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The Disappearing Pubs Of Marylebone

December 28, 2016
by the gentle author

In the spring of 2014, I enjoyed a memorable afternoon undertaking a crawl around historic pubs in Marylebone but since then I have been receiving reports of an alarming number of closures in this attractive backwater. So yesterday I set out on a melancholy pilgrimage at the year’s end to say farewell to the disappearing pubs of Marylebone – needless to say I returned footsore and thirsty.

The Beehive in Homer St, opened before 1848 (photographed in 2014)

The Beehive is now being redeveloped

Two regulars at The Harcourt Arms, in Harcourt St since 1869 (photographed in 2014)

The Harcourt Arms is no longer a pub but now The Harcourt, a restaurant

The Windsor Castle in Crawford Place since 1856 closed in August for redevelopment into luxury flats

It is rumoured The Lord Wargrave built in 1866 in Crawford Place may be closing soon

The Victory in Brendon St since 1829 became a restaurant this year

The Duke of York in Harrowby St since 1827 shut last summer but an application for a new licence has been submitted

The Duke of Wellington built in 1812 in Crawford St recently closed

The Beehive in Crawford St was first licenced in 1793, was rebuilt in 1884 and is currently derelict after a recent fire

The Beehive, Crawford St

The Tudor Rose in Blandford St opened in 1841 as ‘Le Fevre’s Coffee House,’ becoming ‘The Lincoln Hotel’ by 1852, then rebuilt as ‘The William Wallace’ in 1936 and renamed ‘The Tudor Rose’ in 2000 but shut this year with a recent planning application to alter the exterior

Interior of The Tudor Rose in 2014

Interior of The Tudor Rose today

Stained glass at The Tudor Rose

The Dover Castle, Weymouth Mews since 1807 shut for redevelopment in September (photographed in 2014)

The Dover Castle in 2014

The Dover Castle today

The Pontefract Castle opened in 1869 in Wigmore St but is now only the facade of a new development

The George in Great Portland St opened before 1839 but has now shut

Approximately ten pubs are closing for good in London each week at present

You may also like to take a look at

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs A-C

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs D-G

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs H-L

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs M-P

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs Q-R

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs S-T

The Alphabet of Lost Pubs U-Z

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

26 Responses leave one →
  1. December 28, 2016

    So sad. It’s similar here – many of the old pubs and cafes have been closed and replaced with generic franchise places. And many of the beautiful old houses here have been re-peopled with expensive offices for private ‘beauty’doctors, lawyers, estate agents etc. Valerie

  2. December 28, 2016

    Very sad. I met my husband for the first time outside The Pontefract Castle. That was in 1980.

  3. Milo Bell permalink
    December 28, 2016

    That is an appalling tally. Are there any pubs left?
    I was especially upset at seeing the ‘Windsor castle’ has gone as it was a local of mine around twenty odd years ago and i always made a beeline to it every time i got back to London. Lovely atmospheric place and great staff, you’d have thought the building was too small to make ‘luxury flats’ out of or is my naivety showing? Bastards.

  4. Jonathan Madden permalink
    December 28, 2016

    As 2016 closes this is another sign of a fast changing world but not for the better, it makes me very sad and angry. I used to frequent the Pontefract Castle when I first started work in London way back in the mid seventies, and more recently The Dover Castle in Devonshire Mews, a great little pub. Day by day our streets have less character and the heritage is being eroded forever, nevertheless thanks for the post.

  5. Peter Holford permalink
    December 28, 2016

    Each of these, in their own way, are gems and deserve better. The propert market which has been distorted by various ridiculous measures is undermining them and leaving them vulnerable to the money men.

    Living in the North I see less of this and the pubs that tend to go are the tired, old, unattractive boozers that few regret when they have been boarded up. But I guess that in London many of these are being ‘stolen’ from their communities and are sorely missed.

