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The Walrus & The Carpenter

The Walrus & The Carpenter is the 1871 poem by Lewis Carroll from Through The Looking Glass: "The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things.” The pub is on the corner of Lovat Lane, formerly Love Lane in the C19th, when it was a haunt for ladies of the night.

45 Monument Street EC3
Tel: +44 (0)20 7626 3362
Tube: Monument

Shepherd’s Tavern

After the boisterous Mayfair – from which this now-upmarket area takes its name – was banned in 1708, architect and developer Edward Shepherd turned the site into a market and theatre, with duck pond and paved alleys. The dark alleys once had a reputation for upmarket prostitution.

50 Hertford Street W1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 3017
Tube: Green Park

This page concentrates on well crafted and unusual signs, with a number being the distinctive work of the former T&J Bernard chain, the name of a former Edinburgh brewery later used for some of its pubs by brewers Scottish & Newcastle.

Pub Signs

The Greencoat Boy

A charity school of this name once stood nearby, alongside a hospital, St Margaret’s, and the old Tothill Fields Bridewell (a prison for paupers). The area actually had five charity schools at one time, with distinguishing uniforms in blue, brown, black and grey as well as this green one.

2 Greencoat Place SW1
Tel: +44 (0)
20 7834 7894
Tube: Victoria

Adam & Eve

Adam, Eve, the apple and the snake are all here on this sign, with the Tree of Knowledge represented by its leaves. Petty France was named after the large number of French involved in the wool trade who settled here in the 15th Century: ‘Petit’ France.

81 Petty France SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7222 4575
Tube: St James’s Park

Lord Raglan

Fitzroy Somerset was aide to the Duke of Wellington for 20 years and married his niece. He lost an arm at Waterloo in 1815 and gave his name to the Raglan sleeve. At the age of 65, he controversially commanded the British Army in the Crimea, where he died of dysentery in 1855.

61 St Martins-le-Grand EC1

Tel: +44 (0)20 7726 47565
Tube: St Paul’s

Bag O’Nails

This pub was built on the site of a C18th ironmonger’s shop, whose sign was a bag of nails. Some also say it is a corruption of ‘bacchanalia’ – a drunken celebration for the god of wine, Bacchus. A former Soho pub of the same name is where Paul and Linda McCartney first met.

6 Buckingham Palace Road SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7828 7003
Tube: Victoria

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

The George

King George IV was described by the Duke of Wellington as “selfish, ill tempered and without one redeeming quality”. However, as Prince of Wales, he was friends with dandy Beau Brummell and architect John Nash who started the stylish Regency Era of 1811-20.

213 Strand WC2

Tel: +44 (0)20 7427 0941
Tube: Temple

Two Chairmen

The sedan chair was carried by two ‘chairmen’ and this signs shows them carrying a lady inside. (The pole on their heads is merely to hold the sign up). Mentioned by Charles Dickens, the chair was a clean and convenient way to go door to door in London’s dirty streets.

39 Dartmouth Street SW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7222 8694
Tube: St James’s Park

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