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The Alphabet Of Lost Pubs A-C

October 23, 2016
by the gentle author

Sometimes I find myself walking the streets looking for a pub. I am seeking an enclave of civility as a refuge from the barbarity of the city, a friendly bar where the publican lives upstairs and the residents of the street congregate. I am looking for a local.

Oftentimes, in accumulating disappointment, I stand and gaze at the fine buildings which once were pubs, now closed down and converted into flats or shops, or restaurants. So you can imagine my emotion when I discovered this cherished inventory of pubs from the early twentieth century, mostly pictured in their shining moment of glory, when the signwriting was crisp, the mirrors were polished and the lamps gleamed – the beloved drinking palaces of yesteryear. You can almost hear the clink of glasses, the hubbub of voices and distant tinkle of barroom ivories.

Today I am delighted to commence a new series presented in collaboration with Heritage Assets who work in partnership with The National Brewery Heritage Trust, publishing these historic photographs of the myriad pubs of the East End from Charrington’s archive for the first time. It is no exaggeration to say that every street corner was once a pub, thus the catalogue of our loss runs into hundreds and this first instalment of The Alphabet of Lost Pubs only covers A-C.

I wish we could have enjoyed a pint together in every one. Instead we must be thankful we can go there in spirit thanks to the alluring visions conjured by these entrancing photographs, which might have vanished forever if they had not been rescued from a skip twenty-five years ago by some far-sighted soul.

The Adam & Eve, 126 Abbey Rd, West Ham, E15 (Damaged by enemy action 1st July 1944, reopened 2nd April 1948, closed 1994)

The Albert Arms, 66 Bancroft Rd, Mile End, E1 (Destroyed by enemy action 1944)

The Albion, 423 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Opened prior to 1870, now known as Bar Valiente)

The Albion, 33 Albion Rd, Dalston, E8 (Opened prior to 1850, closed in 2002 and now residential)

The Albion, 211-212 High St (now The Highway), Shadwell, E1 (Opened prior to 1841, closed 1922 and now demolished)

The Albion, 2 Clissold Rd, Stoke Newington, N16 (Opened prior to 1855, converted to residential use in nineteen nineties)

The Alfred’s Head, 49 Gold St, Stepney, E1 (Opened prior to 1849, now demolished)

The Alma, 41 Spelman St, Spitalfields, E1 (Opened prior to 1870, closed 2001 and now offices)

The Angel & Crown, 170 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, E2 (Opened prior to 1809, rebuilt in 1951 and still open)

The Astric Lodge, 60 Stepney Green, E1 (Opened prior to 1818 and closed in 1997)

The Barley Mow, 7 New Gravel Lane, Shadwell, E1 (Opened prior to 1778, now demolished)

The Bedford Hotel, 220 Victoria Park Rd, Hackney, E9 (Built 1870, converted to residential use 1999)

The Beehive, 36 Holly St, Dalston, E8 (Opened prior to 1848, closed 1964 now demolished)

The Bell, 116 George St (now The Highway), Shadwell, E1 (Named in 1839, closed 1922)

The Benyon Arms, 155 De Beavoir Rd, Hackney, N1 (Opened prior to 1852, closed 1984 and now residential)

The Black Bull, 192 Stoke Newington High St, N16 (Opened 1826, closed 1981 and now Kentucky Fried Chicken)

The Black Horse, 168 Mile End Rd, E1 (Opened prior to 1856, closed 2010 and currently vacant)

The Blade Bone, 185 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Opened in 1823, destroyed by enemy action in World War II and rebuilt, then closed in 1999 and became The Noodle King now a development site for flats)

The Brewery Tap, 17 Stean St, Shoreditch, E8 (Opened prior to 1881, closed 1921 and now demolished)

The British Queen, 31 White Horse Lane, E1 (Opened prior to 1843 and closed 1934, now demolished)

The Bull’s Head, 58 St Katharine’s Way, E1 (Opened 1838, closed 1952)

The Burford Arms, 11 Burford Way, Stratford, E15 (Opened prior to 1872, closed in 1990 and demolished in 1994)

