A to Z of Chiswick's Historical Ale Houses
Gillian Clegg reveals some fascinating facts about our local pubs
BARLEY MOW Barley Mow Passage, This pub with its rear entrance in Barley Mow Passage was licensed by at least 1761. A painted sign on the side wall (now practically illegible) shows that it once belonged to Chiswick's Lamb Brewery. It now belongs to the Spirit Group. An article in the Brentford & Chiswick Times in 1976 describes the pub as 'off the beaten track', but this was no longer the case once the entrance from the High Road and the garden were constructed in 1983.
BELL & CROWN A riverside pub which was licensed as the Bell & Crown by 1787, although it probably had an earlier name. It was acquired by Fuller, Smith & Turner in 1814 and rebuilt in 1907. The pub expanded into two adjoining shops in the 1980s and the large conservatory extension was added in 1984.
BOLLO Now a gastro pub it was originally The Railway Hotel, opened in the early 1900s. There was once a picture of a locomotive on the wall above the entrance but this has been painted over. The pub's name changed to the Railway Tavern, then the Orange Kipper in 1988 followed by the Bollo House before becoming the Bollo. The pub is now leased from Greene King.
THE BULLS HEAD This riverside pub was licensed by at least 1722. It belonged to Sich's Lamb Brewery later to Watneys and is now part of the Spirit Group. Two cottages on the pub’s right hand side were incorporated into the pub in 1972. A notice on the Thames Road frontage of the pub tells us that Oliver Cromwell was a frequent visitor to the pub as his sister, the Countess of Fauconberg, lived nearby and that he escaped through a tunnel to an island in the river, which is now known as Oliver's Eyot. However, the Countess of Fauconberg was Cromwell’s daughter, not his sister, and she didn’t move to Chiswick until long after Cromwell’s death. No evidence of the tunnel has ever been found.
CITY BARGE This riverside pub claims to have been in existence since 1484 when it was called The Navigator's Arms. However, it first appears in the licensing lists as the City Navigation Barge in 1787. It is named in honour of the City of London Navigation Committee's state barge which was often moored nearby. In 1940 much of the pub was destroyed by a parachute mine and threatened with demolition, but luckily it was reprieved. The old bar is all that remains of the original building and the conservatory extension was added in 1984. It is now part of the Spirit Group.
CONNOLLY’S BAR AND DINER, Formerly a pub called the Robin Hood and Little John which opened in 1862 on the site of an old beerhouse. It displayed this slogan above the door: `Try Charrington’s ale, you will find it good/Step in and drink with Robin Hood/If Robin Hood be not at home/Come in and drink with Little John.' The pub moved to the present building in 1897 (the words `Robin Hood’ can be seen in the stonework). It became Tommy Flynn’s Bar in about 2003 and Connollys in December 2006.
CROWN & ANCHOR This large pub was built sometime before 1839. It was altered and given a ground floor extension in 1882 and has been reconstructed since. It was the only pub in Chiswick belonging to Wandsworth brewer Youngs, but, in 2005, Youngs sold the pub and it is now owned by Capital Pubs. In 1992 Andy Bennett, manager of the pub, escaped serious injury when he opened a packet which exploded in his hands. This had been sent by the Mardi Gras bomber, Edward Pearce, who made bombs in his Chiswick garden shed in an attempt to extort money from large corporations.
DEVONSHIRE HOUSE Now a gastro pub this was originally the Manor Tavern. It first appears in a street directory of 1888 and a new building was put up in 1924. In the early 20th century it was famous for its boxing matches. It is now privately owned.
THE DUKE Formerly known as the Duke of Sussex this pub on the corner of South Parade and Acton Lane was a beerhouse by at least 1842. It was rebuilt in 1898 by its new owners the Cannon Brewery of Clerkenwell. Latterly it was a Firkins pub but in 2006 was sold to Realpubs.
DUKE OF YORK This pub was built to serve the population of Chiswick New Town, a development to house the influx of Chiswick workers. It was acquired by Fuller, Smith and Turner in 1834 and rebuilt in 1927.
GEORGE IV Licensed by at least 1771 as Lord Boston’s Arms but called the Boston Arms in 1790. It was acquired by Fuller, Smith & Turner in 1826, probably the year the name was changed to the George IV. It was rebuilt in 1931/2. It was one of the places where tickets for stage coaches could be purchased and in 1838 a George Cloud was running an omnibus service to the City from the pub. In 2002 a storeroom was converted into a function room and is now the headliners comedy club with live comedy shows at weekends and other events during the week.
