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The Gentle Author’s Dead Pubs Crawl

November 1, 2013
by the gentle author

As the darkness closes in, it delights me to go on a dead pubs crawl around Spitalfields to pay my respects at former hostelries and listen for the clinking glasses of the phantom regulars. Yet to my surprise and joy, The Well & Bucket and The Crown & Shuttle have returned to vibrant life, convincing resurrections long after I had given up hope – which permits me to believe there may still be the possibility of life after death for other lost pubs in the neighbourhood.

The Ship & Blue Ball, Boundary Passage, where they planned the Great Train Robbery (1851-1994)

The Frying Pan, Brick Lane (1805-1991)

The Crown, Bethnal Green Rd (1869-1922)

The Britannia, Chilton St (1861-2000)

The Laurel Tree, Brick Lane (1813-1983)

The Well & Bucket, Bethnal Green Rd (1861-1989 & resurrected this year)

The Dolphin, Redchurch St (1835-2002)

The Jolly Butchers, Brick Lane (1839- 1987)

Knave of Clubs, Club Row (1735-1994)

Seven Stars, Brick Lane (1711-2002)

The Crown & Shuttle, Shoreditch High St (1861-2001 & resurrected this year)

Sir Robert Peel, Bishopsgate Without (1871-1957)

The Queen Victoria, Barnet Grove (1856-1993)

You may also like to take a look at

The Gentle Author’s Pub Crawl

The Gentle Author’s Next Pub Crawl

The Gentle Author’s Spitalfields Pub Crawl

16 Responses leave one →
  1. John Hughes permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Great to see pictures old public house which have closed down any of The Gibraltar that was in Gibraltar Walk which closed down in the late 50’s as my mothers family used to live in Gibraltar Walk before it was demolished

    John Hughes

  2. Lorna permalink
    November 1, 2013

    I live above Azeems on Brick Lane, which was once the Laurel Tree pub.
    My store room use to be the old pub cellar!
    I had a look on the census and some one with the same surname as me was living here as a maid in 1886!
    No relation, just a strange coincidence!
    I also have a picture of the pub when it was derelict in the 1980’s before it was brought and made into flats by the Newlon Housing trust.
    I will send you said photo. 🙂

  3. November 1, 2013

    I dont know how you manage to take such atmospheric photos of old – closed – pubs – but these are brilliant. Lovely to sit here in my PJ’s reflecting on what life was like for the long gone customers – sets my brain on a different channel for the rest of the day.

  4. November 1, 2013

    Thanks for showing the pictures of the old pubs, it’s sad that so many have been closed! Valerie

  5. Rosemary Hoffman permalink
    November 1, 2013

    the names bring back a few memories -Crown and Shuttle in particular .

  6. November 1, 2013

    I would never walk on the pavement under the Crown and Shuttle as the topmost pediment looked like it could fall off at any moment.
    So apart from having a lovely building restored to glory and former purpose, it’s nice to feel safe on the pavement again.

  7. James McGregor permalink
    November 1, 2013

    I dont remember the Laurel Tree does anyone know the number in the Lane? It looks a bit like the Dukes Motto or the Monkey House as known by the locals

  8. David Whittaker permalink
    November 1, 2013

    Thank’s …that’s real time travel..

  9. Hamstall Ridware permalink
    November 2, 2013

    Any pics of The Three Brewers in Brick Lane? It was an Internet cafe last time I visited, but that was 10 years ago or so. It used to be opposite Truman’s brewery and the directors used to take friends there to sample the beer. Loved that pub…

  10. November 2, 2013

    Some lovely, atmospheric pictures here!

    My Granddad used to work for a brewery and worked at The Wheatsheaf in Stoney St, Borough Market. I have a post card that was sent to him from one of his older brothers who had gone off to the Trenches in WW1.

    I am glad that it has been restored and is now open again and I went there with one of my cousins to have lunch there and raise a pint to our wonderful Granddad!

  11. Rachel permalink
    November 3, 2013

    Beautiful and evocative, as ever, Gentle Author. You may be interested to know that The Dolphin recently appeared in Elementary, the contemporary US take on Sherlock Holmes: they had 221b as being one of the flats upstairs. Only a mile or two out!

  12. Jackie Davitt permalink
    January 9, 2014


    My Mum was the licence of the Crown and Shuttle and we had many happy years there before trade just dropped off in the evenings .

  13. tony sugg permalink
    January 15, 2014

    its so sad to see all those character filled pubs gone forever and a way of life which made the London people who they were.

  14. February 4, 2015

    Did you know the Crown used to have an angling club within its walls called the ‘good Intent’.
    I’m putting a piece up on my blog tomorrow that should interest you 5/2/15

  15. Dorothy P permalink
    April 20, 2018

    My grandfather, Harvey Piper, was born in The Three Swedish Crowns in what used to be Old Gravel Lane. It is now an Indian takeaway. The Three Swedish Crowns was one of several pubs managed by Gt.Grandfather James Piper. Among them were The Chapman Arms, The Jolly Tanners in Bermondsey, and The Fox and Goose in Brick Hill Lane, Upper Thames Street. Great-Granddad died in 1897 next door to The Three Swedish Crowns, then managed by his brother, George Harvey Piper.

  16. Stephen Withers permalink
    January 10, 2020

    My great grandfather Phineas William W. was born upstairs in 1843 when The Jolly Butchers in Brick Lane was ‘ The Turk’s Head’. His father, also Phineas was at that time licencee, having taken over from his mother Jane (nee Rous) the previous year. They had met as staff at The Golden Lion in Britannia Street. The family moved to The Horn of Plenty in Globe Road, where they stayed for generations.

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