For my planned ‘culture’ day out this week I was delighted to be accompanied by 3 old boys that I used to work with in my last role at Barclays……I say ‘old boys’ – they are actually all younger than me
So, myself, Tony Gowers, Andy Bayes and David Wright set out to discover some of the pubs and a couple of other buildings, that were around at the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, and survived the devastating destruction caused – and, what an interesting and enjoyable day out it turned out to be.
Having had to deal with the Great Plague in 1665, Londoner’s were about to face another disaster a year later when a fire broke out on the 2nd September in the Kings Bakery in Pudding Lane, nr London Bridge, which then spread rapidly and uncontrollably throughout the timber built private and business dwellings.
Because of the design of buildings and material used, fires were not uncommon in those days, but because the weather had been extremely hot and dry, with no rain for quite a few weeks, this fire took hold with an extreme ferocity and spread rapidly through the surrounding streets and beyond.
The situation soon turned into a major catastrophe as the fire, aided by strong winds, spread across the entire City.
Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist of the time, retreated to safety at The Anchor pub on the other side of the River, in Southwark – and noted what he saw as he watched the disaster unfold.
Following 3 days of uncontrollable devastation and carnage, the fire began to die down and finally burned itself out just short of Aldgate in the east – but in its path it left only one-fifth of London’s buildings standing and destroyed over 13,000 private dwellings.
However, some buildings did actually survive the Great Fire of 1666, but only a handful can still be seen today – and some of those buildings were/are pubs – and it is these following establishments that we set out to track down and check out :-
>The Anchor – Park Street-Southwark
>The George Inn – Borough High Street
>Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Fleet Street
>The Cittee of York – High Holborn
>Ye Olde Mitre – Ely Place
>The Seven Stars – Carey Street
>The Hoop & Grapes – Aldgate
Other buildings we visited on this excursion that survived the fire and are still going strong today are:-
>41/42 Cloth Fair – off Farringdon Street
>The Staple Inn – Chancery Lane
>Prince Henry’s Room – Fleet Street
The following couple of pubs have absolutely no connection whatsoever with the Great Fire – but were paid a visit, simply because they were a bit quirky and unusual – and it seemed like a good idea at the time:-
>The Black Friar – Blackfriars
>The Champion – Wells Street (off Oxford St)
I have added a little bit of history about each location visited, to the photos taken on-route – which you may find interesting.
I should point out that we did not partake in a ‘cheeky one’ at every pub visited – because had we done so, then knowing my passion for necking down a ‘quick one’, we probably wouldn’t have got any further than the first boozer on the list
All in all a very enjoyable and interesting day out, shared with some excellent company :-)