FARRINGDON AGAIN TRIP
Monday 1st August 1994
This is the final trip in the trilogy that began with a quick visit to Ludgate Circus and then got out of hand. It is "again" because there were previous visits in October 1987 and also on the 63 bus trip in September 1983, but these are in the dim and distant past. It abuts the area covered by Part II (Smithfield) and the thoroughfare Cowcross Street may allude to the existence of the livestock market, now moved to Caledonian Market. The first pub is handy for Farringdon tube and rail stations, alternatively buses stopping at Fleet Street/Ludgate Circus or Holborn Circus (501) are a short walk away. Using the tube station as a starting point, cross over Cowcross Street and walk up to the left (passing pub no. 2) you will find the first port of call. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. The Blue Posts - 86/89 Cowcross Street EC1 [18.30]
Charrington IPA and Bass; Fullers London Pride.
Name derived from the posts that marked the boundary of an area in the open-air market, but colloquially called Eugene's apparently after the landlord who used to run The Albert at St George's Circus (source - S Chenery!). This is a busy one-bar pub on the corner of Peters Lane. Originally much smaller, but the premises next door were purchased and incorporated, hence the extended address. Large number of tables and people packed in, the latter trying to make themselves heard over the noisy pin-ball machine. Food available including frog's legs and chips apparently! There was some conversation about the bar-maid's attire (too long/short?). Just up the road, incidentally is The Hope which according to the ELAC Guide opens 6.30 - 9.30 am, handy for breakfast, also 11am - 6pm. Alas it was firmly shut at 5pm on the trial so we are destined not to try its wares. Turn left, retracing your steps to ...
2. The Three Compasses - 66 Cowcross Street [19.15]
Ruddles County; Wadworth 6X.
Don't be confused by signs for The Standard Tandoori Restaurant, that is upstairs. Large, rambling and very wooden (sounds like some senior management one might encounter). The main floor area is stone-flagged with the middle as a "quarter-deck". Quite cool and well ventilated, especially if all the doors are wedged open, as we found. Cold snacks available "at all times". Cross over and walk along Turnmill St, then right into Clerkenwell Rd. Over at the pedestrian crossing and up into Clerkenwell Green where diagonally opposite is ...
3. The Crown Tavern - 43 Clerkenwell Green [20.00]
Ind Coope Burton; Adnams Bitter; Tetley Bitter; Nicholson's Best.
Much refurbished, huge Nicholson's pub overlooking a (now) fairly quiet square. Apparently condones outside drinking - viz. a number of tables/chairs on the pavement outside. Pleasant, capacious establishment with three distinct bar areas. Evidence of Muzak, but not over-bearing (in the front bar anyway). Note the snob screens above the bar counter. Now go down the slight hill to the junction. Turn right into Farringdon Lane (not Road) and along on the right is ...
4. The City Pride - 28 Farringdon Lane [20.45]
Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick and Hock.
Formerly The White Swan, a Charrington's (Toby) pub, this now comprises one largeish bar encompassing the premises from next door as a drinking area on the right. Fairly busy (even at 8pm, on the trial date). Upstairs function room, probably available as an overflow bar area (no hand pumps though), also a couple of tables outside, but bring your own umbrella. Now turn right and cross over. At the end on the left is ...
5. The Betsey Trotwood - 56 Farringdon Road [21.30]
Shepherd Neame Master Brew (3.8%), Spitfire (4.4%), Guardian (4.4%), Bishops Finger (5.4%).
Formerly The Butchers Arms, but renamed a while ago after the character in David Copperfield. Compact one-bar pub, predominantly occupied by staff from the press establishment across the road, hence the bespoke beer eponymously-named. There was a mass exodus of said staff shortly after our arrival (coincidence?), leaving only the type-setters and proof-readers to prepare for the task ahead. On leaving turn back along Farringdon St. and negotiate the crossing of Clerkenwell Rd. to go back down Turnmill St. At the junction with Cowcross St. is ...
6. The Castle - 43/45 Cowcross Street [22.15 or whenever]
Hancocks Best Bitter; Fullers London Pride; Shepherd Neame Spitfire.
Shuts at 10pm, according to the board outside. Traditional street corner pub within spitting distance of Farringdon Station (try it!). Extensive drinking area continuing through to the raised part of the premises at the back. Comfortable accommodation (basic tables and chairs). Apparently George IV granted the place a pawnbrokers licence after pawning his watch for money to cover a bet - no sign of "hock" though! As mentioned before, the Tube and Thameslink stations are next door or Farringdon Road is a short walk away, with access to other forms of transport (handcarts, barrows etc.). Now where will the fourth part of this trilogy be?
Trial run: Tuesday 10th May 1994; participants - Edmund Featherstone, Angela Roger and John Wright.
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