Bermondsey Pub Crawl

What better way to celebrate the opening of pubs on the 12th than an old fashioned pub crawl, making sure we’re Covid safe at all times of course!
[Licensee/owner information taken from 1900 Post Office directory]

Turning left out of Turner’s Retreat, we come to our first stop, the Horns.

There’s been a pub on this site since 1792. Hugh John Curley and his wife, Rebecca Agnes, were the owners from about 1882 to 1901. It was renamed the Final Furlong in the 1970s and was demolished in 2003.

We’re going to continue down Grange Road, past Woodlands Place on our right, until we get to the New Tanner Arms, on the corner of Grange Road and Ernest Street.

The New Tanner Arms was open in about 1843. In the 1881 census, Amelia Hone was recorded as a boarder. Thomas Higgins was the manager. Amelia was the owner between 1882 and 1910. Like much of Bermondsey, Ernest Street no longer exists, having been bombed in WW2. Bermondsey Spa Gardens was built on the site.

As we have got a few more pubs to visit, we’d better grab a snack at William Jones’ bakery on the corner of Woodlands Place.

Bakery on corner of Grange Road & Woodlands Place (New Tanner Arms is to the left of the lamppost)

Let’s cross over the road and head down Spa Road. While we’re walking, we can take in the views of the magnificent public library and the town hall, next door. Built in the 19th century, it was badly damaged in the Blitz and had to be demolished.

Continuing along Spa Road, we pass the old Bermondsey Public Baths, on the corner of Neckinger. In 1927, this was replaced by the new baths on the corner of Woodlands Place. We have a couple of pubs to visit on Spa Road before we stagger up Neckinger.

Opposite Neckinger & the public baths is the Queens Arms. Although still standing, it hasn’t been a pub since about 2008. Originally opened in 1811, it was owned by James and Mary Shaw from about 1822 to January 1854. All this drinking is making me hungry, so lets pop into Mary Reeves’ fried fish shop at number 84 before our next pub.

Next we’ll head along Spa Road until we get to the Crown on the corner with Dunlop Place. George Henry Bailey was the landlord from about 1895 to 1923. You can see his name on the pub’s signage. The Lion Brewery Co. was founded in Lambeth in 1836, on the site of what is now the Royal Festival Hall. It was a major exporter of beer around the Empire for over 100 years. The brewery was famous for its Coade stone lions, two of which still stand on Westminster Bridge and at Twickenham Stadium.

Continuing on our walk, we are going to double back along Spa Road before turning right onto Neckinger.

Neckinger or Bevington & Sons Leather Mills was one of the largest tanneries in Bermondsey, making leather for shoes and fancy goods. The mills were first opened in 1801 & continued making leather until about 1981.

Neckinger Leather Mills, 1931

On the corner of Neckinger and Abbey Street is our penultimate stop, The Fleece.

Another lost pub, the Fleece existed from about 1839. As you can see, the façade is still standing but the building itself has been converted into flats. The 6 flats sell for around £500,000 each and are ranked in the top 20 most expensive leasehold flats in the borough. No wonder the pub has disappeared!

Turning right along Abbey Street and staggering under the South Eastern and Chatham railway line, we come to our final stop. What better way to end than a visit to the Music Hall!

The Star & Garter pub was open from about 1794. The Star Music Hall, next door was open from 1867-1919, before becoming a cinema.

It must have been quite grand in its day and would have been a special day out for the local residents (provided they could afford a ticket). There is a description of the pub & Music Hall in the 26 April 1868 edition of The Era newspaper.

‘The Hall which, though without a gallery of any kind, will accommodate about 400 persons, adjoins a large, respectable, and thriving hostelry, called the Star and Garter, which is situated in the Neckinger Road, Bermondsey, at no great distance from the Spa Road station. There is a large stage, with a pretty back scene, and the place is suitably decorated and well lighted………
On Wednesday evening last the place was quite full and the audience was of the most orderly kind. Mr Chris Slater, the Manager and Chairman, opened the proceedings by singing “There are many worse off than you,” a “Song on the Times” and “I’m not so fat as I used to be”

Other acts included Miss Nelly Wood singing “The pig that won’t get over the stile” and Mr Orville Parker and his banjo singing “I’m off to Baltimore”. [Aren’t you glad we have Netflix today!]

By 1883, the stage had been enlarged but there were only 2 dressing rooms, one each for the male and female performers. The Star showed early silent films from about 1908 and by 1930, it was showing ‘talkies’. The Star finally closed during WW2 and, along with the pub, was demolished in 1963.

Its a sad sign of the times that of the 7 pubs in this blog only 2 still exist (as residential properties).

– Post Office London Street Directory 1900
– Information about pubs histories.
– Horns pub image.
– New Tanner Arms image.
– Grange Road image.
– Town hall image taken from a postcard sold at
– Bermondsey Baths image.
– Queens Arms 1946.
– Lion Brewery Co.
– South Bank Lion.
– Neckinger leather mills image.
– The Fleece image. @jpkevan Pinterest
– Star & Garter image.
– Captain Ureck poster. Wellcome Library

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