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Antony Cairns’ Dead Pubs

March 10, 2014
by the gentle author

The Duke of Cambridge, Felix St E2, 1839 – 1998

Slowly and without anyone hardly noticing, pubs are being snuffed out like candle flames. As a connoisseur of quiet and neglected places, it cuts me to the quick to see this gallery that Antony Cairns had the prescience to photograph between 2001- 2003 (and subsequently) just as his subjects were taking their last gasp – or should that be gulp? Yet – even in this final degraded state, boarded up and shut down – these pubs still retain their presence as receptacles of collective memory, and their aristocratic names and architectural flourishes declare their former glory with undiminished pride.

Can readers name the unidentified pubs and provide locations where I have none?

Marquis of Salisbury, Hermit Rd, Canning Town E16, 1881 – 1995

Durham Arms, Harleyford Rd SE11, 1869 – 2002

The New Concorde, Webster Rd SE16 – note concorde image upon sign

The Arundel Arms, Boleyn Rd N16, 1881 – 2007

Earl Derby, London Rd E13, 1870 -2010

The Royal Duke, Commercial Rd E1, 1971 – 1995

The Orange Tree Tavern, Stonebridge, NW10, 1881 – 2001 – now demolished

The Lord Napier, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick, 1874- 1996

Westbury Arms, Ripple Rd, Barking, 1650 -2008

The Star, Wellington St, Woolwich SE18

The Willow Tree, Balls Pond Rd, 1869 – 2007

Lovat Arms, Burdett Rd, Limehouse, 1862 – 2004 – now demolished

The Lord Cecil, Median Rd E5, 1872 – 2005

The Cowshed (formerly The Admiral Blake), Ladbroke Grove W10, 1881 – 2013 – now demolished

Red Cow, The Grange, Bermondsey, 1869 – 2010 – now demolished

Unknown pub

The Angel, Church St, West Ham, E15

Prince & Princess of Wales, Bagshot St, Walworth, 1881 – now a shop

Clarence Arms, Kentish Town Rd, NW1

Camden Falcon, Royal College St,  NW1, 1869 -2010

The Globe, Tollington Rd N7, 1874 – 2007 – now demolished

The Star, Snowshill Rd, Manor Park, E12

The Duke of Clarence, Borough Rd SE1, 1856 – 2007 – now demolished

The Crown & Cushion, Bell Water Gate, SE18, 1840 – 2008

The Royal Oak, Loampit Vale, Lewisham SE13

Old Metropolitan, Southwark Bridge Rd

The Mitre, Downham Rd N1, 1864 – 2006

The Bricklayers Arms, Hannibal Rd E1, 1891 – 2004

The Prince Arthur, Forest Rd, Dalston, 1861 – 2008 – & open again!

The Lee Arms, Marlborough Rd, E2, 1856 – 2003

Photographs copyright © Antony Cairns

You may also like to take a look at

Antony Cairns’ East End Pubs

Antony Cairns’ Old Shops

and these other pub pictures

The Pubs of Old London

The Gentle Author’s Dead Pubs Crawl

Alex Pink’s East End Pubs Then & Now

More East End Pubs Then & Now

31 Responses leave one →
  1. March 10, 2014

    I think the pub on the Kentish Town Road was called the Clarence Arms. Also, a happy ending: the Prince Arthur on Forest Road is once again open as a pub.

  2. March 10, 2014

    I got thirsty while reading this — hope and think the pub culture will never die! SKOL!

    Love & Peace

  3. Helen permalink
    March 10, 2014

    Sad – I guess many are now demolished, or converted into Tesco Metro stores ! I know the Duke of Clarence in Borough at least had the facade preserved as part of a development of the whole Georgian terrace it was part of by South Bank University.

  4. March 10, 2014

    Is there reason for so many pubs being closed down? Valerie

  5. Aidan McManus permalink
    March 10, 2014

    Orange Tree NW10 now demolished

  6. Angela permalink
    March 10, 2014

    Hi there, brilliant photos, but as you say, it is a sad sign of the times to see these all being closed, knocked down or in such disrepair. Whether you be a drinker or not, pubs are a part of England’s heritage, manys an industry ran on the the fuel they provided, the ‘local’ was a part of every day life and the central hub of a community, in Victorian times they provided a reasonably safe alternative to often contaminated drinking water, often providing food and entertainment as well as importantly being an exchange for local news and gossip.

    Maybe someone here can help me, what I really really would love to track down (and have been looking for since 2006) is an old photo of ‘The Crooked Billet Tavern’ which was at 32 st George street, St George in the East, sadly I can’t find any mention of it at all after 1921, it would mean the world to me to see it, the premises no longer stands.
    Please contact me if you can help 🙂

  7. aubrey permalink
    March 10, 2014

    The Ship & Blue Ball pub on Boundary Street has been boarded up for years. The name and the swinging sign boards having been removed: one would pass it without so much as a second glance.

  8. March 10, 2014

    Hi there

    Using the numbers on the photos, the ones I can tell you for certain are:

    Pub 14: Star, 84 Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6PY;
    Pub 37: Angel, 21 Church Street, West Ham, E15 3HU;
    Pub 38: Clarence Arms, 99 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8PB;
    Pub 46: Star, 30 Snowshill Road, Manor Park, E12 6BB.