GEORGE AND DEVONSHIRE The present 18th-century listed building by Hogarth Roundabout replaced an earlier pub known as the George which was acquired in 1791 by John Thompson of what was later to become Fuller’s Griffin Brewery. By 1826 `Devonshire’ had been added to the pub name and the arms of the Duke of Devonshire, who owned most of the land in Chiswick, to the inn sign.
THE GROVE PARK Built as the Grove Park Hotel in 1867, it was the first building on the new Grove Park estate of houses for the professional middle class. Being right by Chiswick Railway station the hotel was designed to attract visitors who wished to take part in Chiswick’s riverside activities. The pub is now part of the Spirit Group and the jazz evenings which used to take place at the City Barge have now moved to the Grove Park.
HOLE IN THE WALL Now a gastro pub, this was originally a pub called The Queen's Head which was licensed by at least 1722. It was rebuilt in 1925. It is now leased from Enterprise Inns.
JB BAR AND DINER This is a new name for the John Bull pub, for many years a venue for live music where groups such as The Who performed. The pub was built in 1853 with a saloon next door, put up a few years later, with tables for billiards, pool and `pyramids' (snooker). In 2004 the pub was sold to new owners and is currently applying for planning permission to alter the exterior appearance.
MAWSON ARMS/FOX AND HOUNDS This pub, backing onto Fuller, Smith & Turner’s Griffin Brewery has two names because Fuller, Smith & Turner amalgamated two separate licenses on the site in 1899 when the brewery premises were extended. The Fox and Hounds was licensed by at least 1759 as the Fox and Dogs when it was further down Chiswick Lane. The building containing the Mawson Arms was the home of poet and essayist Alexander Pope between 1716 and 1719. It became a pub in 1899.
OLD PACK HORSE On the corner of Acton Lane and Chiswick High Road, this pub was licensed by 1759 as the West Country Packhorse, the name changing to the Lower Pack Horse in 1790 and to just the Pack Horse by 1811. It has been owned by Fuller, Smith & Turner since 1808 and was rebuilt in 1910.
PACKHORSE AND TALBOT This is a venerable old Chiswick pub which was called simply The Pack Horse from 1698 until 1811and has frequently been confused with the Old Pack Horse (formerly the West Country Packhorse). A trader's token (these were used instead of coins) dating to 1669 has been found which mentions `Ye Pack Hors in Turnam Greene'. In 1698 some of the people who were plotting to assassinate King William III in Wellesley Road met in this pub. In 1725 when the highwayman, Jonathan Wild was on trial he called, as a witness, Hays of the Pack Horse, Turnham Green and it was the meeting place of the Brentford Turnpike Trust between 1764 and 1776. It was rebuilt in the 1920s and now belongs to the Spirit Group.
PARAGON, This pub is now a Smith & Jones pub belonging to the Barracuda Group. It was JJ Moons from 1992 and prior to that the premises were shops.
THE PILOT Now a gastro pub, the Pilot was built sometime before 1869 as a local for the residents of the large houses built in the area by Adam Askew during the 1860s. The pub was acquired by Fuller, Smith & Turner in 2005.
ROEBUCK The Roebuck, licensed from at least 1732, was one of the main coaching inns in Chiswick High Road and was where the Manorial Court usually held their meetings. The pub was known for its fine bowling green and its extensive stabling. The original building was demolished in 1890 and replaced by the present building with statues of Roebucks adorning the pediments. The pub’s name has been changed many times in recent years. It was re-christened the Chiswick Eyot in 1983, reverted back to the Roebuck in 1989, renamed the Rat and Parrot in 1996 (despite protests from local residents) and the Bird Cage in 2002. It became the Roebuck again in 2006 when it was bought by Food and Fuel which turned it into a gastro pub.
TABARD Designed by R Norman Shaw and built in 1880, the Tabard Inn was one of the public buildings put up on Jonathan Carr’s new Bedford Park estate. It served as Bedford Park's pub, restaurant and hotel. The Tabard is important in the history of pub architecture as it was one of the first of a new breed of pubs intended to invoke village inns of earlier years as a reaction against the grandiose Victorian pub architecture of the time. The pub’s original inn sign was painted by the pre-Raphaelite artist T M Rooke and tiles inside the pub are by William de Morgan and Walter Crane. It now belongs to Punch Taverns.
Details of pubs which have now closed can be found on http://www.chiswickhistory.org.uk
Written by Gillian Clegg and reproduced with kind the permission of Open Chiswick.
July 18, 2007