa, Harry had had a near-death experience when sitting quietly inside a radio truck beneath a cliff. Upon hearing a deafening noise outside he was horrified to see a 25-pound Howitzer come hurtling down the cliff beside his van. The gun belonged to another Royal Artillery unit which was stationed above the cliff, and it had slipped out of its placement and fallen over the edge. One of the men from this second unit – Gunner Spike Milligan – came clambering down the cliff to assess the damage. He called out: “Has anyone seen a gun?” To which Harry Secombe replied: “What colour was it?”

The men hit it off immediately and Bentine, Secombe and Milligan chose the Grafton Arms as their local pub after the war. In fact Spike Milligan even rented a room above the premises and helped out behind the bar. In 1948 the three men met Peter Sellers – an ex wartime ENSA performer – and the four began meeting regularly at the Grafton on a Sunday night.

Their meet-ups produced such a rich vein of comedy that they began recording their conversations. They referred to themselves as the “Crazy People” and later as “The Goons”. And with the help of landlord James Grafton (who did a spot of scriptwriting, and had BBC connections), they eventually landed themselves a spot on the radio.

The Goon Show became an iconic series that dominated the comedy scene in the 1950s. The men experimented playfully with the medium of radio, using silly voices to depict characters with ridiculous names such as Bluebottle and Eccles. And they recorded the show at a studio where alcohol was banned from the set. So the men brought in milk laced with brandy and their “secret” drinking made its way into the script with in-jokes referring to “the old Marlon Brando” and going “round the back for the old brandy”.

Bentine left the Goons in the early fifties but the other three carried on recording until 1960. The Goon Show became a cult and its more famous fans included Elton John, the Beatles, the Monty Python crew and Prince Charles. In fact when Milligan received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards in 1994, the Prince sent a congratulatory message to be read out at the ceremony. But the maverick Milligan interrupted this reading by calling the Prince “A little grovelling bastard”. The unabashed Milligan later sent a fax to the prince to ask: “I suppose a knighthood is out of the question?” (It was).

The Goons had their dark side: Milligan had a bipolar disorder and suffered a series of mental breakdowns while Sellers was a depressive with alcohol and drug problems. But the men entertained to the end. Sellers starred in a wealth of comedy films until his death in 1980 and Milligan appeared in numerous TV shows and penned many books of comic verse. In fact, Milligan tried to keep us all laughing even after he died as he asked for the words: “I told you I was ill” to be inscribed on his headstone. But after his death on February 27 2002 the powers-that-be at his po-faced diocese wouldn’t allow it. A compromise was reached, however: Milligan was half Irish so “I told you I was ill” was inscribed on his tombstone in Gaelic. So the comic’s last wish was granted, but whether or not any of the visitors to his East Sussex graveside are aware of it is a moot point.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Grafton Arms

Inside the Grafton Arms

The Grafton Arms is an attractive, busy pub with hidden cubby holes, comfy chairs, fresh paint, clean surfaces and pleasing lighting. True to its Goons roots the walls are covered with cartoons, photos and murals depicting the famous comedy quartet. But the unsmiling bar staff managed to drain the pub of the warmth and humour that no doubt attracted the Goons to the pub in the first place.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain:  Greene King

Open: Monday-Saturday midday–11pm, Sundays, midday to 9pm

Food: Monday-Saturday midday—9.30pm, Sundays, midday to 7pm

The usual Greene King menu with its burgers, pies and fish and chips was on offer. I chose the roasted tomato soup – a snip at £3.99 – and it was delicious. You can watch the sport from any vantage point at the Grafton Arms: there was even a small screen tucked away in our private booth among the Goons memorabilia, which was a nice touch.

https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/greater-london/grafton-arms


For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.

To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

To narrow down your search click on My Faves.

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

And follow me on Twitter at: @PubsPoemsPast

The Quarant Inn*

*Not a real pub

IMG_0064

The hook

Yesterday came the announcement: pubs all over Britain are to close to protect us from the coronavirus. Devastating news for us pub aficionados. But not to be thwarted, we decided to create our own pub – at home. I grant you, the outside looks a bit uninspiring compared with some of my other pubs.  Where are all the hanging baskets, for a start? OK, so there is a hanging gas mask……so, let’s take a look inside, shall we?

 

The history

EST: 1970s Monarch: Elizabeth II

Our house has little history to speak of, being a 1970s “infill” property in a Hertfordshire commuter town. But as I think you’ll agree, history is happening all around us as COVID-19 circumnavigates the globe, wiping out people, devastating communities and eroding our freedoms.

I understand and support the argument that we should practise social distancing and give up our community activities – even if that does mean closing our beloved pubs. But there’s nothing to stop us from creating our own. And it just so happens, we have a pub-like room right here in our house.

