London & early street directories : pre-Victorian

I am working my way backwards on the pub history site by adding a whole host of early London directories. Other areas may follow, but my interest has always been in early London, particularly the eastern side.

As most of my research in London, largely contributed by Stephen Harris, and Ewan of the pubology site, has been of the London pubs back to about 1839; along with a few insurance records from the Access to Archives site. Strangely, I was never a big fan of the 1839 Pigots directory, but more recently, I am an avid reader and transcriber of anything for about this era.

Fairly recently, I have been working through the Holdens directories of about 1805 – these are great, and have lots of licensees and wine & beer & spirit dealers.

I also added about 95% of the 1843 London directory, and nearly complete. This  directory lists the whole of London, although like many of the early directories, there are massive omissions of complete areas.

The early Robsons directories are brilliant, and I use the 1842 directory considerably; whilst the 1841 Post Office directory omits a lot of detail.

Finally onto the current street directory I am working on, it is the Robsons 1832 street directory, e.g. here is the first part of the roads / streets beginning with the letter C.   It is fairly basic in its description of streets, but it does list public houses. This is fairly special for my research.

I am slowly adding the entire directory onto one of my many sites, with links back to the relevant public houses as I find them.

C’est tout.




London to France

I really shouldn’t be writing this now, as I have just returned from an excellent couple of weeks in central Brittany, wow. Returning home about 2.30 am to the London area.

What a beautiful place, particularly along the Blavet river / canal. We had a gite overlooking the river, and were impressed with the amazing wildlife which included the siting of an otter family every evening for a whole week. And much more. Gites are also amazing value, and I wish we had tried them out earlier in our lives.

We travelled using the eurotunnel service, which is pretty brilliant occasionally (not very often); but these days always has an added sting. Both our trips to and from France were in the middle of the night, partly for financial reasons, but also because we know the service is pretty shit to most travellers, most of the time.

This was confirmed by the many stories today of six hour waits to get from England to France today, daytime. It made the BBC news two days running and channel four news. Our outbound trip at 2.20 am was held up for two hours for no reason, and I have to say that we will not be using Eurotunnel again, ever. There are no penalties for this company, as there are for general train services, and airlines; but eurotunnel manage to treat the average user indifferently, whilst their premium customers jump to the front of the queue.

The inbound trip tonight was not held up, much, but we were unable to book in earlier if more than two hours before departure. We might as well book a ferry, at least you know when the travel time will be, and at the same price.

I should point out that every time we have travelled with eurotunnel over the past few years ( maybe 5), it has been fraught with difficulties, and always with those who pay a premium getting a far better service, we wasted half a tank of petrol one time, with the endless queues around countless waiting zones organised by the eurotunnel company.

The main upside to this story is that Calais is now starting to look good again. I know the town has had its share of problems with migrant camps etc, but we had a rather excellent meal at a restaurant / bar which is very close to the Hotel de Ville. I am pretty sure it is the Au Calice see trip advisor link. I did not eat, but my wifes meal looked excellent, the service was brilliant. We were just killing time waiting for the famous shite eurotunnel.



Early London pub history & 1832 street directory

As you may know, I write sites about pub history. I am always looking to find new ways to advertise this, and to be honest, I often struggle to find the pubs I am searching for. This is not the fact that they are not on the site, just with a differing address; or sometimes the search engine just cannot find the pub.

Over the past few weeks or so, I have been looking at early street directories of London . My idea of an early directory was in 1839, now I am looking at 1833, 1811 and 1805 etc. All these directories are pre-Victorian, i.e George III was on the throne from 1760 to 1820; then George IV until 1820; and William IV until 1836.

And with this in mind, and the fact the search engine on the site often struggles to find early addresses in London, why not create an early street directory? It is a great idea, and keeps me busy in my retirement! Plus, there are very few sites in which you can search by pub or address, usually just surname.

As usual, most people would think this is mad, but this is what I do.

So, the site is building slowly, and it will take a few weeks / months / years; but here is an excellent example – Borough High street, Southwark.

More in a few weeks.


