Hassrale Trips: Blackheath

Date: Tuesday 7th November 1989

Blackheath so named either because it was a former burial ground during the Black Death or more likely a derivation of "Bleakheath" because of the bleak environment at the time. What ever the answer the place does have quite a history. Wat Tyler gathered the Kentish peasants on the heath to march to London to join forces with Jack Straw to sack parts of London. This was because of the imposition poll tax. Topical aint it. The heath also saw battle when Henry VII defeated a Cornish army led by Michael Joseph. It is said that thousands of Cornishmen were buried on the heath.

Blackheath still prevails as a village atmosphere of those times but instead of peasants now read yuppies and stockbrokers who are probably the only ones who could afford the prices. There are only a few pubs in the centre of Blackheath so we have limited to five with the chance of a last one in Lewisham and/or a curry.

TRANSPORT

There are frequent trains from Cannons Park or Charing Cross. They all stop at London Bridge and the journey is little more than 10 minutes. Trains also go from Elephant and Castle but you will need to change at Lewisham.

On leaving the station turn left and just on your right you will find:-

1. RAILWAY TAVERN - Blackheath Village [6:15]
Beers: Taylor Walker Bitter, Burton, Youngs Ordinary

Comments:- Two bar pub near to station and with lots of relics of a byegone railway age. Extended at the back with a restaurant which will not be open in the evening. Stacks of room to sit. Real Fire Stained glass, screens. Also sells Newquay Steam Beer. A pleasant starting pub.

On leaving turn left back past the station and continue around the corner. On reaching the crossing cross to the other side of the road and turn left at the estate agent on the corner. You will then find:-

2. THREE TUNS - Tranquil Vale [6:45]
Beers: Bass, IPA

Comments:- A one bar pub in what probably passes as Blackheath's High Street. Not a shade on what it was under the previous owners and the place looks bare without all the toby jugs and the famous dog very cleverly named "doggie" showering its fleas at you. The beer is not bad though and was one of my locals back when I had to work for my living. May have some snacks.

The next trek is difficult only because you have to cross the road to:-

3. CROWN - Tranquil Vale [7:15]
Beers: Courage, Directors and Best

Comments:- A large one bar pub with lots of machines. Decor was nice staff friendly but the beer was a bit iffy. Beware of alsations. No food

A bit of a walk from this one. Keep walking the way you have been going but do not follow the road round to the right but just keep going straight. Continue along Tranquil Vale until it bears left into Hare and Billet Road and on to the common. Opposite the pond there you will find the aptly named:-

4. HARE AND BILLET - Hare and Billet Road [7:45]
Beers: Boddingtons, Flowers Original, Wethereds.

Comments:- Nearest you can get to a freehouse in Blackheath although it is clearly tied to Whitbreads. A very popular pub particularly in the summer evenings where customers sit out on the heath. It is from here that we can all march to London to hang all those responsible for the poll tax but even better we can have a drink. A very nice pub that can get very crowded. No food. Can get a bit noisy and some of the triallists were convinced that the floor vibrated. Who knows.

The trip to the last pub is fraught with danger. We actually head out on to the heath cutting across it at virtually right angles. The important thing is to leave the church which is on the Heath (Terry Waites church I am told) to your right. At the other end of the Heath you should find by another pond the:-

5. PRINCESS OF WALES - Montpelier Road [8:30]
Beers: Bass, IPA.

Comments:- Large one bar pub that seems to stretch back some way with a conservatory and bamboo type chairs. A real mixture of styles but not as bad as it sounds. There should be plenty of room. Outside area at back and front of the pub.

We have finished with Blackheath and on the trial we did catch a bus back into Lewisham and have a drink in:-

6. WHITE HORSE - Belmont Hill [9:15]
Beers: Courage Best, Directors and John Smiths

Comments: We have been here before a large single bar pub with central bar. Beer is always excellent. Very friendly

That finished the trip and if there is time there is a curry house not far away.

Original map from trip

Triallists: Dave Saffery, John Carter, Deborah Kirkwood, Edmund Featherstone, Paul Gillet

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