We bought this property in March 1996 – three months before my husband, Brian, was made redundant. We feared we would have to sell up but a few anxious months later, Brian found himself another job. This meant we were not only able to stay put,  we also had a little pot of redundancy money to build an extra bedroom over our garage.

We could have made it into two small rooms, but we opted for one large one for our two young sons to share. Ben, aged eight, was an Arsenal fan so we decorated the room in the Gunners’ colours and added a jolly frieze around the walls to separate the bright red paint below from the white walls above.

Now here’s a warning to anyone with young children: never decorate your child’s bedroom according to their current fad. Ben supported Arsenal for about a year and spent less time than that in his new bedroom. A few months after it was built he opted to move into the box room – probably because his little brother Robbie was annoying him.

So our four-year-old son – our youngest child – now had sole occupancy of the biggest bedroom in the house. And he revelled in that fact.

I can’t remember when or how he began putting his unique stamp on the room. It briefly became a hobbit hole during his Lord of the Rings craze, and was then filled with plastic Daleks when Doctor Who became his obsession. He also went through phases of collecting fossils, coins, militaria and generally anything old. So the room began filling up with maps, old books, bones, antique furniture – you name it.

At one time, aged 10, he went down the hill to our local antique shop and bought a Victorian chair for £10. He then proceeded to carry it back up the hill – stopping every few minutes for a breather. Luckily he had a chair to sit on during his breaks, but I still wonder what the neighbours thought when they looked out their windows and spotted this kid sitting outside on an antique chair.

The more Robbie’s room resembled a museum, the better he liked it. And naturally he began to loathe the jolly frieze and the vivid Arsenal colours put there for the benefit of his brother. So when the time came to redecorate, we allowed ourselves to be persuaded to install “wood panelling”  – actually low-cost laminate – to cover up the lurid red paint and create the ambiance of a museum. Or even a pub?

Anyway, Robbie is now 25 and has long since moved out, but his childhood room still accommodates four display cabinets, assorted bones, stuffed birds, ancient maps, old books, war memorabilia and countless fossils. And since he has chosen to self-isolate with us instead of staying in his shared house in London, he was only too happy to turn his room into an ersatz pub last night to give us all the illusion of being “out”.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Quarant InnThe Quarant Inn actually felt a lot like a pub. We sat on antique chairs around one of Robbie’s many side tables and gazed around at the wood-panelled walls and at the plethora of collected memorabilia. We had music playing and took turns to go to the “bar” (or “chest of drawers” as we usually call it). Ironically there’s a full-sized table football table in the room which would have been a great addition to the pub-like ambiance. But naturally, it has long been covered up with boards and cloths and is now used to display yet more junk.

 

The other stuff

Not sure where I’m going with this. Maybe we’ll start a trend, and increasing numbers of us will turn our houses into pubs in the coming weeks or months? We can then use our screens to stage virtual meet-ups where we can drink together and even hold quizzes. Then come the summer we can turn our gardens into beaches or play parks….in other words, self-isolation holds endless possibilities. In fact I’ve even started writing a Lockdown Diaries blog to keep a record of these extraordinary times. Now, let’s get back to that pub.

 

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.

To see a list of pubs by their nearest tube station, go to Where’s my pub?

To narrow down your search click on My Faves.

Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

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Coach and Horses, Covent Garden

42 Wellington Street, WC2E 7BD

Nearest tube: Covent Garden, 0.2 miles

Nearest attraction: Covent Garden, 0.2 miles

Historical interest: 6/10

Cosiness quotient: 7/10

 

The Coach and Horses, Covent Garden

The Coach and Horses, Covent Garden

The hook

Bright red and pleasantly homely is how I would describe the Coach and Horses from the front. It has the look of a village pub despite the fact that it’s surrounded by theatres, gastropubs and cocktail venues. Meanwhile the prominent signs promoting Dingle Gin and Guinness on draught hint at the warm Irish welcome that lies within …. so let’s pop inside, shall we?

 

The history

EST: 1753. Monarch: George II

This part of Covent Garden was dominated by theatres and opera houses in the early 19th century. Much like it is now in fact. However, there was little of today’s glitz and glamour evident in Charles Street, which is what this section of Wellington Street was called then. It was actually somewhat notorious on account of its two prominent brothels – a quotient that quickly swelled to three when the proprietors of the Hanover Coffee House at number 38 realised they could get more bang for their buck (literally) by peddling prostitution rather than caffeine. Charles Street actually had to change its name to Wellington Street in 1844 to shake off its bad reputation.

