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June 16, 2017

The pubs of Somers Town: A walk

OLD pub

It rained it poured but we still went out to find the  ghosts of ‘old’ pubs – ghostlike ourselves.

Outside the Anchor (now flats) hearing about Basil Jellicoe pulling pints and once-the place to be – the Somers (demolished), the Eastnor, Neptune, Shep and ended up in the Cock (there just – a community asset).

For a full list here’s what we got …

Pubs in Somers Town

African Chief

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 69 Ossulston Street, NW1 /former address: [or 69 Ossulton Street]/ 37 Wilstead Street (1839) [or Wilsted Street]

Dates open: [1839]-[1923]

Details: On the hanging sign frame, ‘WHITBREAD PLC … 1742’ in an oval around the brewery’s ‘deer’ trademark, surrounded by hop leaf and barley decoration.

Newspaper report, 1857

On the 14 June 1830 the newspapers reported the case of two ‘well-dressed men’ who appeared at Marylebone Police Court accused of forgery and fraud.

Samuel Wilkins, a former broker, and Henry White the son of a wine merchant in the City, were charged with committing fraud by cashing fake cheques on several London tradesmen. The cheques were drawn on the London and Westminster Bank  (now of course the NatWest).

In the days when trust and integrity were all that mattered it was quite easy for the men to persuade people to exchange cash for their paper bills. George Sheppard was their first victim. George owned a coffee house at 32 Charlton Street in Somers Town and Wilkins had asked him to cash a £5 cheque the week before. When he presented the bill at the bank he was told it was a forgery. Similarly, James Temple who kept the African Chief inn in the Wilstead Street was taken for £7.

Henry Withers, the bank’s cashier was called to give evidence and he deposed that Messrs. White & sons had an account with the London and Westminster  but the signatures they had on record were not those of either of the defendants. It would seem that Henry White was using his father’s cheques (and the good name of his company)  without  his knowledge.

The magistrate had a short (and unreported) conversation with his clerk and the two men were remanded to be questioned at a later date. I would imagine that he might have been keen to speak to Henry’s father because he may have wished to pay off the prosecutors and save his son and accomplice from any formal prosecution at a higher court, and so protect his reputation and their liberty.

[from The Morning Post, Thursday 14 June, 1838]

More criminal events:

On the 14 June 1830 the newspapers reported the case of two ‘well-dressed men’ who appeared at Marylebone Police Court accused of forgery and fraud.

Samuel Wilkins, a former broker, and Henry White the son of a wine merchant in the City, were charged with committing fraud by cashing fake cheques on several London tradesmen. The cheques were drawn on the London and Westminster Bank  (now of course the NatWest).

In the days when trust and integrity were all that mattered it was quite easy for the men to persuade people to exchange cash for their paper bills. George Sheppard was their first victim. George owned a coffee house at 32 Charlton Street in Somers Town and Wilkins had asked him to cash a £5 cheque the week before. When he presented the bill at the bank he was told it was a forgery. Similarly, James Temple who kept the African Chief inn in the Wilstead Street was taken for £7.

Henry Withers, the bank’s cashier was called to give evidence and he deposed that Messrs. White & sons had an account with the London and Westminster  but the signatures they had on record were not those of either of the defendants. It would seem that Henry White was using his father’s cheques (and the good name of his company)  without  his knowledge.

The magistrate had a short (and unreported) conversation with his clerk and the two men were remanded to be questioned at a later date. I would imagine that he might have been keen to speak to Henry’s father because he may have wished to pay off the prosecutors and save his son and accomplice from any formal prosecution at a higher court, and so protect his reputation and their liberty.

[from The Morning Post, Thursday 14 June, 1838]

Anchor

Status: Closed

Address: 130 Chalton Street, NW1 1RX

Former address: 22 Stibbington Street (1915/1895)

Dates open: [1881]-[1984]

Owner: Whitbread (former)

The pub was taken over by Edith Neville and Basil Jellicoe and became a place where drinkers could also get food and mitigate the evils of drink. It was called a ‘reformed pub’ and it opened in 1929. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Prince of Wales were the first customers. There is film footage of Basil Jellicoe explaining the new pub. It receive dmuch press at the time.

History Workshop pamphlet no. 1, A Glossary of Railway Men’s Slang, has a description of the Railway men’s hostel in Somers Town in the 1950s. It was in Polygon Rd. It was called the Hampden Club, and originally a Radical Club.. The men, 300 North Country boys, played darts in local pubs and also challenged the football teams in the pub league. The Anchor was a welcoming pub and it had a very good juke box. It was also a pub that saw unescorted females come in, unlike the Shepherd and Shepherdess which was for serious drinking without female company. In the Shepherd men could wear overalls but in the Anchor it was strictly suit and tie.