    I believe Pub 53 is the Royal Oak, 45 Loampit Vale, Lewisham, SE13. It looks about right, and the pavement still has similar patterning now if you look at Streetview.

    Finally, I’m not sure about Pub 62 on Southwark Bridge Road, but looking at some old maps, it might be the old Metropolitan on 60 Southwark Street, SE1, on the site of the current Southwark Rooms, but that is really just a guess.

  9. Ellen in NEW England permalink
    March 10, 2014

    “The Cowshed (formerly The Admiral Blake)”

    I find this very funny – how we have come UP in the world, from celebrating warship commanders of death, to celebrating home and farm and well-kept animals to provide food for our families! Huzzah for The Cowshed!

  10. Robert permalink
    March 10, 2014

    I know the Westbury Arms, which has now being demolished awaiting development. Sadly two other Barking pubs have been demolished. One has disappeared replaced by the new Leisure centre being built. Nearby, the Harrow has been demolished to be replaced by homes. The Robin Hood on Longbridge Road is now demolished replaced by Lidl. Two further pubs in the borough are now Tesco express stores. A pub on the Heathway is now a brand new library with many flats above.

  11. Susan permalink
    March 10, 2014

    Valerie – I was also wondering they are closing so I looked up the phrase “why are British pubs closing”. Although there were explanations like the food/service wasn’t good enough, beer was too costly, etc., this article offered an insight into why pubs can’t make it these days:

  12. Maggie in Minnesota permalink
    March 10, 2014

    I’m curious about the origin of these wonderful names. Over here in the States we tend to name watering holes after the owner or the street they’re on. Maybe it’s common knowledge to a Brit, but what is the reason behind naming so many pubs after Royalty? Or naming them something special, like a Star? It makes one melancholy to see so many of these places close down. Are the other buildings in their neighborhoods going through a change as well, or are pubs becoming an endangered species?

  13. March 10, 2014

    So sad!

  14. March 10, 2014

    nothing sadder than a boarded up pub. sigh.

  15. Rosemary Hoffman permalink
    March 10, 2014

    Really sad to see so many pubs have gone – fortunately the one I once lived in is still open -for now! Kings Stores, Widegate Street, Spitalfields. One feature all these old pubs would have had which modern ones don’t have was a cellar. It was very necessary for draught beer and the barrels were taken in via a trapdoor in the street

  16. Roger Lewis permalink
    March 10, 2014

    There is a link to dead, undead and revived pubs in London which may interest readers:

  17. Caroline permalink
    March 10, 2014


    I stumbled over this blog through some photos pinned to Pinterest, and I’m so glad that I did!

    I’m American, but love all things UK, and it really saddens me to see all these pubs closed down.

    Could you tell me if pub culture is suffering a decline throughout the UK, and if so why? It’s such a shame to see this part of a nation’s heritage being lost.

    Thank you for all the fascinating posts!

  18. March 10, 2014

    Thanks for the link, Susan. It seems that greed for big profits is at the bottom of the destruction of so many of our traditions – sad! Valerie

  19. March 11, 2014

    Is the former Clarence Arms on kentish Town Road now a Met police station? Pretty sure I have the location right, just wondering if someone can confirm.

  20. March 13, 2014

    Lovely post, a couple of these feature on the Ghostsigns Walking Tour, sad to see so many more being added daily.

  21. annie permalink
    March 15, 2014

    I passed the Lord Cecil in Lower Clapton today, looks like it’s being demolished. The roof and the back of the building have been removed. I suppose it’s possible they are keeping the facade and building something new at the rear.

  22. March 20, 2014

    Some fascinating images!

  23. March 23, 2014

    Great article. So many closed and boarded-up pubs in London. Out here in the country our closed pubs are generally turned swiftly into residential accommodation, but still very sad to see their demise.

  24. Vinny permalink
    April 1, 2014

    Great photos and some fantastic memories reawakened. The unknown pub is The Newberry Arms, Malden Rd, NW5 on the corner of Marsden St. It was demolished in around 2005 and replaced with a block of flats.

  25. Angela permalink
    July 28, 2014

    Hi Lesley, thank you for that but those links are for The crooked Billet at 32 Tower Hill (formerly 1 kings street), the pub I am looking for was at 32 St George st, st George in the East, across the road from the church and a bit further down, before you got to the old Rose, I think a car dealership stands on part of where it was now. … Still looking for any photos of this 🙂

  26. Alex permalink
    July 4, 2015

    Marvellous reading. Thank you very, very much Anthony.

  27. Jean Folkard permalink
    September 23, 2015

    The Royal Duke in Commercial Road was in existence long before 1971.

  28. Maureen Cassidy permalink
    September 23, 2016

    Thankyou so much Anthony for these beautiful photos . So very sad to see the closure and demolition of these lovely buildings.

  29. Colin Townsend permalink
    January 6, 2019

    Picture of the Lee Arms brings back great memories – like most East End kids I spent many hours outside whilst the parents were drinking inside. In the fifties I also helped tidy up the cellar during bob a job week. Knew the landlord, Lionel Rosen, very well – he took my father and myself to all Arsenal home games.

  30. May 4, 2020

    It would be very useful to see what the Queen’s Head on Commercial Street, Spitalfields looked like when it was open. I have hunted high and low but cannot find a picture of it before it was converted into a bank.

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