By the mid 19th century, occupants of the street (besides pimps and prostitutes) included a theatrical hosier, a solicitor, a barber, a corn-dealer and a pencil-maker. England was at that stage the world-leading producer of pencils because Cumberland graphite beat anything our rivals could conjure up. Mind you, the French made a reasonable fist of an ersatz pencil made from finely powdered graphite mixed with ceramic clay and water. This was formed into sticks and fired in a kiln at high temperatures. French pencils were developed as part of Napoleon’s war effort: after all, there’s no point in staging a war unless you can note down all your impressive victories and write a list of the countries you mean to vanquish. I’m now going to avoid any jokes alluding to Napoleon, lead and pencil.

Anyway at around this time, history was quite literally flaring up in the environs of the Coach and Horses, neatly positioned as it was between the Theatre Royal and the Royal Opera House.

Today’s fire-fighters spend much of their time playing pool and lecturing the rest of us about the dangers of making chips. But in the olden days, buildings were burning down left right and centre – and looking back it is all too easy to see why.

The stage of the Royal Opera House used to be lit by open candles and oil lamps, which is probably why it went up in flames in 1808. However, within 10 years it had been rebuilt and was now being lit by bare flame gaslight. In 1837 the venue entered the limelight – literally – when the Royal Opera House became the world’s first indoor venue to be lit by lime-based spotlights. Blocks of quicklime were heated with an oxygen and hydrogen flame to create an effective form of lighting. But it was also highly risky, and the next major fire occurred in 1856.

Meanwhile, managers of the nearby Theatre Royal – built in 1663 –were probably feeling pretty smug about escaping the Great Fire of London in 1666. But ironically the building burned down six years later on January 6 1672.

Fast forward a century and the theatre was bought by Richard Sheridan who used it to premiere his famous play, School for Scandal, in 1777. Sheridan was still at the helm when the theatre was expanded to accommodate a huge stage in an enormous auditorium – one of the largest in Europe in fact. But there’s an obvious drawback to an overly-large theatre: nobody at the back can see or hear what’s going on.

To appease its irritated audiences, the Theatre Royal started creating breathtaking spectacles that could be viewed from the very back. One 1794 production featured real water flowing down a rocky stream into a lake that was large enough to accommodate rowing boats. Besides being a spectacular water feature this “lake” doubled as a fire protection device and coincided with the installation of a much-applauded safety curtain.

Trouble is, neither of these measures worked and the theatre burnt down again on February 24 1809. Sheridan himself watched the conflagration while standing in the street with a drink in his hand. When asked what he was doing, he replied: “A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine by his own fireside?”

The loss of the theatre left Sheridan financially ruined and brewer Samuel Whitbread stepped in and took it over. And amazingly, the building hasn’t burnt down since – despite being the first ever British theatre to be completely lit by gaslight in 1817.

The Theatre Royal was the scene of another major historical event on May 15 1800. King George III was standing up for his own National Anthem in the Royal Box (as you do) when a man called James Hadfield fired two pistols at him, missing the King by inches. Hadfield was apprehended and an unperturbed George ordered the performance to continue. Mind you, he was already pretty mad by then.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Coach and Horses, Covent GardenWe visited the Coach and Horses on a weekday lunchtime when it was occupied by locals, business-lunchers and older men enjoying a solitary sandwich and a read of their paper. But the early evening clientele is apparently quite different and dominated by theatre-goers quaffing champers before heading off to watch a show. The Coach and Horses isn’t an Irish pub – it’s a pub run by Irish people, which was how the landlady described it. And the result is the best of both worlds: a warm Irish welcome from people who enjoy the craic but with no tacky shamrock-and-leprechaun imagery to sour anyone’s Guinness.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain:  Free house

Open: Monday-Saturday 11am-11pm, Sundays, midday to 10.30pm

Food: Served lunchtimes

The Coach and Horses has apparently been run by the same Irish family for around 40 years and has an impressive collection of whiskeys to prove it. The food is basically just sandwiches – but what excellent sandwiches they are. Hot sausages, salt beef, roast beef and baked ham are all served on your choice of bread with gherkins and crisps on the side. Vegetarians can choose cheddar cheese – actually, that’s it. So it’s not really the place for your average avocado-munching hipster.

For a complete list of pubs, go to the home page.

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Visit: King Who? for more info about the monarchs mentioned in this blog.

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The Holly Bush

22 Holly Mount, NW3 6SG

Nearest tube: Hampstead, 0.1 mile

Nearest attraction: Hampstead Heath, 1 mile

Historical interest: 7/10

Cosiness quotient: 7/10

 

The Holly Bush, Hampstead

The Holly Bush, Hampstead

The hook

Tucked away down a side street, at the very top of a leafy hill, flanked by rows of holly bushes – need I say more? Obviously we’re going in.

