Hassrale Trips: Tower Hamlets 5 - Whitechapel

Date: Thursday 26th October 1989

This is the fifth and final Tower Hamlets trip. The nearest station to the first pub is Shadwell on the East London line or on the Docklands Railway. There is also a bus No 100 that goes from Liverpool St via Fenchurch St to Glamis Road. If you go by train go down Dellow St which is opposite Shadwell underground station, turn left into the Highway, then right into Glamis Road, cross the bridge and on the left is the first pub. If you get the bus to Glamis Road, walk back to the Highway, cross the road and continue down Glamis Road.

The times in brackets are the approximate times of leaving each pub.

1. PROSPECT OF WHITBY - 57 Wapping Wall [18.30]
Beers: Websters Yorkshire, Ruddles County

The Prospect of Whitby was built in 1520 and is London's oldest riverside pub. Originally called the Devil's Tavern because of it's association with smugglers, the name was changed in 1777 in honour of a ship called the 'Prospect' which used to moor nearby and had been built in Whitby. The tavern had a good view of the Execution Dock across the river where pirates, including the infamous Captain Kidd, were hanged in chains until three tides had washed over them. The 'Hanging Judge' Jeffries also used the pub as a vantage point to watch his executions. Samuel Pepys was a patron and one room of the upstairs restaurant is still named after him. Beer expensive. Good choice of hot and cold food. On the pricey side but the only food available in the pubs on the trip. Although there is a choice of Indian restaurants near the last pub.

Turn right out of the pub, cross the Highway, continue down Glamis Road, turn left into Cable St. Turn right into Sutton St, turn left into Martha St, right into Watney St, cross the bridge into the shopping centre and on the right is

2. THOMAS NEALE - 39A Wainey Market [19.15]
Beers: Greene King Abbot, Sam Smiths Old Brewery, Adnams, Whitbread Flowers IPA, Fullers ESB

Well designed modern pub with open hearth gas fired fire. Predominantly green with lots of brick etc.

Turn right out of pub, walk on to Commercial Road, cross road, turn right and then left into Exmouth St. On the left is

3. HOLLANDS - Brayford Square [20.00]
Beer: Wethereds

The pub was founded by William Reuben Holland and is about 150 years old, established at least as early as 1837 and run by succeeding generations of the Holland family since about 1876. Many of the original Victorian fittings remain, and these include 2 cast iron mantelpieces and pewter shelves. Snob screens front part of the bar. The beer is still drawn by means of the Victorian pumps. A Victorian cash register takes the money. There may not be real ale but it is worth a visit to see.

Walk back to Commercial Road, turn light then right again into Sidney St and on the corner of Stepney Way is

4. ARTICHOKE - 91 Stepney Way [20.45]
Beers: Websters Yorkshire, Ruddles County

Large and welcoming modern pub with a well lit, leather seated lounge and outdoor drinking area. Photos of old film stars on the walls.

Turn right out of pub along Sidney St and cross Mile End Road to

5. WHITE HART - 1 Mile End Road [21.30]
Beers: Youngs Special & Bitter, Fullers London Pride

The pub dates from the 19th century. It is the headquarters of the Murphy family, proprietors of several pubs. It is known locally as 'Murphys'. The doorways contain decorated glass while the two bars contain rows of glass mirrors with etched flower and leaf motifs, and other mirrors with gilded leaf motifs. By the fireplace is a row of five flower mirrors, all different, depicting ivy, convulvulus, passion flower,clematis and rose.

Cross Cambridge Heath Road to

6. BLIND BEGGAR - 337 Whitechapel Road [22.15]
Beers: Websters Yorkshire, Ruddles County

The pub dates from 1894. It is near the site of the Mile End turnpike which stood at the junction of Whitechapel Road and Mile End Road until removed in the mid 19th century. The pub takes its name from the legend of the blind beggar of Bethnal Green. The legend's first part tells of Bessy, the daughter of the blind beggar of Bethnal Green. She is beautiful, an accomplished singer, dancer and musician, and she finds work in Romford where 4 men propose to her. These are a knight, a gentleman, a rich merchant and the son of a tavern keeper. Only the knight continues his suit when they all learn that her father is a beggar. Bessy and the knight travel to Bethnal Green where the beggar suggests the knight and he should 'drop angels', a procedure in which each throws money down in turn until both are penniless. To the amazement of everyone the beggar matches the knight coin for coin and the floor is swimming with gold. When the knight (and his family) have run out of money the beggar adds a final £100 to buy wedding clothes. The second part of the legend describes the wedding feast at which the beggar sings his life story. His name is Montford and he has lost his sight in battle, fighting for the King of France. He was rescued from the battlefield by a Baron's daughter, whom he married. His wife gave birth to Bessy. For forty years he had been begging in Bethnal Green. The wedding guests conclude that Bessy and the beggar are as honest and upright as they are and all live contentedly after. A later version suggests that Montford was Simon de Montfort's son, Henry, who, instead of being killed in the Battle of Evesham in 1268, had escaped and settled in Bethnal Green.

General Booth gave his first sermon outside the pub in 1865, and in 1966 Ronald Kray shot dead George Cornell as the latter was drinking a light ale and the jukebox was playing 'The sun ain't gonna shine anymore'.

Turn right out of the pub and Whitechapel station is on the right and is on the East London, District and Metropolitan lines. '

Map for Trip

Trial date: Wednesday 9th August 1989 Trial team: Ann Harper, Paul Tiffany, Barbara Waby, Reg Wright.

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