The Camden’s Head, 456 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Opened prior to 1816 and still open)

The Carlton, 238 Bancroft Rd, Mile End, E1 (Opened 1836 and still open today)

The Carpenters’ Arms, 151 Cambridge Heath Rd, E1 (Opened prior to 1839, rebuilt in the nineteen-sixties and still open)

The Cat & Mutton, 76 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 (Opened prior to 1732 and still open)

The City Arms, 2 Dock Rd, Canning Town, E16 (Opened prior to 1867 and closed in 1934)

The Clapton Park Tavern, 9 Chatsworth Rd, Hackney, E5 (Opened prior to 1872, closed and converted to a restaurant in 2001)

The Colet Arms, 94 White Horse Rd, Stepney, E1 (Opened prior to 1851, closed in 2003 and now residential)

The Commercial Tavern, 142 Commercial St, Spitalfields, E1 (Built in 1865 and still open today)

The Commercial Tap, 66 Ben Jonson Rd, Stepney, E1 (Opened 1881 and closed 1934, now demolished)

The Conqueror, Boundary St, Shoreditch, E2 (Opened prior to 1872 and closed in 2007, now residential)

The Crooked Billet, 93 Hoxton St, Hoxton, N1 (Opened prior to 1841, closed 1938 and now demolished)

The Crown & Anchor, 35 Temple St, Bethnal Green, E2 (Opened prior to 1831, closure unknown)

The Crown & Dolphin, 56 Cannon St Rd, Shadwell, E1 (Opened 1851, closed 2002 and now residential)

The Crown, St John St, Clerkenwell, EC1 (Opened in 1910, closed in 1953 and now a shop)

The Crown, 19 Mayfield Rd, Dalston, E8 (Opened 1866 and closed in 1954)

The Crown, 34 Redchurch St, Shoreditch, E2 (Established late seventeenth century and renamed The Owl & The Pussycat in 1990)

The Crown, 14 Goodman St, Whitechapel, E1 (Opened in 1823, closed in 1952 and now demolished)

The Cutlers’ Arms, 2 Cutler St, Houndsditch, E1 (Opened prior to 1839, closed in the nineteen-fifities and is now demolished)

Photographs courtesy Heritage Assets/The National Brewery Heritage Trust

You may also like to take a look at

The Pubs of Old London

At the Pub with John Claridge

At the Pub with Tony Hall

Alex Pink’s East End Pubs, Then & Now

Anthony Cairns’ East End Pubs

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Sarah B Guest Perry permalink
    October 23, 2016

    A wonderful set of images. Oh to be having a pint in any of them-

  2. October 23, 2016

    For years I went to the Alma in Spelman Street. I don’t recall ever been asked to leave in the evening; we were all ‘locked in’ by the landlord Steve.

  3. October 23, 2016

    This is amazing… and so incredibly sad… I have just finished writing and photographing my book on Belgian café culture which is my plea to carefully handle our Belgian pub heritage as all too often these places get turned into residential or a kebab place… It is horrid to see so many beautiful places lost. A crime. A loss of heritage.

  4. Stephen Barker permalink
    October 23, 2016

    The Cat and Mutton is an interesting name for a pub

  5. Isis permalink
    October 23, 2016

    Each photo has such a poignant quality and the pubs themselves appear timeless. Each one has that quality you describe in your narrative, the refuge you hope to find when you turn the corners. Equally compelling are the just-visible side images — ironmongers, haircuttting and shaving saloon, a red phone booth — that are reminders that this world has all but slipped away.

  6. pauline taylor permalink
    October 23, 2016

    A fascinating set of images and well done to the far sighted souls who rescue such important records of our heritage from skips!! I think that our lovely, present Charrington family, landlords would be interested to see them as their name is so prominent on most of the buildings.

  7. John Rowe permalink
    October 23, 2016

    The Astric Lodge in Stepney Green closed in 1997 when my wife and I bought it. In its last days it was a sadly failing pub and loosing money, the landlady was desperate to sell but could not find a buyer interested in running it as a pub. So she was very pleased when we took it on. We made it part of the condition of sale that there would be no local objection to change of use.