 

The history

EST: 1643 Monarch: Charles I

Actually, some say the Holly Bush dates from the 1790s. And yes, I know you’ve heard it all before but there was probably a pub on this site for centuries before this anyway. The “Holly Bush” name is actually pretty iconic since it gives a nod to that age-old tradition of hanging a branch or bush above the door of a pub to indicate that a drink could be had here.

The Holly Bush is said to occupy the site of the stables of artist George Romney’s house. George who? I must confess, I’d never heard of him either – but I’d certainly heard of his muse.

Romsey painted more than 60 portraits of Lady Hamilton, famously the mistress of Admiral Lord Nelson and wife of a nobleman. But how Lady H managed to achieve the heights she did with the chequered history she’d had is beyond me.

Emma Hart – also known as Emy Lyon – was a poor kid from Birkenhead who used her beauty to create a comfortable and glamorous life for herself. And there was a man in the picture at every turn.

Emma was a bit of a goer in her early years to say the least. As a young girl she headed down South and after a stint as a nursemaid followed by a short spell in the house of a London brothel-keeper (say no more) she became an attendant at the Temple of Health and Hymen. I know what you’re thinking. And you’d be right.

The “Temple” was run by one James Graham, a self-styled sexologist who used electro-magnetic techniques and musical therapy to teach couples how to procreate. And he charged people £50 a pop for the privilege. You couldn’t make it up.

During the course of a night in Graham’s “Celestial Bed”, couples would conjoin to the scent of stimulating oriental fragrances while actual turtle doves tweeted overhead and an organist played beautiful music in time to their lovemaking, speeding up and slowing down where appropriate. James Graham took on the role of Master of Ceremonies and was aided by a lovely handmaiden – of which Emy Lyon was one.

Before long Emma had caught the eye of an eligible bachelor, Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh, who took her home to his Sussex cottage where she proceeded to entertain his friends by dancing naked on tables. She also gave birth to his daughter. Not on the same night, I’m guessing.

While staying at Sir Harry’s home she met the Hon Charles Greville who was so impressed with her beauty that he decided to cash in on it. He’d recently commissioned a series of paintings by artist George Romney and felt that the lovely Emma would serve as the perfect artist’s model.

Whether Romney ever had an affair with Emma or not is unrecorded. But painting 60 portraits of a single semi-clad woman in an array of romantic poses is a bit of a giveaway in my book. Emma was portrayed as Shakespeare’s Titania and various Greek goddesses as well as a bacchante (a follower of wine god Bacchus). Rather ironic, really, since she died aged 49 of suspected cirrhosis of the liver.

Anyway, back to Romney. After Emma’s marriage to Lord Hamilton on September 6 1791, the artist plunged into a deep depression (perhaps another clue as to his feelings). He moved to Holly Bush Hill in 1797 and stayed there for around two years until his health began to fail. And he then returned home to his semi-forgotten wife in the Lake District who’d spent 40 long years waiting for George’s whimsical artistic phase to burn itself out.

You may have noticed that I’ve completely glossed over the bit about Lady Hamilton’s famous affair with Lord Nelson. That’s because the lovers used to meet in a different pub altogether. I feel another trip to the Docklands coming on.

Famous customers of the Holly Bush pub have included dictionary bore Dr Samuel Johnson and his biographer and fellow drinker James Boswell; actor Jude Law, and musician Liam Gallagher who was thrown out one evening after arguing over whether or not he’d paid for his drinks.

Inside the Holly Bush

Inside the Holly Bush

The ambiance

The Holly Bush was a welcoming sight for us at 5pm on a summer’s day. The inside was relatively cosy but most of the clientele had spilled out on to the pavement and were either seated on the kerb or had cheekily sneaked stools outside (sorry). This made for a chilled atmosphere as everyone enjoyed the sun with a knocking-down drink. However, the management soon came out and corralled us into a much smaller space for fear that we’d disturb the neighbours, so presumably our delightful outdoor experience was atypical. Inside the pub was relatively pleasant, but somewhat run-of-the-mill compared with its promising exterior.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain: Fuller’s

Open: From midday to 11pm Monday-Saturday, midday-10.30pm Sundays.

Food: From midday to 11pm Monday-Saturday, midday-10.30pm Sundays.

Chops, pies and steaks all feature on the meat-heavy menu alongside a couple of veggie options at Hampstead prices (macaroni cheese will set you back a cool £15). But this is a pub that takes its food seriously – in fact it runs its own Supper Club where Michelin-starred chefs turn up and serve you exquisite dishes while banging on about their life stories. The Holly Bush also has space for private parties in rooms inevitably named the Romney Room and the Lady Hamilton Room.

https://www.hollybushhampstead.co.uk

 

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The Counting House

50, Cornhill, EC3V 3PD

Nearest tube: Bank, 0.1 miles

Nearest attraction: Bank of England Museum, 0.2 miles

Historical interest: 7/10

Cosiness quotient: 7/10

 

The hook

The Counting House, Cornhill

The Counting House, Cornhill

Despite its Cornhill address, the Counting House is best approached from St Peter’s Alley where it looks for all the world like a cosy, hidden-away boozer. Then it’s an even bigger surprise when you step further inside and enter the cavern-like interior of this rather amazing pub.