  6. December 28, 2016

    Pubs used to be the heart and soul of the community not any more. However those that have survived/changed have music, food and tele all day. So the day of the pub is not over yet it appears. A tiny few of the interiors haven’t changed much since Sam Pepys days, he was a great pub man. I must say if they disappear they have been well documented on the GA net. In London, pub sites are extremely valuable some have changed for occupational use with a complete re-build. Some pubs in the country have been re-branded as community hubs with multi purpose, this is ok in small communities where there is a people buyout. This is a big-big subject one could go on. Poet John

  7. December 28, 2016

    What a pity about the Tudor Rose. Such a lovely pub, spent some happy hours there. Pity about the others as well, of course…

  8. Mo06 permalink
    December 28, 2016

    Very very sad… I used to enjoy a pint in the Pontefract Castle, and the George.

  9. Maris Ozols permalink
    December 28, 2016

    I’m amazed that the Windsor Castle was allowed to close. It was a popular pub and it’s collection of memorabilia relating to the Queen Mother was second to none. I was at the Swedish Church on Harcourt Street on Christmas Eve and it was virtually impossible to find a pub in which to round off the afternoon (the London Latvian choir participate in services at the Swedish at Easter and at Christmas). Do they not recognise ACVs in that part of London?

  10. Helen Breen permalink
    December 28, 2016

    New Year’s greetings from Boston,

    GA, a sad story, but thank you for recording the demise of these traditional watering holes. Guess they just can’t compete with residential/business development in London.

    Particularly liked that interior shot of Dover Castle with the lovely spring flowers…

  11. December 28, 2016

    Reading that post felt like a bereavement. First the amazingly camp Windsor Castle, then the George, and now the covert Dover Castle. Unbelievable. Suddenly Marylebone looks a far less desirable place to visit, still less live in.

  12. December 28, 2016

    Some of these are truly sad to see go – for the exterior “updates” I hope that the planning department/commission rejects some of this…surely leaving historical exteriors is for the benefit of London in some of these cases. Businesses have always changed over time – perhaps people don’t drink socially as much as in by-gone times.

    Here’s for hoping for sensible historic preservation.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  13. ed c permalink
    December 28, 2016

    For someone who sits and home in the US and thinks about drinking pints in pubs such as those (and plans their vacation around them) their disappearance is all the more distressing. A very sad commentary indeed.

  14. Martin Lawson permalink
    December 28, 2016

    I have lived in this area for more than 20 years, and used every one of these pubs, mostly the Duke of York, the Windsor and the Wellington. It’s now easier to count those which are still open than the many which have closed. Eventually these closures and greedy redevelopments will so damage the community that people will move away to areas such as Islington, Notting Hill and Camden where local faciitlties like traditional pubs, butcher’s shops, small grocers and bakers are still valued and continue to thrive. Marylebone will become like Mayfair, owned by absentee overseas investors, the two big property estates who own most of the freeholds (and should know better). It will denude the community of not only its local pubs, but also local shops, independent restaurants, and eventually the small independent schools and even the churches.

    Please support those pubs we have left: the Carpenter’s Arms in Seymour Place; the Royal Oak in York Street; the Barley Mow in Dorset Street (the oldest pub in Marylebone) the Gunmakers in Moxon Street and the Prince Regent in Marylebone High Street.

  15. December 28, 2016

    London is disappearing.

  16. David permalink
    December 28, 2016

    This is the direct result of Tony Blair’s interfering nanny state banning smoking in pubs. The greedy property developers are just lining their pockets due to pubs closing thanks to Labour and their short sighted policies.

  17. Jim McDermott permalink
    December 29, 2016

    It’s an extremely sad trend but inevitable, given the various and often contradictory pressures – the growth of home-drinking/entertaining, the rising dining pub culture, the ever-decreasing popularity of ales and beers, the smoking ban (for which I was heartily grateful, I have to say), the brewers’ realisation that, in an insane property market, their properties are far more valuable sold off than kept on, and – unfortunately – the fact that too many pubs were/are run by people who don’t care to try to attract new customers or even retain the old ones (I call them the ‘Sticky Carpet Pubs’).

