10 July 2008

Ghost pubs

Many pubs have changed identity over the years but the ones I am particularly interested in are those that have the original name embedded in the fabric of the building, either as the name itself or a motif. Sometimes they are new pubs, but quite often another type of business has moved in downstairs, or the whole building has been converted into private homes. There are thousands of examples in London alone and shown below is just a selection.
Other pubs with historic value such as The Nag's Head, Holloway Road, N7 have no visual stamp on the pub to hint at their former identities, which is a shame. The Nag's Head was once the main pub of the area and lends its name to the local shopping centre. It is shown as a destination plate on LRT buses.
During the past 20 years the pub has changed owners and names a few times. In the 1990s for a short period it was The Mustang and then O’Neill’s took it over and gave it their nasty yellow and blue livery, complete with pretend post office. Then all the pub fittings were ripped out and for a while it become a shop selling household stuff like glass coffee tables and throws. These days, despite a campaign against the idea by local residents, it's an Agora gaming centre. But there's hardly ever anyone in there so I can only speculate that very soon a new name will appear over the door.
I find it all quite sad. But hey, perhaps it will return to being a pub one day...

Shown above is a selection of these 'ghost pubs'.
The current name or use in shown brackets.
Row 1: The Frying Pan, E1 (balti restaurant); The Queen’s Head, WC1 (empty); St Martin’s Tavern, NW1 (Kaz Kreol); The Nevill, N16 (residential); The Swan, E2 (grill); The Unicorn, N1 (Papa John’s pizzas).
Row 2: The Elephant (or Elephants’ Head?), E5 (Fitzgerald’s);
The Old Farm House, NW5 (O’Reilly’s); The Green Man, N1 (Nailworld); The Prince of Wales, NW1 (Positively 4th Street);
The Half Moon, N19 (The Quays).
Row 3: Princess Beatrice, NW1 (Tommy Flynn’s); The Anchor, N1 (Polsmak restaurant); The Hare and Hounds, N1 (Albert & Pearl); The Grafton Arms (The Swimmer); The Old Parrs Head, N1 (Jigsaw); The Wheatsheaf, W1 (Langoletto restaurant).
Row 4: Crown and Castle, E2 (noodle bar); The Three Wheatsheaves, N1 (The Outback); Hoxton Distillery, N1 (The Macbeth); The Robin Hood, W3 (Connolly’s); Cock Tavern, N19 (Nambucca);
Row 5: The Norfolk Arms, N19 (Chris Stevens DIY); The Spread Eagle, E9 (The Jackdaw & Stump); The Alexandra Coffee House, N19 (locksmiths); Royal George, N1 (The Bombay Bicycle Club); The Duke of Edinburgh, NW1 (Green Light pharmacy); The Griffin (?), E5 (Hackney Building & Plumbing Supplies).
Row 6: The Tam O’Shanter, WC2 (Scotch Steak House); The Duke of Sussex, N1 (Fredericks); The Weavers Arms, N16 (newsagent); The Huntingdon, N1 (empty); The Rainbow, N1 (private home); The Intrepid Fox, W1 (empty).
Row 7: An old Truman pub, E5 (residential); The Pembury Tavern E5 (residential); The Southgate Arms, N1 (residential) ; The Montague Arms, N7 (residential); The White Hart (empty).

A larger collection of my photos can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/janepbr

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