 

The history

EST 1998 Monarch: Elizabeth II

Yes I know, Elizabeth II is SO last century. But while the Counting House only became a pub in 1998 it’s a pretty old building nonetheless and operated as a bank for many years. A counting house, if you will. Founded in 1759 under the catchy name of Amyand, Staples & Mercer, it was rebuilt in 1893 as Prescott’s Bank and became part of the Nat West network in 1970.

This part of the City has a long and varied history. Cornhill is London’s highest hill and was probably the site of the Roman Basilica before that highly civilized race began to abandon us to the rough-and-ready Saxons in the 4thcentury AD. Cornhill later became dominated by a medieval grain market, hence the name.

In the 17th century the area became renowned for its coffee houses which were frequented by the likes of Samuel Pepys. And it was also apparently known for its wigs.

These days only the follicly-challenged tend to wear a hairpiece, but wigs were big in the 17th and 18th centuries – and I do mean big. Doorways had to be heightened to allow people to pass through with their elaborate headdresses. Wealthy people would dedicate whole rooms to the storage and powdering of their wigs, which is where the term “powder room” comes from. And the bigger the wig, the bigger the ego of the wearer along with his status and bank balance. Hence the term: “bigwig”.

However, wig-wearing had its downsides. Some hairpieces were so heavy that they caused pressure-sores on the wearer’s temples. They were also prone to lice-infestation, and many were made from a combination of wool and animal fat which made them highly combustible.

And in fact the Cornhill area was the scene of two major fires in 18th century London – both of which began at the premises of wig-makers’. And tragically these fires claimed many lives. And also, some pubs.

The first fire occurred in 1748 and consumed up to a hundred houses and their occupants plus the Fleece, the Swan, the George and Vulture and the Three Tuns. The second fire in 1765 counted the White Lion among its victims – a pub that had only been bought by its new owners the previous evening.

By the middle of the 18th century the wearing of heavy, inflammable wigs teeming with insects began to go out of fashion. I wonder why? But London’s wig-makers responded in a rather extraordinary fashion – they petitioned the king to make it a legal requirement for everyone to wear a wig.

Luckily, Mad King George still had a sufficient number of wits about him at that stage to refuse this bizarre request. Otherwise we might still be going around scratching our long, powdered, lice-infested locks to this day.

Fast-forward a century or so and number 65 Cornhill was now occupied by a firm of publishers named Smith and Elder. One Sunday the men received a surprise visit from their hottest new writers – inexplicably wearing skirts. It turned out that rising literary talents Currer and Acton Bell were none other than Charlotte and Anne Bronte and the unmasking of their true identities took place just up the road from the Counting House on July 8 1848.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Counting House

Inside the Counting House

This pub actually has a number of different ambiances. When you approach via St Peter’s Alley you pass cosy armchairs and snug anterooms before entering an enormous cavern-like room with huge mirrors and dazzling chandeliers dominated by a vast central bar. This is very much a City worker’s pub and one with a bustling, buzzy air.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain: Fuller’s

Open: Monday-Friday 8am till 11pm, Saturday 11am till 11pm, Sundays 11am-5pm.

Food: From 8am to 9pm Monday-Friday, 11am-9pm Saturday, 11am-4pm Sunday

The menu is fairly limited but there’s a wide choice of fancy pies at £15 a pop including chicken madras, lamb with apricot and Posh Stargazy featuring salmon, prawns, bacon and quails eggs.The Counting House appears to be all things to all people: you can go in for a full English breakfast, watch the rugby, hold your business meeting and even stay overnight. Sounds like a pretty full day.

https://www.the-counting-house.com


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Golden Lion, St James

25 King St, SW1Y 6QY

Nearest tube: Green Park, 0.3 miles

Nearest attraction: Buckingham Palace 0.5 miles

Historical interest: 7/10

Cosiness quotient: 8/10

 

The Golden Lion, St James

The Golden Lion, St James

The hook

The Golden Lion is one of those pubs that make you rub your hands in glee when you come across them. Its narrow, attractive frontage boasts the prettiest pub windows I’ve ever seen – stained, bowed and leaded-lighted. All the fancy window treatments. In fact I’d have made a beeline for the Golden Lion on account of its windows alone.