Beehive

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 55 Brill Row, NW1

Dates open: [1839]-c1878

demolished around 1878

Notes: This street no longer exists. The street was demolished for a goods yard in 1878, and is now sited by Midland Road.

Brewers’ Hall

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 59 Charrington Street, NW1

Dates open: [1869]-[1953]

The name of this pub relates to the historical owners of the land in the area – THE BREWERS’ COMPANY’S ESTATE. The land here, owned by the Brewers Company, provided an endowment for the Aldenham School in Elstree, under the land was compulsorily purchased for the building of St Pancras railway station.  Charrington St is named after a famous brewer, as was Barclay St (now gone).

Bricklayers’ Arms

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 22 Little Clarendon Street, NW1

Dates open: [1861]-[1895]

Notes: This street no longer exists. Now the site of Wolcot House residential block.

 

Chalton Arms

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 82 Chalton Street, NW1

Dates open: [1869]-[1882]

 

Cock Tavern

Status: Open

Address: 23 Phoenix Road, NW1 1H)

Former address: 1-2 Clarendon Square (1938/1934)

62 Chalton Street (1895)

Dates open: [1856]-

rebuilt c1950s

Notes: Formerly sited on the intersection on the other side of Phoenix Road (formerly Phoenix Street).

 

Duke of Bedford

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 204 Eversholt Street, NW1

Former address: 204 Seymour Street (1915)

Dates open: [1869]-[1964]

Notes: Also known as the “Bedford Arms”.

 

Duke of York

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 22 Phoenix Street, NW1

Dates open: [1839]-c1878

demolished around 1878

Notes: This street no longer exists. Now the site of Phoenix Road.

 

Eastnor Castle

Status: Closed

Address: 145 Chalton Street, NW1 1NR

Former address: 65 Stibbington Street (pre-1938)

Dates open: [1873]-2013

Notes: Now residential.

The stately home, Eastnor Castle, after which this pub was named, was built by the first Earl Somers between 1811 and 1824.

 

Eliza Doolittle

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 3 Ossulston Street, NW1 1NP

Former name(s): Somers’ Arms Hotel

 

Somers’ Arms

Former address: 1 Ossulston Street (1953)

[or 1 Ossulton Street]

69 Wilsted Street (1851) [or Wilstead Street]

Dates open: [1851]-[1971]

Owner: Taylor Walker (former)

Notes: • Now Novotel hotel and theatre.

 

Jubilee Tavern

Status: Closed

Address: 16 Polygon Road, NW1 1QD

Former address: 3 Gee Street (pre-1944)

Dates open: [1869]-c2006

Owner: Ind Coope [Taylor Walker] (former)

Cannon Brewery (former)

Notes: Now offices.

Detail: Closed in about 2006 and converted to offices. High up on the central gable is a ‘Cannon’ motif in stone relief. The recently uncovered and well-restored tiled fascia – dark lettering on cream – reads ‘Cannon Brewery … THE JUBILEE … Ales and Stout’ and flanked at each end by a tiled ‘Cannon’ motif.

Lion and Lamb

Status: Closed

Address: 2 Doric Way, NW1 1LX

Former address: 2 Drummond Street (1895/1882)

Dates open: [1869]-c2005

Owner: Watney Combe Reid (former)

Notes: Now residential

 

Lord Clyde

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 25 Phoenix Street, NW1

Former address: [now Phoenix Road]

28 Phoenix Street (1881)

29 Phoenix Street (1871)

Dates open: [1861]-[1895]

Notes: Now the site of a small park.

Marquis of Hastings

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 147-149 Ossulston Street, NW1

Former address: [or 147-149 Ossulton Street]

42-43 Ossulston Street [or 42-43 Ossulton Street] (1861)

Dates open: [1851]-[1923]

Notes: Now the site of Walker House residential block.

Neptune

Status: Closed

Address: 51 Werrington Street, NW1 1QN

Former address: 31 Clarendon Street (1938)

Dates open: [1869]-2010

rebuilt 1900

Owner: Charles Wells (former)

Taylor Walker (former)

Notes: Now residential.

