for a London pub with a bit of character and history? This editor
used to live in London and escort historical pub tours. The
following suggestions come from a recently published book about
London and meet with the editors approval!!
Author David Long lists the
capital’s oldest pubs, some of which can trace their origins back to
1500 and beyond. David Long is the author of Bizarre London:
Discover the Capital's Secrets & Surprises.
White Hart, Drury Lane, WC2
With 'roots' in 1216, the White Hart claims to be the 'oldest
licensed premises in London' and numbers Dick Turpin among its
erstwhile regulars. (Turpin was born in a pub, of course, as his dad
had one out at Hempstead in Essex.)
Lion, Whitehall, SW1
The Prime Minister's local has been the closest pub to Downing
Street for years, but predates the street (which was laid out in the
1680s) by a good 250 years. Occasionally, PMs are snapped with a
pint in hand, an attempt to appear like they're one of the lads, but
rarely this close to home. (A working facsimile of the pub is also
rumoured to have been installed in a secret Cold War-era government
bunker in Wiltshire, somewhere for civil servants to relax during
the Third World War, but this has not proved possible to verify.)
The Cittie of Yorke, High Holborn, WC1
A pub has been on this site since around 1430 and, although the
present building is Grade II-listed, the Tudor facade is decidedly
faux and dates from no earlier than the 1920s.
Prospect of Whitby, Wapping Wall, E1
With early 16th-century origins, the Prospect claims to be the
oldest surviving riverside tavern and takes its name from a vessel
that frequently tied up outside. Artists such as Whistler and Turner
painted views from the tavern, and Londoners came here en route to
see pirates hanged at Execution Dock. But the building itself is
certainly not that old, as the original was almost entirely
destroyed in a 19th-century fire.
Mitre, Ely Place, EC1
The hardest pub to find in London traces its history back to 1546
when it was built by the Bishop of Ely for his servants. It is
popularly but erroneously said to be in Cambridgeshire, not London,
because the bishops had their palace nearby and claimed the land for
Narrow Street, E14
Established no later than 1583, and a rare Blitz survivor, Narrow
Street also avoided being swept away during the docklands
developments of the 1980s and the pub now offers one of the best
views of the river. It is owned by actor Sir Ian McKellen and a
couple of chums.
The Seven Stars, Carey Street, WC2
Popular with lawyers as well as tourists – the Inns of Court are
nearby, as well as the Royal Courts – the lovely Seven Stars
celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2002.
The George Inn Yard, Borough High Street, SE1
Famously the last galleried coaching inn in London, and now part of
the National Trust. Rebuilt in 1667, and still highly atmospheric,
it has part of the old stabling yard remaining and occasionally
Shakespeare's plays are performed outside.
The Old Bell Tavern, Fleet Street, EC4
Supposedly built by Sir Christopher Wren for masons working on the
nearby St Bride's church, the building itself is at least 300 years
old, although the likelihood is that pre-fire another tavern
occupied the same site.
Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1
Built in the 1720s, the pub takes its name from philanthropist
William Lamb who provided a conduit to supply the area with
relatively clean, fresh water. Its delightful interior, unique in
London, features etched glass 'snob screens' to enable guilt-ridden
drinkers to remain out of sight, and it boasts what is almost
certainly London's oldest working jukebox.
Forest Hampshire and Hamble River Area
This editor spent 'quite a bit
of time' in this area! Sailing boats were the main attraction,
maritime pubs the second! His local, for a time, was the
'Jolly Roger', this being where the boat e was connected with
The New Forest is a wonderful
spot to do gentle walks, there are even some campsites. The
surrounding area contains many attractions.
Pubs. For example
Beaulieu House home of one of Britains most magnificent motoring
museums. But during WW2 this is where Nancy Wake (aka The White
Mouse) and other secret agents completed part of their training. Oh
and another thing, the famous Rolls Royce 'flying lady' emblem came
from a previous owner!
The Hamble Valley region was
a centre for early aviation, particularly around two early
airfields; one which was developed in Hamble and the second in
Eastleigh which eventually became Southampton International Airport.
Back in 1910, at a time when aircraft were in their infancy, local
man, Edwin Rowland Moon, triumphantly flew his homemade Moonbeam II
aircraft from the fields of North Stoneham Farm (which is now
Southampton Airport) Situated on the outskirts of Eastleigh town, it
is also the site where the Spitfire took its maiden flight in 1936.
Its designer RJ Mitchell, is buried at South Stoneham cemetery
adjacent to the airport and a near life size sculpture of the
prototype Spitfire marks the entrance of the airport today.
Many famous aviators also worked at Hamble's three airfields, where
between 1913 and 1984 there were six aircraft manufacturers. The
first aviation activity happened in 1911 when Hamble Boat builders
Luke Brothers built a floatplane. The famous early Auatralian
aviator, Bert Hinkler, was test pilot for Supermarine for some time
during the 1920's.
During WW2 a group of the
famous 'Spitfire Girls' of the ATA were stationed to deliver new
Spitfires to assorted fighter station around the country
The fascinating history of aviation in the Hamble Valley is
explained in the free leaflet ‘Reach for the Skies’ and includes
local stories from the many local people who worked on the Spitfires
or flew them.