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Alex Pink’s East End Pubs, Then & Now

June 22, 2013
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to publish this second collaboration with Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archive in which Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer Alex Pink selected photographs of pubs from the collection, and then set out with his camera to discover which ones were still serving.

The Golden Heart, Spitalfields 1953

The Golden Heart, Spitalfields 2013

The Artful Dodger, Royal Mint St 1989

The Artful Dodger, Royal Mint St 2013

The Star & Garter, Whitechapel 1982

The Star & Garter, Whitechapel 2013

The Wentworth Arms, Mile End 1966

The Wentworth Arms, Mile End 2013

The Prince Alfred, Limehouse 1978

The Prince Alfred, Limehouse 2013

The Star of the East, Limehouse 1981

The Star of the East, Limehouse 2013

The British Oak, Poplar 1981

The British Oak, Poplar 2013

The Aberfeldy, Canary Wharf 1941

The Aberfeldy, Canary Wharf 2013

Galloway Arms, Limehouse 1981

Galloway Arms, Limehouse 2013

The New Globe, Mile End 1954

The New Globe, Mile End 2013

The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping c.1900

The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping 2013

The Experienced Fowler, Limehouse 1931

The Experienced Fowler, Limehouse 2013

The Jubilee, Limehouse 1978

The White Swan, Limehouse 2013

The Ship, Cable St 1981

The Ship, Cable St 2013

The City Pride, Isle of Dogs 1990

The City Pride, Isle of Dogs 2013

Archive images courtesy Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

New photographs copyright © Alex Pink

Visit Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives for opening times, collections & events.

You may also like to take a look at

The Pubs of Old London

A Few Pints With John Claridge

At the Pub with Tony Hall

George Barker & The Marquis of Lansdowne

27 Responses leave one →
  1. June 22, 2013

    Fascinating to see what has changed and what hasn’t.

  2. June 22, 2013

    A fascinating set. I love best the ones that have been taken from as close an angle to the original as possible. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Bee permalink
    June 22, 2013

    Wonderful photos and so good to see the majority of the old pubs still standing.

    Shame, when The British Oak at Poplar was demoloshed, a fine British oak tree wasn’t planted on the site. It’s probably not too late!!!!

  4. June 22, 2013

    I’m quite surprised to see so many still around and apparently thriving. But the Aberfeldy. What were they thinking?

  5. Greg Tingey permalink
    June 22, 2013

    Suprising number not only still extant, but also remaining as houses of refreshment ……

  6. June 22, 2013

    Brilliant documentary. Spent a warm afternoon in The Prospect of Whitby one cold day : )

  7. June 22, 2013

    Lovely pictures shame to see so many gone 🙁

  8. June 22, 2013

    One almost wishes a ban on fried chicken after seeing these photos, given that a couple of these have turned into cheap chicken shacks. Although if The Experienced Fowler had turned into a chicken shack, I suppose that would have been high irony.

    Great photos. I love the ones that there are a good amount of these pubs that are still serving, and that there are quite a good few that retain their architectural features.

  9. David Whittaker permalink
    June 22, 2013


  10. John Campbell permalink
    June 22, 2013

    Wow, the picture of The City Pride tells a story!
    Encouraging that many still exist as attractive pieces of architecture, even if beer seems to have been replaced by fried chicken in a few cases.

  11. Carolyn Badcock - nee Hooper permalink
    June 23, 2013

    The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping……what a difference when somebody loves a building to bits!! Such a delightful picture.

    Thanks, Gentle Author

  12. June 23, 2013

    In answer to Margaret, above, the Aberfeldy in Poplar was bombed in 1941 and struggled on until 1946 when the pub moved to a nearby prefab. The new Aberfeldy was built in 1958-59.

  13. Cherub permalink
    June 23, 2013

    Nice to see a photo of the New Globe at Mile End. Spent a lot of time in there when I was doing my degree at Queen Mary in the mid 90s!

  14. June 28, 2013

    Thank you for this – very interesting, and sad at the same time. So pleased to see the pubs that have survived thriving.

