The Pubs of Chiswick Past

Local historian Gillian Clegg on drinking establishments of by gone times

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Compiled by Gillian Clegg, author of Chiswick Past (1995), The Chiswick Book (2004) and Brentford and Chiswick Pubs (2005), all available at local bookshops

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BOHEMIA HEAD - Sometimes known as `The King of Bohemia' or the `Sign of the Bohemia' this old pub at the top of Chiswick Lane is recorded in 1632. It was probably called after the Elector Palatine and king of Bohemia who married the daughter of James I in 1613. The pub’s large cellars are said to have been the hiding place of some of the conspirators who plotted to assassinate King William III in Chiswick in 1698 (the plot failed). It ceased to be a pub towards the end of the 18th century and was converted into three houses in one of which Italian writer and patriot, Ugo Foscolo ended his days. The building was demolished in 1901.

BOLTON - The large building at 81 Duke Road was once the Bolton pub, built sometime before 1882 to serve the newly-built Glebe Estate, and was called the Bolton Hotel and Music Hall in the Kelly's directory of 1893. The pub closed in 1995 and the building is now residential.

THE BURLINGTON ARMS - The black and white half-timbered building in Church Street, known as the Old Burlington, is probably the oldest building in Chiswick, apart from the tower of St Nicholas Church, and dates from at least the 16th century (an Elizabethan sixpence was found under the floorboards). By at least 1732 it had become a pub called the Burlington Arms. The licence was surrendered in 1924. Outside the pub is a cupboard which is said to have been where drunks were locked in until they sobered up. The building is reputedly haunted by a tall man with a large wide-brimmed hat who disarranges the pictures and is nicknamed Percy.

COACH AND HORSES - The restaurant until 2007 known as Est, Est, Est on Chiswick High Road was once the Coach and Horses pub. It was licensed by 1761 and described as a `humble roadside inn’ frequented by market carts on their way to London. The `humble’ inn was demolished in 1900 and replaced by a `palatial building’ which, in 1972 when it had become a Schooner Inn, had a stream running around the main bar. The pub’s `inn sign’ was a full scale model of a coach on the first floor balcony. In 1992 the pub was converted into Jo Smo’s Bar and Diner and then to Nacho’s Mexican Restaurant.

CROWN INN - A large pub at the Gunnersbury end of Chiswick High Road, licensed by at least 1751 and rebuilt in the 1920s. It was demolished in 1957 to make way for the enlargement of Chiswick Roundabout.

THE EMPEROR - Originally at 232 Chiswick High Road, the Emperor first appears in a street directory of 1888. In c.1961 Marks and Spencer acquired the premises for an extension and the pub moved to Nos 304-6. It closed in the 1990s.

THE FEATHERS - This pub in Hogarth Lane was licensed by at least 1722 and belonged to Sich & Co of the Lamb Brewery in Church Street. Rebuilt during the Victorian era, the pub was demolished in the late 1950s to make way for the A4 and the Hogarth Roundabout. It was replaced with a pub of the same name on the north side of the roundabout in 1960. This, in turn, has been demolished.

THE GARDENERS ARMS - It stood on what is now the south-west corner of Chiswick Roundabout and first appears in a directory of 1888 when it belonged to Brentford's Royal Brewery. It was demolished in 1957 when Chiswick Roundabout was enlarged.

THE INDIAN QUEEN - The office building called the Pier House (formerly the Pier House Laundry) in Thames Road is on the site of a little pub called the Indian Queen which stood in a large square near Spring Grove. Licensed by at least 1759, it might have been named in honour of Pocohantas who lived for a short time in Brentford.

LAMB TAP - The building known as Lamb Cottage in Church Street was a pub initially called the Lamb from at least 1732 to 1909. It was owned by Sich’s Lamb Brewery which was right behind the pub. It was in the Lamb that an inquest was held in 1889 on Montague Druitt, who had drowned in the Thames. Druitt is one of many suspects for the Jack the Ripper murders.

PRINCE OF WALES - The premises currently occupied by bookmakers Ladbrokes was formerly the Prince of Wales public house (plumes of ostrich feathers – the emblem of the Prince of Wales can be seen on the front of the building). Licensed by at least 1792 but rebuilt in the 1930s it closed as a pub in 1961 and was converted into business premises with flats above.

RED LION - Licensed by at least 1722 this pub stood opposite the Draw Dock on Chiswick Mall where produce such as hops, timber, ships ropes etc for Chiswick industries was unloaded. Fuller, Smith & Turner surrendered the licence in 1913 and it became a private residence, now called Red Lion House.

THE SHIP INN - Ship House on Strand on the Green was the Ship Inn, licensed by 1722 and closed in 1910 when it was converted into a private house.

THE STEAM PACKET - Cafe Rouge at Strand on the Green now occupies the premises of the Steam Packet pub which was licensed by 1870. The pub's name comes from the steam launches which used to dock at Kew Pier opposite the pub as part of the regular steam packet service up the river. The pub closed in the early 1980s when it became the Dome Cafe.

THE WHITE SWAN - The building that used to be the White Swan pub in Bennett Street can be seen from the A4 (opposite the gate to Hogarth’s House). An old beerhouse was probably on this site from at least 1847. In the 1920s the White Swan was famous for its linnet-singing competitions. When the black cloth on top of the caged birds was removed the linnets began to sing and customers placed bets on which bird would sing the longest. In the early 1980s Charringtons sold the pub and it was converted into offices in 1983.

THE WINDMILL - Balan’s Restaurant in Chiswick High Road marks the site of a pub called the Windmill - so named because it stood near the windmill north of the High Road shown on a road map of 1675. Licensed as the Windmill and Wheatsheaf by 1722, the Windmill and Swan in 1765 but just the Windmill in 1839, it was acquired by Fuller, Smith & Turner in 1802. A grandiose Victorian edifice replaced the previous pub in 1900. This in turn was demolished in 1964 to make way for an office block with the pub incorporated into the ground floor. For many years this was the headquarters of fast-food chain Wimpys but is now flats. The Windmill was renamed Jack Stamps Beerhouse in the mid 1990s but closed in 2005.

These are the names of some other Chiswick pubs, now gone, which we know little about: Belmont Arms in Belmont Terrace; Bricklayers Arms, Chiswick High Road; Coopers Arms in Devonshire Street; Harrow; Hog and Dog; Life Guardsman, 43 Hogarth Lane; Nags Head; Prince of Wales, 171 Devonshire Road; Raindeer; Rose and Crown; Ship at Anchor, Chiswick High Road; Thistle and Crown; Three Horseshoes; White Bear; White Lion; Whetstone and Bear; Yew Tree.

Compiled by Gillian Clegg, author of Chiswick Past (1995), The Chiswick Book (2004) and Brentford and Chiswick Pubs (2005), all available at local bookshops.

The full article can be read on the Chiswick History website.


February 21, 2009