    The neighbours at first were rather alarmed when we boarded up the windows, thinking it was to become a strip-joint or ‘gentleman’s club’ , and also when some acquaintances of ours, members of a biker fraternity, turned up to strip the bar, causing concerns that it was to become a biker pub. What they thought it was to become when a friend of mine who was a Russian Orthodox priest turned up to bless the place I have no idea. No objections were raised to its change of use.

  8. October 23, 2016

    How sad to read “now demolished”. I don’t mind “now residential” or even “now KFC” (though I’d like to know if KFC owns the whole building or if the upstairs is something else) but reading about demolition without knowing what has happened since fills me with gloom. My great great grandfather built several pubs (in Brighton) and, as you note in your introduction, it was normal for there to be one on every corner. Some of his still exist but are clearly under supported and very run down; I fear for those corners. Others have been turned into homes – what a joy to know the buildings are still in use. Many of the pubs in your blog would make handsome homes, if they can’t survive as pubs, particularly in areas of low rise living. I do hope sensible decisions are made about these corners if the viability of any of these pubs is at risk.

  9. Deborah Jeffries permalink
    October 24, 2016

    Does anyone know of any pubs – existing or demolished – that had or were saloons/song or supper rooms in Tower Hamlets and Hackney? I’m doing a PhD in early music hall and am currently trying to locate any that might’ve been competition for Wilton’s Music Hall and Hoxton Hall. I’m not a blogger or tweeter or on Facebook, so if you can help please email me at debsjeffries@outlook.com . Thanks very much

  10. Debra Whitehill permalink
    October 27, 2016

    As the District Manager for Charrington’s for a large number of the featured pubs, the pictures bring back many memories, I would be happy to share these if any one is interested as they may add to the historical background.

  11. October 27, 2016

    Fascinating reading lucky to have been a part of this business for the last 50 years. Just celebrated my 50th year of being in the same pub came into the business with my parents on Oct 3rd 1966 with Charrington’s and continued on with my husband. Great memories, friends and customers made over that time looking forward to the next instalment and getting to The Railway Tavern section. Well done one and all.

  12. Ralph Weeder permalink
    October 27, 2016

    For many years I worked at Charringtons Brewery and was a District Manager responsible for many many east London pubs. It was a brilliant job which I truly feel I was blessed to have had. Its a great shame that the East End that I knew and was bought up and was fortunate enough to work in has now all but disppeared.

    Ralph Weeder

  13. October 27, 2016

    A very interesting, albeit poignant set of images.
    ‘The Benyon Arms’ in De Beauvoir Road was definitely open as late as 1991.
    My first teaching job was at De Beauvoir Infants School in Tottenham Road from 1985 – ’91.
    It was in the days of restricted opening hours, but there was always a group of local builders having a pint behind closed curtains, so we’d knock on the side door around 5pm and were always ushered in quietly and made to feel welcome. Those beers, like the ones quaffed pre-18, tasted really good!
    Two of my colleagues met Paul McCartney in there one lunchtime (taking a break from a video shoot in Docklands). As luck would have it I was sitting in the staff room at the time!
    In ’91 I moved schools and briefly adopted another pub (‘The Albion’ in Clissold Road) as my work local, but left London shortly after that. I’m still teaching, but people rarely go to the pub straight after work any more and certainly never at lunch time!
    It was only relatively recently that I took a walk round De Beauvoir Square to see The Benyon had become a house, the Infants School expensive looking flats, so I don’t know the precise date the pub shut, but it was certainly still going strong in ’91!

  14. October 29, 2016

    A transport into time past. Wish I could visit all those now gone. I noticed many or most of the demolished pubs were located on corners. Why is would that be? Would the real estate be more valuable? I feel these pubs should all have been preserved. At least the structures.

  15. Fred permalink
    October 30, 2016

    I believe that “The Camden’s Head” ceased to be known by that name when it was sold several years ago by J D Wetherspoon.

    It might now be known as the “Misty Moon”.

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