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The Alphabet Of Lost Pubs

August 27, 2017
by the gentle author

Celebrating the eighth birthday of Spitalfields Life with a week of favourite posts from the past year

The Duke of Gloucester,

26 Seabright St, Bethnal Green, E2

(Opened prior to 1839 and now demolished)

Sometimes I find myself walking the streets looking for a pub. I am seeking an enclave of civility as a refuge from the barbarity of the city, a friendly bar where the publican lives upstairs and the residents of the street congregate. I am looking for a local.

Oftentimes, in accumulating disappointment, I stand and gaze at the fine buildings which once were pubs, now closed down and converted into flats or shops, or restaurants. So you can imagine my emotion when I discovered this cherished inventory of pubs from the early twentieth century, mostly pictured in their shining moment of glory, when the signwriting was crisp, the mirrors were polished and the lamps gleamed – the beloved drinking palaces of yesteryear. You can almost hear the clink of glasses, the hubbub of voices and distant tinkle of barroom ivories.

In collaboration with Heritage Assets, who work in partnership with The National Brewery Heritage Trust, I am able to publish these historic photographs of the myriad pubs of the East End from Charrington’s archive. It is no exaggeration to say that every street corner was once a pub, thus the catalogue of our loss runs into hundreds and this first instalment of The Alphabet of Lost Pubs only covers A-C.

I wish we could have enjoyed a pint together in every one. Instead we must be thankful we can go there in spirit thanks to the alluring visions conjured by these entrancing photographs, which might have vanished forever if they had not been rescued from a skip twenty-five years ago by some far-sighted soul.

The Adam & Eve, 126 Abbey Rd, West Ham, E15 (Damaged by enemy action 1st July 1944, reopened 2nd April 1948, closed 1994)

The Albert Arms, 66 Bancroft Rd, Mile End, E1 (Destroyed by enemy action 1944)

The Albion, 423 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Opened prior to 1870, now known as Coupette)

The Albion, 33 Albion Rd, Dalston, E8 (Opened prior to 1850, closed in 2002 and now residential)

The Albion, 211-212 High St (now The Highway), Shadwell, E1 (Opened prior to 1841, closed 1922 and now demolished)

The Albion, 2 Clissold Rd, Stoke Newington, N16 (Opened prior to 1855, converted to residential use in nineteen nineties)

The Alfred’s Head, 49 Shandy St, Stepney, E1 (Opened prior to 1849, damaged due to enemy action on 12th September 1940 and closed)

The Alma, 41 Spelman St, Spitalfields, E1 (Opened prior to 1870, closed 2001 and now offices)

The Angel & Crown, 170 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, E2 (Opened prior to 1809, rebuilt in 1951 and still open)

The Astric Lodge, 60 Stepney Green, E1 (Opened prior to 1818 and closed in 1997)

The Barley Mow, 7 New Gravel Lane, Shadwell, E1 (Opened prior to 1778, now demolished)

The Bedford Hotel, 220 Victoria Park Rd, Hackney, E9 (Built 1870, converted to residential use 1999)

The Beehive, 36 Holly St, Dalston, E8 (Opened prior to 1848, closed 1964 now demolished)

The Bell, 116 George St (now The Highway), Shadwell, E1 (Named in 1839, closed 1922)

The Benyon Arms, 155 De Beavoir Rd, Hackney, N1 (Opened prior to 1852, closed 1984 and now residential)

The Black Bull, 192 Stoke Newington High St, N16 (Opened 1826, closed 1981 and now Kentucky Fried Chicken)

The Black Horse, 168 Mile End Rd, E1 (Opened prior to 1856, closed 2010 and currently vacant)

The Blade Bone, 185 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Opened in 1823, destroyed by enemy action in World War II and rebuilt, then closed in 1999 and became The Noodle King now a development site for flats)

The Brewery Tap, 17 Stean St, Shoreditch, E8 (Opened prior to 1881, closed 1921 and now demolished)

The British Queen, 31 White Horse Lane, E1 (Opened prior to 1843 and closed 1934, now demolished)

The Bull’s Head, 58 St Katharine’s Way, E1 (Opened 1838, closed 1952)

The Burford Arms, 11 Burford Way, Stratford, E15 (Opened prior to 1872, closed in 1990 and demolished in 1994)

The Camden’s Head, 456 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 (Opened prior to 1816 and still open)

The Carlton, 238 Bancroft Rd, Mile End, E1 (Opened 1836 and still open today)

