Modern history - the Hop Inn, Hornchurch has been voted CAMRA London pub of the year, 2021.
The Roman tavernae (taverns), the water acquaducts, straight roads, townships and villas, all were great mementos of the Roman way of life in Great Britain, followed 750 years later by the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, the building of the Tower of London, and many grand castles around the land, and opening of monasteries. Then Henry VIII stripped the cathedrals of their wealth, and his daughter Elizabeth I was the longest serving monarch, until now. Charles I lost his head in 1649, and 11 years later Pepys welcomes Charles II to London, followed by the great plague of 1665 and the fire of London 1666.
All the drinking water came from the rivers, and wells. Beer was safer to drink than water, certainly as towns grew and sanitation became a necessity. The modern pub was often just a front parlour serving up home-brewed beer; when every other house in many Hertfordshire towns was a pub.
My pub history site records minute details of research of people, buildings and streets from diverse sources, including Pepys diaries and taverns visited, pub tokens, newspaper reports, masonic records of meetings, Sun Fire insurance records, early maps and street directories, and surveys of London, windows and hearth taxes, licensing petty sessions records, census detail, births, christenings, marriages, deaths and wills. There are also a significant number of images of the buildings, business cards and other related material.
In addition to public houses, are the many coffee houses and taverns, Inns, chop houses and hotels. Many of these pre-date public houses, and many are now the exchanges for business, and formerly a place for meeting associates, reading newspapers and share dealings. Here are the wine merchants, victuallers, coffee houses etc in 1809 from the London Holden directory. I am building the latest listing on the london taverns blog. Here are many thousands of London listings.
Some of the victuallers joined the freemasons societies and their lodges. Here are some listings of the Grand Lodge memberships; and a second listing of Grand Lodge memberships. And a third listing, from a second book of Grand Lodge freemasonry records
Pubs are closing every day for a variety of reasons, mainly financial. During the early part of the 20th century, and in particular between 1904 and the first world war in 1914, a series of measures through the temperance movement, were executed where too many public houses were spoiling a neighbourhood. This led to the Licensing Act in 1904; which allowed Notice by the way of a Compensation authority to recommend to close down licensed premises for a fee, or compensation. The licences were of varying types, some were full licences, others were beer, some listed themselves as ante-1869 which meant they could have been bought for two guineas a year without any magisterial licensing issues as was the case in the earlier beer act of 1830. Here are a some newspapers reports on Compensation which also often aid in naming an early beer house.
Another brilliant resource was the Licensed victuallers institution. This had royal patronage, and therefore it was a charitable institution which was popular.
Many of the more astute licensed victuallers were involved in the
Licensed Victuallers Association.
This association was an insurance to protect members of licensees families, in times of hardship.
A considerable number of children, were named in a list of those most in need of reward at the Institution, and their detailed reasons. There was then a vote to choose those who should receive this help. This was limited by numbers. Those children who were lucky enough were then educated to a standard which enabled them to learn a trade.
Older ex licensees, or their wives, were sometimes offered a place to live out their lives.
The Licensed Victuallers Association is also brilliant in naming many of the early victuallers at a licensed house.
This history of any old London building, whether it be a pub, a church, or any other landmark that is identifiable in history is important in how to understand where, and how, London evolved through time, and what originally existed before the masses of modern architecture was built.