London street directory & pub history in 2018

I always promise to myself that I will add newer detail to my pub history sites. A while back I came across a free to use dataset, with no license restrictions, of the pubs that are in existence in August 2018. These are National listings, but I am currently working on just those in London.

The data comes from the food standards agency, and should therefore be of a high accuracy. There are just over 4400 open pubs listed, as in August 2018, in London Boroughs. I have therefore reciprocated these pages & data, already.

I though I would start to walk the walk through this data, to see what I already have on my pub history site, and more importantly, to see which areas I need to include in the London street directory. I have already spotted that there are bits of London which are not included, I should know this, as I live in one of these boroughs which was previously in Essex.

Other London boroughs which were previously in Kent, Surrey, Middlesex etc are a bit less clear to myself. My next updates are to include the Borough of Bexley, of which I know very little.

That’s it really. Updates continue.



London street directory, London pub history & Ubuntu linux

Well, the London street directory has been growing over the past hours, days, weeks and months. I am slowly adding more 1940 street directory as I find the time and patience in adding this. There are about 1000 pages, each of which takes a day, so you can see why it takes time!

In the meantime, I do not entirely ignore the pub history sites. Although these are well placed in the google search engine, it often surprises me as to how little feedback I get about the pages. There are in excess of 50,000 pages on my sites, probably a lot more. I get lots of annoying emails, as we all do, most are deleted. What often gets me upset is that many of my images, and sometimes content suddenly appears on twitter, pinterest, facebook or other random sites, often just because people think that researching something means copying someone else hard work, or just plain ignorant, whatever.

I have no control over other peoples ignorance.

As part of the London street directory, what I have achieved over the last couple of days is to build a new index to my London pub history site. In fact I have added a little more detail than previously. I am even moving slowly towards adding postcodes! One day, the site will be much more prolific in its history after 1940, but this will be as I find the relevant detail.

Moving on, I purchased a second hand PC & monitor a couple of weeks ago. It has windows on it. It also has a terabyte of storage, and a decent monitor. All for about £200. The machine does not have MS software, just openoffice which is the same as google apps. My son tells me he only uses this, as it does what is necessary, and is also free.

I agree, I never use MS Office apart from an old copy of Sharepoint designer 2007 which crashes all of the time, and am looking for something a lot better. I do use textpad, a free text editor, and for which I purchase a license for about £10. This software is invaluable.

So far, I have resized the partitions on the disk of this new PC following online instructions, and installed a free copy of Ubuntu as dual boot, and I have added a couple of bits of software, i.e. gimp, netbeans, Apache web server, and also logged into my google account which has copies of most of my current Windows desktop files.

My web server also runs on linux, and I am fairly OK with what I need to do to mirror my files on various different environments.

To my amazement, opening some of the files I am transcribing, in google docs on my linux machine, are immediately transcribed for me, and this will save me hours of work, I am at a new stage in my life where I decide whether to make the plunge away from the rubbish Windows environment (which is generally expensive and shit) to one where I am a lot more productive. In Linux, you can also run a small script to build or edit an entire file system or a whole bunch of files in a matter of minutes, e.g. I can create a entire sitemap in a matter of minutes. It is just a no brainer, I just need to take the jump. I probably never will, but the option is NOW available.

That is where I am at, whilst the UK as a whole goes through the brexit progress, of which I will not post any personal response.

London pub history & 1940 street directory & more

It’s late. I have just spent the day adding the 1940 street directory for Commercial road, east London and others. There are a surprisingly few pubs in this street, but not a problem.

Both sites, the London street directory site, and the pub history site now look a little different due to style changes, a grey background, and also a change in the advertising provider.

I then started to look at individual pubs, well at Shoreditch pubs, and started with the Acorn. I thought it about time to look at individual pages on the site, and make them  ore attractive, rather than just a plethora of facts / landlord lists. I have added the 1939 Electoral register to this page for Thomas John Bryant and a host of early history for a 30 year long licensee of the Acorn, with links to the Queens Arms – I will leave you to read the entirety of the story, for what it’s worth!

I did find the Hackney road listing in 1940 incredibly useful when comparing addresses in this road, and in particularly the Queens Arms. A damned blooming useful listing although I say it myself!

All my changes take a lot of time due to the volume of pubs listed, which is most of them!



A bit of background colour for the site

Absolutely nothing to do with pub history, part from the fact I needed the background to be a little more interesting than just plain white.

I googled the question, and came up with some really stupid answers, some bordering on people who should not post answers as they were not at all helpful, and downright rude.

What I did come across were two very useful sites, the first was about the gimp editor, which is free, and I will look at this site again.