    Hopefully, the best of them will survive and fashions turn again.

  18. Suzy permalink
    December 29, 2016

    Oh isn’t this so sad! The Beehive too! :o(

  19. January 10, 2017

    It is sad that London becomes more like New York every year. The loss of these pubs is very upsetting. It could be worse. In New York, entire neighborhoods have vanished, replaced by speculative development. Consider yourselves fortunate that you do not have Donald Trump as Lord Mayor.

  20. Mark Allday permalink
    January 11, 2017

    As a Marylebone resident on Crawford Street I have to say what a total disgrace this is, the local council seems to be totally powerless or uninterested to stop this and there has been little contribution from the Marylebone Society either to try and galvanize local residents. Pathetic! When I moved into the area in 1988 between Edgware Road & Baker Street along Crawford Place/Street alone there used to be in the region of 10 pubs. Today there are 2 (if you count the Wargrave & the Larrik as pubs, which I do not!). Shameful state of affairs.

  21. Barbara murtha permalink
    January 12, 2017

    I’m shocked at all our old heritage pubs going. Especially the TUDOR ROSE, why wasn’t this building made grade 2 listed.. It was certainly old enough, the same with many of the others.. This will stop developers coming in and pulling them apart and turning them into quick fix money making flats for landlords abroad..

  22. Mark Allday permalink
    February 23, 2017

    Update! Happy to say that the Beehive on Crawford Street re-opened at the end of January, also the Duke Of York on Brendon Street has now been granted a new license with new management and will re-open this weekend apparently.

  23. David Gordon permalink
    March 11, 2019

    I know, depressing stuff indeed! But hope springs, etc…

    The Dover Castle in Weymouth Mews has now reopened as The Jackalope, in much the same, if not improved, form and serving a very nice drinks selection.

    The George in Gt Portland St, although still closed, has been refurbished inside and has been granted planning consent to reopen as a ground floor pub, upstairs restaurant, with accommodation on the upper floors.

    The Gunmakers on Aybrook St is undergoing major work and is due to reopen Summer 2019 as a pub with restaurant on the lower floor plus accommodation on the upper floors.

  24. Allan Smith permalink
    June 10, 2020

    Unfortunately not a new thing as pubs have been closing for years, but sadly at a much faster rate these days. I was born and brought up in Macready House, Crawford Street during the 50s and 60s. The Olive Branch (now The Bricole) and Laurie Arms (now the Larrick) were just across the road and both the Windsor Castle and Beehive (Homer Street) were both within staggering distance. The Windsor Castle was run into the ground by it’s last landlord/manager which was such a shame as it was a fantastic place. At the north end of Seymour Place on the corner of Walmer Place stands what was The Dover Castle. Built in 1873 it was for a time the home of Emma Cons (1838-1912) a social reformer and LCC Alderman who was instrumental in reopening the Old Vic. Not sure when it closed as a pub but it must have been sometime ago as I don’t even remember it, anyone know of it’s history? Incidentally the Tudor Rose was called the The Lincoln during the 60s and 70s. It would be good to see the Duke of Wellington in Crawford Street reopen, but in the current climate and with a diminishing ‘local London born’ population I think it is unlikely. If I win the Lottery I may consider reopening it and getting back to my roots!

  25. David Ryan permalink
    September 8, 2020

    Sad sad days all these old pubs with character & characters in them gone or going, being replaced with offices or upmarket flats that the people who drank in these places will never be able to afford, our way of life is being eroded away. So sad.

  26. andrew stuart breckill permalink
    April 28, 2023

    I used to frequent a few pubs in Marylebone in the 80’s I think the Prince of Wales was the name of one of them. There were another two but I cannot remember their names. Times have moved on.

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