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East End Pubs, Then & Now

June 24, 2016
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to publish this 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

The Artful Dodger, Royal Mint St 1989

The Artful Dodger, Royal Mint

The Star & Garter, Whitechapel 1982

The Star & Garter, Whitechapel

The Wentworth Arms, Mile End 1966

The Wentworth Arms, Mile End

The Prince Alfred, Limehouse 1978

The Prince Alfred, Limehouse

The Star of the East, Limehouse 1981

The Star of the East, Limehouse

The British Oak, Poplar 1981

The British Oak, Poplar

Galloway Arms, Limehouse 1981

Galloway Arms, Limehouse

The New Globe, Mile End 1954

The New Globe, Mile End

The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping c.1900

The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

The Experienced Fowler, Limehouse 1931

The Experienced Fowler, Limehouse

The Jubilee, Limehouse 1978

The White Swan, Limehouse

The Ship, Cable St 1981

The Ship, Cable St

The City Pride, Isle of Dogs 1990

The City Pride, Isle of Dogs

The Vine Tavern, Whitechapel 1903

The Vine Tavern, Whitechapel

The White Hart, Whitechapel 1960

The White Hart, Whitechapel

The Dover Castle, Shadwell 1992

The Dover Castle, Shadwell

The Londoner, Limehouse 1974

The Londoner, Limehouse

The Kings Arms, Cable St 1994

The Kings Arms, Cable St

The Grapes, Limehouse 1975

The Grapes, Limehouse

Duke of Norfolk, Globe Rd 1985

Duke of Norfolk, Globe Rd

The Artichoke, Whitechapel 1990

The Artichoke, Whitechapel

The Old Blue Anchor, Whitechapel 1973

The Old Blue Anchor, Whitechapel

Bromley Arms, Bow 1981

Bromley Arms, Bow

The Morgan Arms, Bow 1961

The Morgan Arms, Bow

The Dickens Inn, St Katharine Docks, 1975

The Dickens Inn, St Katharine Docks

The Alma, Spitalfields 1989

The Alma, Spitalfields

Prospect of Whitby, Wapping nineteen-eighties

Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

The Black Horse,Leman St nineteen-eighties

The Black Horse, Leman St

The Dean Swift, nineteen-eighties

The Dean Swift

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

13 Responses leave one →
  1. June 24, 2016

    Seeing the then and now pics here is interesting, a lot have made it with good makeovers. Specially as the pub trade as we knew it is in decline. They are not just drinking places now they are more family orientated with sport television they are todays social hubs still with the traditional ‘indoor sports’ such as darts etc. I understand some have removed skittle alleys because they take up too much space. I recently had an excellent pub lunch with a drink thrown in for £6 (not in London) nice. So the landlords have become business/staff managers they do work hard, those who diversify and provide a good public will survive. PS Had a good dish of jellied eels from a stall outside Woolwich Arsenal main gate some years ago. John

  2. June 24, 2016

    Good to see that a lot are still standing. Valerie

  3. June 24, 2016

    Places to drown our sorrows as an isolated nation and a ruined culture

  4. June 24, 2016

    It’s interesting to see how much change there has been between the 70s and 80s, and today. There’s quite a few still serving. When I grew up and started drinking in Winslow, Bucks, there were eight pubs. Now there are four. Of the ones that closed, one is now the vet’s, and the rest are houses.

  5. Teresa Stokes permalink
    June 24, 2016

    I have always loved “then and now” pictures. And I was pleased to see there are actually more pubs still going than I expected there to be. But what on earth is that ghastly structure at the Experienced Fowler? Looks like a concentration camp complete with watch tower!

  6. Peter Holford permalink
    June 24, 2016

    I love the ‘now & then’ format. I wondered if my families pubs might be included – not this time! Perhaps there will be more and I will get lucky!

  7. June 24, 2016

    Fine pictures. And after the BREXIT the “now pictures” have their own value: From now on the beer tastes twice as good!

    My absolut Respect for this brave decision of the Britons! 😉

    Love & Peace

  8. pauline taylor permalink
    June 24, 2016

    I agree with Caroline, never before have I felt that the only thing to do is to take to drink, although I fear that it won’t be possible in my relative’s East End hostelry as that has long since gone. Ah well, c’est la vie as our French friends say.

  9. Sigrid permalink
    June 24, 2016

    Great to see the then and now pictures. I had no idea The White Swan was called The Jubilee before. ( or that what is now Butchers Row was part of Cable Street then.)

  10. June 24, 2016

    I love your blog. Really I do; you can tell that by the amount of times I tweet you (and I do try to remember to credit you, mostly). But, and don’t worry it’s not a big but, my only tiny criticism is this: when you post your ‘then and now’ photos, can you place them side by side – instead of like bunk beds? There, I told you it wasn’t a big but, didn’t I?

  11. Caroline Church permalink
    June 25, 2016

    Thanks for including The Old Blue Anchor in Whitechapel. It was rebuilt in 1854 after a fire, by my gg grandfather George Church. The newspaper report: “Yesterday (Christmas morning) a fearful fire, by which several persons nearly lost their lives, occurred in the premises belonging to Mr Geo. Church, licenced victualler and proprietor of the Blue Anchor Tavern, No 67 1/2 Whitechapel Road….The Royal Society’s fire escape promptly attended, but as the machine drove up in front of the house, the affrighted inmates succeeded in leaving the building by the side door….owing to the large quantity of spirits in the place, the fire spread with alarming rapidity…the whole of the blazing building toppled over and fell into the street… The premises and contents are totally destroyed. Mr Abraham’s tobacco warehouse is also severely damaged by fire, and the contents by water. The coffee house of Mr C.Grove, No 66 is likewise greatly damaged, and so are the premises of Mr W. Plumpter, woollen draper, nos 68 and 69 by breakage and hasty removal. The losses will fall principally on the Sun fire-Office. The origin of the fire is enveloped in mystery….” George Church had several encounters with the law, and I can’t help wondering about the mysterious circumstances of the fire, which resulted in this fine building.

  12. June 26, 2016

    I’m surprised ‘The Rose & Punchbowl’ on Redmans Road and Jubilee Street, Stepney, not mentioned. Apparently it is no longer there. A retreat for the finest of East London Car Dealers in the 60’s. My parents managed the place for several years.

  13. Shawdian permalink
    June 27, 2016

    What a marvellous set of photographs! Absolutely splended. The sepia & black & white especially help to make everything so nostalgic. What a difference photography makes
    to our lives. I think it is essential that we have the past to look back on as well as in print.
    Wonderful to see people here in the reviews who have family related to the people or towns in these photos. Such a shame so many public houses are closing down. In Leeds, my brother informs me that all 15 public house that he patronised for over 3o years have all been pulled
    down within the last 7 years. These were fine Victorian buildings that people loved to congregate and enjoy a drink, now they are devastated as they have no where to go! Such
    a shame and such a waste.

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