The second, and brilliant site allowed me to create a background image in lots of different styles , and then download the example. The site was called and I did what I had set out to do. It was a very plain grey background image, I show it here, although I don’t know if you can actually see this.


I now need to work out how to add this as a backround image – this may work :

I altered the name of the image to greypaper.gif, and uploaded it to the site into the includes folder; and then added this detail to one of the web pages inside a <style>  and  </style>


Blimey, it worked once I edited it a bit. Well done me. I should point out that I spotted the errors by viewing the source code for the page – right click on web page in the browser, and view source code. The spaces were showing up as question marks, which I deleted in the page.

My next move is towards full blown linux web-site building. My site does run on a linux server, but I have always used Windows as a desktop. There is an very old piece of software which many people know, called frontpage, it then was renamed sharepoint designer 2007 – it just works. Unfortunately, it also crashes a lot, and I can wait for minutes for it to respond. I spend large amounts of my time waiting for this software to work properly, and guess it will get worse.

I am now looking for something similar which runs on linux. Any suggestions?



London 1940 street directory & pub history

The London street directory is slowly building, and that of 1940 is slowly being added. I have posted on the 1940 index a reason for doing this, which mainly ties up with the London blitz and also the excellent 1939 electoral register – the latter has dates of birth which are incredibly useful for anyone researching their family history. I am also adding links back to the relevant pub and its history.

I will shortly be adding Hackney road in 1940; the 1832 and 1842 listings are very near completion, and there are random 1921 streets. The 1940 directory also lists a far greater selection of London, i.e. all of it. Many of the more outlying parts of London were listed in suburban directories, e.g. in Battersea, Greenwich etc.

Another interesting fact is a new trend in google search. As google knows who I am, and the names of some of my main web sites, it actually tells me the average trending position for my sites, e.g. if I type a search for ‘London street directory’, my sites are averaging at 6.2 and 19.2 although in the top ten positions, I have entries at 7, 8 and 9 for various pages. The same goes for the words ‘pub history’ as a search, where three sites are listed as at 2.7, 6.4 and 8.5; there are many major sites out there that do not trend as well.

It is also interesting to note that writing a simple blog post like this gets noticed in search engines specifically as more interesting than any individual page on a site where there may be 50,000 pages. I guess because the wordpress posting is very recent, it is also in a more interesting readable format than many of my pages on pub history or street directories.

This is one of the better 1832 street directory pages, i.e. Great Ormond street ; 

I chose that page as google showed an early interest in it, and using it showcase how all of the other pages on the site could look as I find the time. There is never enough of it.

London pub history & address updates

Apparently, there are a number of pubs which have closed since 2008, maybe a quarter of all pubs. This is systematic of the property prices, and also supply & demand. I am not surprised. Many of the pubs I used to visit were awful. I always look out for a Wetherspoons pub if I want a decent pint and food, these days, anywhere I happen to be visiting in the UK.

I wonder what is the definition of a pub these days, anyway.

The pub history site lists pubs since at least 1832, and the addresses are often severely out of date. I am planning to start updating all addresses as I visit a page for a pub to its latest address. Even if this address is still up to 80 years out of date, hey ho!

I do pub history of an early address, rightmove does the later stuff, and considering they are making millions out of property, they ought to be sponsoring my site. Well, someone ought to be doing this. I continue to add later street directories for London

Me, I just keep slogging along with updating every day  about the history in a long gone era, which is far more interesting than the current valuations of a property.

Or maybe NOT.



London 1940 street directory & St Georges East

Another day of updates. There are hundreds of pages of the London 1940 street directory, and I have added a few for the letters of A & B, but now a first for C – Cable street. These are all just prior to world war 2 and the blitz of London. More on that to follow.

Some years back, I started transcriptions of this street, Cable street, in 1921. Latterly I noticed that a church site had used the listing and made a rather excellent page of history around this detail. Thank you.

Tonight, I have recently added the 1940 listing of the same street. My links all go back to pub history, not because I am madly interested in pubs, but they are the easiest buildings to fixate on, apart from the churches, of course.

As part of this update, and as I was adding links, this led me back to the Horns & Horseshoes, at 10 Cable street. The pub actually closed in 1997, but this is irrelevant.

As a mad fan of Dr Who, and in particular the latest Dr Who (Mrs), I have been particularly impressed with some of the story lines recently. They visited America in about 1950 when a black American lady refused to give up her seat on a bus; then in 1947 at the partition  of Pakistan and India.

Then I spotted one of my pub pages, the ‘Colour bar’ in 1949 at the Horns & Horseshoes. 

It would be astounding unless you factor in the problems with immigration and Brexit, and the untold problems for the Windrush generation, mostly caused by the current prime minister, previously the home secretary who caused all of these issues …. who knows what planet she come from?

Enough, the site is London history.