 

The history

EST: 1762. Monarch: George III

People often refer to St James as being “exclusive”, and with good reason. Its shops include a very posh winery and an actual hatters’ – how mad is that – where a St James fedora will cost you £695. And if you pop into Berry Bros and Rudd, a case of Chateau Lafite Rothschild will set you back a cool £25,000. Mind you, let’s not forget that St James is full-on “gentlemen’s clubland” where field-marshals, ministers and Right Hons can be seen swirling their brandy glasses in places such as White’s, Brooks and Boodles. You can’t get much more exclusive than that.

But back in the day, St James had its own illustrious theatre which allowed anyone in provided they possessed the prerequisite few quid for a ticket. And guess what – St James’ Theatre was right next door to the Golden Lion pub whose upstairs bar was actually connected directly to the establishment’s Circle.

Opened in 1835, the playhouse staged works by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Oscar Wilde plus a Charles Dickens farce (yes. Really). There was also a show featuring performing lions, monkeys, dogs and goats. Among the theatre’s better-known audience members were Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. And its managers were also pretty iconic and included Lillie Langtry –mistress of the aforesaid Edward VII – and Hollywood legends Sir Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

Olivier was so famous that he played practically every hero under the sun including Darcy, Romeo, Othello and Heathcliffe. As for Leigh, she achieved international fame for her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in the film version of Gone with the Wind, goading Rhett Butler (alias Clark Gable) into “not giving a damn” – a line that outraged audiences everywhere on account of its blasphemy. How tame it seems now. Anyway, the couple were married for 20 years and performed together on many occasions – even doing their bit to help the war effort in 1941.

Leigh played Lady Hamilton to Olivier’s Nelson in a film called That Hamilton Woman, made specifically to arouse pro-British feeling among US audiences. In fact Winston Churchill even arranged a private screening for President Franklin D Roosevelt before America entered the war. The US declared war pretty soon afterwards, however – whether on account of Olivier and Leigh’s stellar performances or because of a little matter concerning Pearl Harbour is unclear. But the actors remained favourites of Churchill throughout the ensuing years and attended numerous dinners at his behest. Sir Winston admired Leigh in particular, once describing her as: ”A clinker”. You could say things like that in those days. Whatever on earth it meant.

Olivier and Leigh took over the management of St James’ Theatre in 1950 but the establishment continually struggled to make ends meet. In 1954 a property developer acquired the freehold and decided to knock it down. And despite several years of intense lobbying and protests by Olivier and Leigh – I like to think of them planning their campaign in the pub – the theatre closed its doors in July 1957 and was demolished later that year.

Olivier lived on until the ripe old age of 82 but Leigh died of tuberculosis at just 53. On the day of her death – July 8 1967 – the lights of every theatre in central London were switched off for an hour in her honour.

 

The ambiance

Inside the Golden Lion, St James

Inside the Golden Lion, St James

The Golden Lion is that rare find – a chain pub that has managed to cling on to its character. The inside is delightfully cosy with its Victorian dark wooden curved bar and exquisite green tiles. One less-than-cosy aspect is the fact that the downstairs seating area is almost exclusively made up of backless stools and high tables, which is not ideal for the small or elderly who are forced to dangle their legs in a void at a great height (yes, I do mean me). But the delightful barman was only too happy to fetch me the only stool with a back to it.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain: Greene King

Open: Monday-Friday 11am-11pm, Saturdays and Sundays, midday-10.30pm

Food: Served midday-9pm every day

The theatre bar upstairs offers more congenial seating than the downstairs one and is papered with news cuttings, photos and posters about the former St James Theatre. Food is the standard Greene King menu with a twist – odder items include baked sweet potatoes with duck. But it’s all pretty good value and you can team a main with a side and a soft drink for just £9. Not sure why you’d want to do that, though.

https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/greater-london/golden-lion-st-jamess/

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The Duke

7, Roger Street WC1N 2PB

Nearest tube: Russell Square 0.4 miles

Nearest attraction: Charles Dickens Museum 400ft

Historical interest: 7/10

Cosiness quotient: 6/10

 

The Duke, Roger Street

The Duke, Roger Street

The hook

If you’ve ever watched Goodnight Sweetheart – a UK sitcom where an ordinary bloke walks down a London street in the 1990s and slips through a time portal that takes him back to the 1940s – you will understand the lure of the Duke. It is every bit as authentic as the wartime pub featured in the sitcom. One glance at its understated exterior with its art deco windows bearing the name of long-lost brewery Ind Coope and you will feel as though you’ve blundered into a similar wormhole of history.

 

The history

EST: 1938. Monarch: George VI

The opening of any pub in 1938 seems like a supreme act of optimism since this was a time when the rest of the country was building tanks and warships rather than hostelries. Maybe the architects of the Duke of York (as it was called then) suspected that within a year or so, your average Joe was going to be in desperate need of a drink. And they would have been right.

