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  • Writer's pictureMarc Zakian

The History of London Pubs - Pilgrims, Phantoms and Parrots

Updated: Feb 27

In this fun and facinating British history podcast, we begin our story in Seven Stars.  Is this the oldest boozer in London?   It’s certainly one of the quirkiest.  Located in the heart of legal London, it features a museum decked out with judges and barristers wigs, and a pub cat that proudly sports a lawers silk collar.

history of london pubs podcast

Fleet Street is home to several historic taverns.     Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese boasts a literary past: Charles Dickens,  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and PG Woodhouse  have all supped here.  The was also home to London’s most famous pub parrot.

history of london pubs podcast  british history podca\st

Another Fleet Street favourite is The Crown and Sugarloaf, a typical Victorian Gin Palace style pub.  Next door is the Punch Tavern, which was home to writers from the famous magazine of the same name.   Around the corner is the Old Bell, on the site of the only pub built by Christopher Wren.

The George Inn is London’s only surviving coaching inn -  with a courtyard where travelling players could stop off and perform.   

Along the Thames we visit the Anchor, where Samuel Pepys watched the fire of London burn in 1666. An earlier tavern on this site hosted Shakespere's Bankside actors. 

We visit Westminster watering holes.  Including the Red Lion, which has a Division Bell that would ring when there was a vote in Parliament. And he Two Chairmen, once home to the sedan chair porters to the rich and powerful.

history of lodon pubs podcast

Off to Holborn to find the most haunted pub in London.  Then down to Docklands to a pub owned by Gandalf himself – Ian Mckellen. 

Across the river is the famous Mayflower pub, where the pilgrim fathers set sail from in 1620 on their voyage to new world. 

Then to the Dove Pub – which claims the smallest bar in the world.  But had room enough for famous actors from Richard Burton to Rex Harrison, Diana Rigg and Diana Doors to get a pint.

And lastly to that East End icon – the Blind Beggar.  Hear the legend of the beggar, and the folk song. The pub had gruesome connections with the Krays.

This podcast is one of three podcasts about beer.

Listen to our history of London pubs podcast here:

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