Prince Alfred

Status: Closed

Address: 17 Goldington Crescent, NW1 1UA

Former address: 13 Crowndale Road, Oakley Square [different site]

Dates open: [1869]-c2005

rebuilt c1950s

Owner: Ind Coope [Taylor Walker] (former)

Wenlock Brewery (former)

Notes: Original site was at the corner of Crowndale Road and Charrington Street.

Now demolished.

Shepherd and Shepherdess

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 53 Aldenham Street, NW1 (Dates open: [1869]-[1962]

Notes: Now the site of a school.

Somers Town Coffee House

Status: Open

Address: 60 Chalton Street, NW1 1HS

Former address: 32 Chalton Street (1882)

Dates open: [1869]-

rebuilt 1930s

Owner: Charles Wells/Yummy Pub Co

Charrington (former)

Wenlock Brewery (former)

From Old and New London: Volume 5. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.

… we arrive at Charlton Street. In this street is a publichouse called the “Coffee House.” The name seems inappropriate now, but is not really so, for in early times it really was what that name imports—the only coffee-house in the neighbourhood. “Early in the last century Somers Town was a delightful and rural suburb, with fields and flowergardens. A short distance down the hill,” writes Mr. Larwood, “were the then famous Bagnigge Wells, and close by the remains of Totten Hall, with the ‘Adam and Eve’ tea-gardens, and the so-called King John’s Palace. Many foreign Protestant refugees had taken up their residence in this suburb on account of the retirement it afforded, and the low rents asked for small houses. At this time the coffee-house was a popular place of resort, much frequented by the foreigners of the neighbourhood as well as by the pleasure-seeking cockney from the distant city. There were near at hand other public-houses and places of entertainment, but the speciality of this establishment was its coffee. As the traffic increased, it became a posting-house, uniting the business of an inn with the profits of a tea-garden. Gradually the demand for coffee fell off, and that for malt and spirituous liquors increased. At present the gardens are all built over, and the old gateway forms part of the modern bar; but there are in the neighbourhood aged persons who remember Sunday-school excursions to this place, and pic-nic parties from the crowded city, making merry here in the grounds.”

Star

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 10 Goldington Street, NW1

Dates open: [1851]-[1899]

 

Tavistock Arms

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 118 Stibbington Street, NW1

Former address: [now 196 Chalton Street]

Dates open: [1869]-[1915]

 

Victoria

Status: Closed

Address: 37 Chalton Street, NW1 1JD

Former name(s): Victoria Hotel

Former address: 105 Chalton Street

Dates open: [1869]-2006

Owner: Whitbread (former)

Website: Website

Notes: Now a restaurant.

 

[Beer house]

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 107 Aldenham Street, NW1

Dates open: [1869]-[1911]

 

[Beer house]

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 77 Ossulston Street, NW1

Former address: [or 77 Ossulton Street]

Dates open: [1869]-[1882]

[Beer house]

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 165-167 Ossulston Street, NW1

Former address: [or 165-167 Ossulton Street]

Dates open: [1869]-[1882]

Notes: It is adjacent to a Unicorn Yard in the 1871 census, so this may have been called the “Unicorn”.

 

[Public house]

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 126 Ossulston Street, NW1

Former address: [or 126 Ossulton Street]

Dates open: [1871]-[1874]

demolished around 1878

Notes: Demolished for a goods yard in 1878 (listed as “pulled down by Midland Railway” on 1881 census). Now on a site behind the “British Library”.

Unknown]

Status: Closed and demolished

Address: 32 or 42 Brill Row, NW1

Dates open: [1841]-[1861]

Notes: Possibly an off licence. This street no longer exists. The street was demolished for a goods yard in 1878 (listed as “pulled down” in 1871 census), and is now sited by Midland Road. There was a “Brill Tavern” in 1690 and 1780, so it may have been this pub or one nearby.

Pubs are associated with the earliest days of Somers Town. The Brill was a busy mucky farm in the 17th century, close to a brickfield and by its end, there were a couple of cottages but also an inn called ‘The Brill’ and an alehouse called the Red Cow.

Robert Babell Roffe lived at 48 Ossulston st and in his writings from the 1860s, I found reference to the ‘Old Boot’ public house on New Road, Somers Town, caught in a drawing in 1798, but at that time Somers Town stretched up to Cromer St, where the pub was. Roffe also notes that the residents of Somers Town used to pay a man to blow a horn every half hour by the Rising Sun on the corner of Chalton st and New Road, at which signal everyone who wanted to cross the road together would gather and go as one body – it was so dangerous after dark in the fields between there and Russell square in the early 19th century.