Welcome to London Pubology!
MARCH 2020 UPDATE: As I'm sure everyone is aware the COVID-19 disease has created a public health emergency in which the government has requested the shuttering of all pubs, bars and restaurants (among other communal social spaces). The key priority is ensuring that this virus does not spread too quickly, causing an overload on health services. However, sadly this does mean that pubs may be closed, and we should all spare a thought for the publicans and the staff working in these pubs, who now rely on the precarious support of the government to ensure they can survive. I am certain that when we get through this, many pubs and bars will be unable to reopen. In the meantime, I am not updating this website with any openings/closures (aside from ones reported prior to the shutdown that I'm catching up on), as the situation is too volatile at the moment. Please stay safe this Summer, and ensure you stay away from other people as much as possible.
I intend this site one day to be a database of all London pubs past and present. Currently it's organised by postcode area, and the pubs are plotted as accurately as I can on a map. It began as a way to catalogue the photos I was taking of pubs, and eventually I hope to have my own photos of all London pub buildings which are still standing. (I added a page for breweries also, but have not updated it since January 2016, as the brewing scene has been very active these last few years, though I hope to return to it in future and give it more attention.)
Use the links on the sidebar at the left to access the pages for each postcode. I will mention any newly-added postcode areas as well as other major changes on the Site Updates page.
If the site looks rather basic in format, and far from the flashy glamour to which you'll have become accustomed, that's because the site information is provided by one person (me), researched in my spare time, and the web hosting and technical know-how is provided by my friends from RGL.
What Is a Pub?
The reason that this site includes a lot of establishments you probably don't consider a 'pub' is because the definition of a pub (or 'public house') is notoriously difficult to pin down. In the modern day, it tends to encompass separate historical categories like 'inn', 'tavern' and 'beer house'. For my purposes here, I have included any establishment open to the public which is licensed for drinking (without requiring the consumption of food). This covers what we traditionally think of as pubs, as well as bars, though there is a grey area when it comes to the 'bar/restaurant', where a premises is primarily for eating but may also include a bar area for those just wanting a drink, or hotel bars, where the drinking area may or may not be particularly open to the public. Historically some off licences were given pub names, and may have even been built to similar designs as fully licensed pubs, and that just adds to the confusion. Inevitably, my selection will be idiosyncratic.
Key to the Entries
Please refer to this separate page for a key to the format of information in the individual pub entries, as it will explain some of the shorthand I use in the database.
Although there is a lot of information currently available on the internet (where I primarily do my research), it still presents only a partial picture of London's pub past. The further back in time one looks, the more fragmented the evidence becomes (many of the best sources, like Post Office directories and census records, only effectively stretch back to the early-19th century). I am keen to be as accurate as I can, but I concede there are likely to be errors in the names, locations, ownership and especially the dates I have for pubs, particularly as one goes back in time.
I have tried to include notes on entries where I am uncertain about details, but if you spot any errors, or if you have any additions, please contact me (preferably by e-mail), and try to give a link to my entry so I know which pub to update.
Links to Other Websites
I want my site to be a reference resource, but it is by its nature fairly basic. Further historical pub research can be done on other sites, such as the following:
- Pub Wiki (or Pubs History, formerly Dead Pubs)
- National Archives (Discovery)
- Ancestry (census and directory records; some require subscription)
- Historical Directories (University of Leicester)
- British History Online (including the Survey of London)
- The Pub History Society
Review and listing sites carry information about current pubs:
Additions to the above lists would of course always be welcome! You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, please don't send me e-mails asking if I have more information about a pub. All the information I have is listed in this database, or is linked from it. Additionally, I pass on all the genealogical information I discover about the names of publicans to the invaluable Pub Wiki site.