The Duke of York’s earliest customer base was presumably made up of servicemen, air raid patrolmen and assorted Bloomsbury locals, all of whom had a lucky escape when a bomb fell on Roger Street during the 1940s, miraculously leaving it and its customers unscathed.

A mere stone’s throw from the pub is the site of the former London Foundling Hospital.

Foundlings were a real problem in the olden days when birth control was non-existent and an illegitimate baby could ruin a woman’s life. But what to do with all those unwanted offspring? Answer: Leave them in a handy location where they’d be found by someone with a bit of compassion.

Obviously this approach was rather hit-and-miss, compassion being somewhat thin on the ground in 18thcentury London. But it eventually turned up in the most unlikely of places: in the heart of a sea captain.

One usually associates sea captains of old with press-gangs, mutinies and cats-o-nine tails. But Captain Thomas Coram was a different kettle of fish altogether (excuse the maritime metaphor). In fact he was less of a rollicking sailor and more of a kindly philanthropist who set up schools, established libraries and eventually devoted his life to abandoned babies.

His London Foundling Hospital occupied a sprawling site in Lamb’s Conduit Field and attracted thousands of superfluous children. The idea was praiseworthy: unwanted babies under the age of one would be dumped at the hospital by a parent who would be given a receipt so that he or she could claim back their offspring at a later date if they so wished. Babies would be sent to wet nurses in the countryside and then returned to the care of the Foundling Hospital at the age of four or five. And once they became old enough to work they would be apprenticed as servants or into a trade.

Obviously there were a few hiccups in the system, this being the 18thcentury and all. Some vulnerable orphans were abused or even killed: one notorious case led to the hanging of Fanny Brownrigg in 1767 for beating a foundling to death. But in general the system worked surprisingly well and thousands of orphans were successfully rehabilitated.

The foundling hospital eventually moved to Berkshire and was repurposed in the 1950s when fostering and adoption became more prevalent. The flattened Bloomsbury site is now known as Coram Fields, a seven-acre open space incorporating duck ponds, sand pits, a children’s playground, café and nursery. It sounds delightful – but I have yet to experience it first-hand since adults are only allowed in accompanied by a child.

Literally around the corner from the Duke pub is Doughty Street where none other than Charles Dickens used to live in the 1830s. Dickens was appalled by child poverty and would often walk through the grounds of the Foundling Hospital which apparently inspired several of his works including Oliver Twist, which was written during his tenure in Doughty Street. But perhaps even more of a giveaway to the Foundling Hospital’s influence over the great author is the fact that a character in Little Dorritt is a former foundling-turned-servant nicknamed Tattycoram after the place where she grew up.

 

Inside the Duke

Inside the Duke

The ambiance

The stylised interior of the Duke delivers on the promise of the outside and there’s a bright red piano, wooden window booths, school-dinner-style tables, parlour palms and art deco lighting. In fact it’s all a bit bewildering since the venue doesn’t actually scream “pub”. But presumably this is what pubs looked like in the 1930s, and who am I to quibble with the genuine historic article?

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain: Free house

Open: Monday-Saturday midday-11pm, closed Sundays

Food: Monday-Saturday 12.15pm-2.30pm and 5.30-9.30pm

The Duke is your typical corner local where you can enjoy a pie, a pint and a chat with the bar staff. The food is exactly what you might expect from a 1930s boozer – traditional British ploughman’s lunches, bangers-and-mash and the inevitable fish ‘n chips are all to be found here. In fact it’s the ideal place for the nostalgic drinker who mourns the olden days when the pub was the hub of the community.

http://www.dukepub.co.uk/?LMCL=Ucwr4c

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The Harp**

One of my top 10 pubs

47 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HS

Nearest tube: Charing Cross, 0.1 miles

Nearest attraction: National Portrait Gallery 0.1 miles

Historical interest: 6/10

Cosiness quotient: 9/10

The Harp pub, Covent Garden

The Harp pub, Covent Garden

The hook

There’s no reason on earth why anyone would ever walk past this adorable little pub without popping in. I’d been inside myself in the past because its floral displays and stained glass windows obviously fit all my parameters. But the fact that it was in plain sight en route to Covent Garden from Charing Cross rather than being satisfyingly hidden down a side street meant it lacked the thrill of discovery. I recently took the trouble to try it out again, however  – and boy, am I glad I did.

 

The history

EST: Circa 1805. Monarch: George III

I confess, I don’t have much to go on as far as the Harp is concerned. It’s one of those pubs that seem to have trundled through life without any notable murders, plot-hatchings or assignations having been recorded. However, everything inside indicates that history must have happened here – albeit in the form of nebulous meetings, forgotten break-ups and long-dead lovers’ trysts.

