You can search the historical London and Pub wiki sites by surname, street name, district etc.

Pub history - predominantly 1600 to 1940.

The pubwiki site is mostly about the pubs which have existed over the past two hundred years. Everything before this is supposition, and often wrong. The earliest taverns were generally referred to as the Roman tavernae. This is not entirely correct, as all Roman shops were actually tavernae.

Here are a couple of newspaper items, and like some newspapers, treat the articles with the usual scepticism.
Blyth News 08 March 1928
The Oldest Inn Which is the oldest inn in England?
Claim is made for the Chandos Arms, Edgware, just closed after an existence of over 800 years. But that is likely to be disputed, on behalf of a number of other taverns - notably the Popes Head, Norwich. The Saracens Head, Newark. The Old Green Man, Erdington, and the Bell, Finedon, the records of which date from the eleventh century. The strongest of all the claimants to the honours would seem to be the Fighting Cocks, St Alabns, which claims to be not only the oldest inn but the oldest inhabited house in England.
It is a curious structure of octagonal design, and is believed to have been originally built as a boat house of the monastery founded at St Albans by KIng Offa in 795 - "Liverpool Post".

Hendon & Finchley Times 02 March 1928
The "Chandos" and "Masons Arms"
The 900 year old "Chandos Arms" at Edgware, which had been associated with Dick Turpin, the Duke of Chandos, and the old coaching days, is to go and it will reappear as a modern house at Colindale. Its neighbour the "Masons Arms" is to be pulled down and rebuilt when the corner of Whitchurch lane is widened. At the annual licensing meeting for the Gore Division of Middlesex were heard.
The Justices gtanted Mr George Cheshire the transfer of his licence from the old "Chandos Arms" to a proposed new building in Colindale avenue, to be known as "The New Chandos" and they approved of the proposed rebuilding of the "Masons Arms" Edgware. The application in respect of the Wembley Stadium, which is now a greyhound racing course, was adjourned until March 16th. The New Chandos was at the corner of Colindale avenue and Annesley avenue. It was on the main road from Edgware road in the London Aerodrome and to Colindale station. In Colindale there were many factories and it was impossible at the present moment for the employees to obtain the lunches and refreshment which they required. It was to be a modern, first class public house where people could go for good meals and refreshemnt without having to travel a condierable distance. There was no full licence within a distance of about a mile. Major Savage, the famous sky-writing pilot said he carried on business as an aeronautical engineer at Colindale and employed upwards of 50 men. Mr George Cheshire said he and his brother had held the licence of the Chandos for 38 years. Transfer granted.

Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser 01 June 1929
The Old and the New.
The oldest tavern in England, with the exception of one at Chester, has been turned into a booking office for motor coach travellers. It is the Chandos Arms, Edgware, one of the old coaching houses, which, it is said, dates back to the days of William the Conqueror. Tradition has it that a back room was used by Dick Turpin.
In the next room is an imposing marble fireplace, which used to have a home at Canons, a large house at Edgware, built by the first Duke of Chandos. Handel, who lived for two years at Canons, was a frequent visitor at the old tavern.

Some modern pub listings, of fifty years ago, and sixty years also.
And all London pubs in 1961, and also in 1971.
London by postcode = well, some of it.

There was a time when the Watneys and Truman pubs were being sucked into the empire of the Grand Metropolitan chain.

Watneys (Red Barrel, which was later an appalling beer) and Trumans (slightly better beer) were purchased by the Grand Metropolitan chain. Apparently, Grand Metropolitan closed down the good breweries and sold even more appalling beer to the detriment of the brands.

The wiki states that Grand metropolitan bought the Truman, Hanbury & Buxton chain in 1972, and next Watney Manns; plus a host of other drinks related businesses including J & B Whiskey.  The problem was in 1989, Lord Young decided to cut the brewers monopoly, by reducing their size to 2,000 but in essence to sell off half of all pubs over the number of 2,000 by the year of 1992. The wiki covers most of this detail, and I will not repeat it here, but this is a list of about 500 Grand Met pubs in 1991 just prior to selling off to Charringtons - these are in London and also the South East (Hertfordshire, Kent & Essex).

You can research the 1939 electoral register at findmypast by address only, which is excellent. This register does not give masses of detail, but it does have a date of birth for a person, which is invaluable for proper searching of other records. Their services, are available, at a monthly or annual charge; or for free at a local library.

Stepping back in time again, we step back about 30 years to the 1940s and the World War, when great swathes of London and the South East were harangued by the war time bombing, and masses of London was demolished by the V1 and V2 rockets.  About the same time, streets were being renamed to remove the repetition of road names. I list each and every pub and beer house in 1944, and this is a very useful guide in researching back further. This pub history site largely covers pubs and beer houses in 1944 and the two hundred years earlier - including their street name changes along the way.

One point I always make is NOT to exclude the beer retailers. many of these were, and continued to be off licences. Other beer retailers are now the well known pubs that we have known forever (apparently).

It is also important to not to discount hotels as pubs. Many areas, not quite so much in London, list a considerable number of Hotels. These are not listed in the publicans, or beer retailer sections, as they are Hotels. You often need to search a particular area in this case.

I have a massive interest in history of any old building, whether it be a pub, a church, or any other landmark that is identifiable in history. I do love London, and its history, and do want to understand where, and how, London evolved through time, and what originally existed before the masses of modern architecture was built. My recent site on London history continues to build as I try and make sense of some of this.

My article on research of a pub will start to explain the differences between the different areas of London and the South East, and why some areas had lots of pubs, and some had none. I know that modern press is always going on about the numbers of pubs that have closed, as many are sold off for housing, and often in very desirable areas. The modern pub is getting bigger, e.g. the Wetherspoons, and relies on food to make a decent living. This is also matched by a change in where pubs proliferate, and you will also see find that many newer pubs were previously banks, or other commercial buildings, which have been re-invented as the modern pub; whilst the older, and smaller pubs close.

And Last updated on: Thursday, 15-Apr-2021 10:10:59 BST