The Carpenters’ Arms, 151 Cambridge Heath Rd, E1 (Opened prior to 1839, rebuilt in the nineteen-sixties and still open)

The Cat & Mutton, 76 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 (Opened prior to 1732 and still open)

The City Arms, 2 Dock Rd, Canning Town, E16 (Opened prior to 1867 and closed in 1934)

The Clapton Park Tavern, 9 Chatsworth Rd, Hackney, E5 (Opened prior to 1872, closed and converted to a restaurant in 2001)

The Colet Arms, 94 White Horse Rd, Stepney, E1 (Opened prior to 1851, closed in 2003 and now residential)

The Commercial Tavern, 142 Commercial St, Spitalfields, E1 (Built in 1865 and still open today)

The Commercial Tap, 66 Ben Jonson Rd, Stepney, E1 (Opened 1881 and closed 1934, now demolished)

The Conqueror, Boundary St, Shoreditch, E2 (Opened prior to 1872 and closed in 2007, now residential)

The Crooked Billet, 93 Hoxton St, Hoxton, N1 (Opened prior to 1841, closed 1938 and now demolished)

The Crown & Anchor, 35 Temple St, Bethnal Green, E2 (Opened prior to 1831, closure unknown)

The Crown & Dolphin, 56 Cannon St Rd, Shadwell, E1 (Opened 1851, closed 2002 and now residential)

The Crown, St John St, Clerkenwell, EC1 (Opened in 1910, closed in 1953 and now a shop)

The Crown, 19 Mayfield Rd, Dalston, E8 (Opened 1866 and closed in 1954)

The Crown, 34 Redchurch St, Shoreditch, E2 (Established late seventeenth century and renamed The Owl & The Pussycat in 1990)

The Crown, 14 Goodman St, Whitechapel, E1 (Opened in 1823, closed in 1952 and now demolished)

The Cutlers’ Arms, 2 Cutler St, Houndsditch, E1 (Opened prior to 1839, closed in the nineteen-fifities and is now demolished)

Photographs courtesy Heritage Assets/The National Brewery Heritage Trust

You may also like to take a look at

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

9 Responses leave one →
  1. August 27, 2017

    All gone; well almost the pub is becoming a rare creature on the London landscape. yet some survive. Those that do are entertainment centre’s it all depends on the house managers drink is not such a big earner, now its food and tele for the whole family. The plan-layout of the old Victorian pubs are just not suitable for todays society they were so cramped many were just crumbling away. There are many families who just stay at home, go out and buy cheap drink for their nights in. However there is the large super – pubs with good entrepreneurial management, they provide the whole night-out package with lots of ambience, some provide B & Bs too. Poet John

  2. Thea permalink
    August 27, 2017

    I watched ‘Sparrows Can’t Sing’ 1963 last night, and was trying to work out where the pub they used in it? It said ‘The Kings Arms’ ‘Mann Crossman and Paulin’. Have you a photograph of this pub at all? I really loved the film.

  3. Salvatore permalink
    August 27, 2017

    …all in the name of progress!

  4. Jim McDermott permalink
    August 27, 2017

    They’re like the ghosts of good-fellowship and conviviality.

  5. Helen Breen permalink
    August 27, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for memorializing these establishments.

    Well said – “I am seeking an enclave of civility as a refuge from the barbarity of the city, a friendly bar where the publican lives upstairs and the residents of the street congregate. I am looking for a local.”

  6. Madeleine Rawlings permalink
    August 27, 2017

    Thank you another fascinating post. I can’t wait for the old pub prints to be available as my family were landlords of the Crooked Billet and the Gibraltar, and several other London pubs in the 1920/30s. I have been unable to find photos of these fine old institutions.

  7. Jonathan Madden permalink
    August 28, 2017

    This is a wonderful collection of photos, and with pubs now closing at an alarming rate all over the country, an invaluable piece of social history. I think if this whole collection were put together in a book would be incredibly popular.

  8. December 30, 2020

    My special aunt used to go the pub on the corner of Pell Street, Stepney, London. I thought it was called the Magpie, but I can’t find it. I would so like to see a picture of this pub. I’m trying to find an old map that shows the squares such as Prince’s Sq. I’m 85 now, but my favourit memory is visiting Pell Street. Thank you for any help you can give me.

  9. Kate permalink
    February 4, 2021

    Wonderful collection of photographs!

    I’ve been searching for one of the Ben Jonson, at 83, Ben Jonson Road, Mile End, but it’s hard to find. Perhaps one doesn’t exist.

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