London pub history and mobile phones

I have spent the last few weeks trying to get round google and their prolific issues with mobile usability on my London pub history site. I do have a mobile phone, but I would rather use a desktop rather than a mobile and / or laptop, it sort of goes over my head a little.

Anyway, as I am struggling with understanding what the issues are according to “google webmaster tools”, and I am getting fed up with all of the morons emailing me who say they can fix me, I thought I would actually try it myself, on a real mobile phone. I have one, it is normally plugged in to recharge the battery, but I have a phone.

First impressions on the pub history site, via mobile, it’s crap – too many adverts! I know they pay for the site, but it is pointless having a site where no one visits. So, these are going shortly. I shall do this now, and then continue with this rather random chat. What I could actually do is add the links to the top level navigation with a drop down, this would probably work.

OK, so a few fixes made, and more tomorrow when I will add all of the Counties into a dropdown menu. I cannot do this at the moment, as I am tired.

So, what has this all to do with London history? WELL, rather a lot. I spend up to 16 hours a day, sometimes more adding new (old) detail to the site about pub history, mostly London; I have a host of sites all linked which follow this same trend. The sites are amazing, I just don’t get the visitors I was hoping for, probably because I cannot write decent articles about a place, but just add additional detail which is amazing.

That’s what I do. BUT, tomorrow, I will revisit the main site, and get it mobile friendly.

And well done England, what a great world cup this is turning out to be.




London Pride, history, pubs and womens rights

A lot to cover in one post, but I don’t waffle much. Good luck to the lovely people at London Pride march tomorrow, and much love to you all. A good time to listen to some George Michael.

I am continuing to add sites about London history now I am retired.  a relatively new site is london19 which is actually now posting street directories for 1832, I need to update the title. An example is Holborn Hill in Holborn Hill in 1832; I think my amazing pub history site already covers this, but hey ho.

And women, well I received an email earlier about the Gunmakers Arms, in Old Ford road. In 1915 this closed and was turned into a nursery by Sylvia Pankhurst and the suffragettes.

The good thing is that there is a blue plaque commemorating this important site; it’s a shame they got it on the wrong side of the junction of St Stephens road.

Hey ho.


Early pub history of London

I have to write this about my research, and others who have helped me in this. The Early pub history of London is continuing to grow in stature.

Basically, what I am saying, is that it is amazing the amount of detail which is now listed on my sites/s on pub history for London and many other areas.

Just find a page, NOT one of the holder pages for the other additional counties, and enjoy the amount of detail listed. It is all very personal to the relevant publican / licensee of an individual address, and I cannot change this; or make it more interesting to others who are not linked to this family.

What the site is slowly starting to list is the proof that these establishments actually existed, and naming bodies in the buildings through that time, and they are usually live bodies. The other main area I am addressing is the old streets that originally existed and were devolved into new areas as they were redeveloped.

I am very keen to endorse the London pub history site as a major development in mapping old street names which no longer exist. I have not worked out how I am going to do this, but it will happen.

Enough for this post.



London Holden commercial directory 1811

Well, it is 1.53 in the morning, and I usually fall asleep on the computer about this time of morning. I think, I don’t actually know the time I fall asleep!

The Holden directories of London are rather special. They are really early, and also list lots of victuallers, wine and brandy merchants, named pubs etc etc. This is quite rare for early directories.

The only thing I am not sure about at present is whether the year is actually correct. I know most directories are a year out of date. The Holden directories are strangely organised, and I do not have an answer to this at present.

What has become apparent when searching on some of the very early entries, is that Whitechapel can mean Aldgate; there is no special code to work out where a public house or victualler is; and the addresses are also often quite short in detail.

The beauty of my pub history site is that there is masses of detail already added by myself, and Stephen and Ewan – particularly for these early entries, and this new detail can be compared to see if there is a pattern.

And life goes on, but with a better understanding of early London publicans and licensees, and also I am always looking  to add those long lost streets and pubs that disappeared two centuries ago.

Anyway, i am still awake, and its 2.01 am; and enough for tonight.