So, let’s look at what we do know. A pub probably existed on the site of the Harp for centuries past when Chandos Place was called Chandos Street. Seventeenthcentury inhabitants included an apothecary, two tailors, a gentleman of the Inner Temple, a knight, a leather-seller and a cook. That makes for an interesting pub conversation in anyone’s book. Also living a stone’s throw from the Harp was a former King’s coachmaker named Richard Brigham who once entertained Samuel Pepys with julep according to a 1660 entry by the diarist. Being a “former King’s coachmaker” in 1660 probably made Brigham’s chief client none other than Charles I, decapitated in 1649 when Oliver Cromwell took control of the state. A lousy way for anyone to be made redundant.

The pub’s first recorded mention as the Welsh Harp occurred in 1805 and early patrons must have been an eclectic mix seeing that it’s cheek-by-jowl with art galleries, theatres, the ballet, an opera house, a police station and a hospital. In 1815 a medical philanthropist living nearby named Dr Benjamin Golding decided to throw open his house in Leicester Place to treat the deserving poor. Turns out there were rather a lot of them (who knew?) so he expanded his premises into Agar Street opposite the Harp. The facility eventually morphed into the Charing Cross Hospital and gained a reputation for administering to a huge cross-section of the sick including children, eye patients, military casualties and the generally not-very-well. But the hospital outgrew its site and in 1973 moved to new premises in Fulham, after which it became the police station that stands opposite the Harp today.

Chandos Place itself takes its name from the third Baron Chandos, MP and Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. But why did this obscure 16thcentury politician have a London street named after him? It’s my guess it was something to do with Queen Elizabeth I. She was a bit of a one for her favourites, as we know – just look at Sir Christopher Hatton. He had a garden and an actual robbery named after him.

Baron Chandos was a courtier in Elizabeth I’s reign and one of the few things we know about him is that he entertained the Queen at his family seat of Sudeley Castle in 1592. Why was this little-known fact passed down through the centuries? I initially assumed that “entertaining the Queen” was a euphemism (I know. Shocking) but I’ve since discovered that he actually invited her to his house for a three-day celebration of England’s defeat over the Spanish Armada.

This historic victory was arguably Lizzie’s biggest achievement and earned her an enormous amount of popularity. But the truth is, the Armada’s defeat was more a result of the good old British weather scuppering the Spaniards’ plans than a reflection of Elizabeth’s regnal skills. That didn’t stop her from banging on about it, though – in fact the Baron’s 1592 three-day bunfest was actually held to mark the fourth anniversary of England’s victory. Who celebrates the fourth anniversary of anything anyway?

The reason we know about this right royal knees-up is because archaelogists found items such as a cooking pot, glazed pottery and chicken bones in the grounds of Sudeley Castle as recently as June 2019. It seems that Baron Chandos pulled out all the stops to curry favour with the Queen and besides the feast, his three-day event included jousts, pageants and bear-baiting. But you don’t get many bears for your buck and the revelries were so costly that the baron ended up bankrupt. And ironically, this was again largely due to the British weather because it rained for three days straight which meant the celebrations were a washout. Still, look on the bright side Baron C – at least you have a street named after you.

 

Inside the Harp

Inside the Harp

The ambiance

Well, what can I say? Apart from being a bit on the small side, the Harp is basically my ideal pub. The current landlord has been in situ for only a few years, but he definitely gets it. After rewiring and refurbing the Harp, he replaced everything exactly as it was – even down to the trailing wires that don’t lead anywhere under the seating. And the Harp’s fabulous art collection remains in place, comprising everything from portraits of Hollywood greats to old, nicotine-stained paintings that might be forgotten old masters for all we know. There’s also an impressive collection of beer mats above the reassuringly shabby brown bar. Phone-use is discouraged and conversations among punters are heavily promoted. And everyone is made to feel welcome as soon as they walk in. Magic.

 

The other stuff

Brewery/chain: Fullers, but operates as a free house

Open: 10.30am-11.30pm Monday-Thursday; 10.30am-midnight Friday-Saturday; midday-10.30pm Sundays11am-11pm, Sundays midday till 8pm

Food: Served midday till 2pm

The Harp’s excellent beer and its general pubbiness has won it a string of awards, and deservedly so. But don’t expect a blow-out meal when you come here – food is limited to sausage sandwiches and even those are only served between midday and 2pm (how delightfully uncompromising). There’s an upstairs room accessed via a creaky old stairway that must be a haven when the pub is overflowing with punters – as it often is. And you can even stand outside in the pleasant back alley with your pint on a summer’s day when the bar gets too crowded. A cracking pub – and now in my Top Ten.

https://www.harpcoventgarden.com


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