  15. Shaun permalink
    July 3, 2013

    The bomb damaged Aberfeldy was situated on the corner of Aberfeldy street and East India Dock Rd. The new existing Aberfeldy pub is about 300 yards north of the site of the old pub and is on the corner of Blair and Aberfeldy streets. Don’t want to be picky but it’s nowhere near Canary Wharf.
    The City Pride apparently sold for £35 million.

  16. George Rollinson permalink
    July 4, 2013

    I agree with Shaun as I was about to make the same comment. As kids we used to play in the cellars in the early sixties. That was all that remained of the pub at that time.


  17. Peter Verney permalink
    July 25, 2013

    I can remember the parrot in its cage in the Prospect of Whitby when I was 16 in 1949, and we used to sip our half pints. At the time I was living in a hostel in Bower St close by.

  18. Karina Hoskin permalink
    March 11, 2014

    Loved these photos especially “The Aberfeldy” as my nan was born on that sight before it was a pub!!!! Great memories thank you

  19. Sally Jones permalink
    June 8, 2014

    How lovely to see some of my old haunts still alive and kicking.
    I’m from limehouse,and grew up in the 60s,so much of my youth was spent in pubs around limehouse,poplar,stepney,bow,isle of dogs,etcetera.
    Worth a mention is The Grapes in Narrow St.I grew up opposite there.And what was The Black Horse,almost opposite The Grapes,which is supposed to be the smallest pub in england and now with another name,was at the end of the old block of flats that was Brightlingsea Buildings.
    There were so many very old pubs all around the east & west india docks areas.Some of them hidden away down old narrow cobbled streets,lanes and alleys.

  20. Rob Liddiard permalink
    November 3, 2014

    Great photos, and even I remember some of these pubs.

  21. Paul Fearey permalink
    April 25, 2015

    I lived in Narrow Street from ’59 to ’69, my home overlooked the Thames, next to what was then W. J. Woodward-Fisher’s barge repair yard.

    I remember some of these pubs with nostalgia, so sad that so many have disappeared and with them the old character and spirit of the East End.

    I recall vividly the raucous singing, with piano accompaniment, that used to echo from the Five Bells and Bladebone in Three Colt Street when I used to pass it at night when I was a kid.

    Happy Days…

  22. Eve permalink
    May 26, 2015

    As an East End kid, I recall my dad navigating via pub landmarks & directions always involved a pub or two… good to see some still standing & thanks for the tour!

  23. Derek Benning permalink
    May 26, 2015

    What great photos. Does anyone know anything about the Cheshire Cheese public house, West Street, Spitalfields ? Now demolished, my great great grandfather (Frederick Brinkman) was the publican in residence from 1874-79.
    many thanks,


  24. Peter Kurton permalink
    February 12, 2016

    I am looking for any pictures, drawings or artist’s impressions of, ‘The Star’ No 2 Morris Street Stepney. It was demolished in the early 60s along with the rest of the surrounding streets.
    It stood at the end of Planet Street (formerly called Star Street. Adjacent to it was Star Place formerly Whites Gardens. Watney Street was nearby. Planet Street was off Commercial road.

    The best I have is an aerial view taken from directly overhead by the RAF in 1947 (bomb damage assessment).

  25. jules permalink
    February 21, 2016

    I used to use a pub in the 90’s which was just off Commercial Road in a housing estate. Can anyone remember what it was called? It had been in the same familly for years. Is it still there?

  26. Betty williams permalink
    April 3, 2017

    I wonder if anyone can tell me the name of a pub on George Street Mile End Road . It was demolished in the sixties, but my mother worked there in the twenties, as I’m 91 now l just
    Cannot remember, the public an at the time was named Fraser, he was in the navy so his wife
    ran it and my mother helped look after the children. Do hope someone can help!!

  27. Stephen Clark permalink
    September 12, 2017

    I’ve been searching for a photo of my Grandparents pub the Nags Head. It was situated on a corner on Cotton Street and Manisty Street Poplar.

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