Chelsea Pub history index
This pub was established in the sixteenth century and rebuilt in its present form in 1889. **
Historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels.
Cross Keys, 2 Lawrence Street, SW3 - in February 2009
Kindly provided by Stephen Harris
Residents at this address.
April 1797/Samuel New, the Cross Keys, Lawrence Street, Chelsea
victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA
1805/Robert Horn, Cross Keys Inn, Lawrence street, Chelsea/../../Holdens Directory
1823-24/Daniel Taylor, Cross Keys, Laurence street/../../Pigots Directory
1826/Chas Spelt, Cross keys, Lawrence street/../../Pigots Directory
Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser 17 November 1828
G Gunner, landlord of the Cross Keys, Lawrence street, Chelsea, appeared to answer an information, for suffering labourers and journeymen to play at cards in his house.
1833-34/Henry Wakeford/../../../Pigot's Directory
September 1834/Mr Wakefield/../../../Licensed Victuallers association
1839/Henry Wakefield/../../../Pigot's Directory
Banbury Guardian 05 June 1851
Mr Shoesmith, landlord of the Cross Keys, Lawrence street, Chelsea has been fined £50 by the Westminster Magistrate, for having in his possession materials concocted to adulterate beer. A keg purporting to contain "X or American spruce", was found to be full of a preparation of molasses, liquorice and gentian. As this was the first offence, the Magistrate did not inflict the extreme penalty of £200.
July 1851/Mrs S Smith/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era
July 1851/Thomas Clark/Incoming Licensee/../../Era
Lancaster Gazette 25 June 1853
Bankrupts - John William Haylock, licensed victualler, Cross Keys, Lawrence street, Chelsea, Middlesex.
July 1854/Philip Hodges/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era
July 1854/Edward Evans/Incoming Licensee/../../Era
1856/Edward Evans/../../../Post Office Directory
January 1856/Edward Evans/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era
January 1856/William Clapham/Incoming Licensee/../../Era
November 1856/William Chapman/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era Newspaper
November 1856/Henry Bryant/Incoming Licensee/../../Era Newspaper
November 1859/John Martin/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era
November 1859/Francis Robinson/Incoming Licensee/../../Era
1861/Jane Tucker/Wife/48/Bridgelan, Cornwall/Census
1861/Ann Tucker/Daughter/18/Bridgelan, Cornwall/Census
1861/Mary Elizabeth Tucker/Daughter/13/Staffordshire/Census
1861/William Pettit/Potman/30/St Andrews, Middlesex/Census
September 1863/George Clarke/Outgoing Licensee/../../Morning Advertiser
September 1863/Randal Benjamin Nind/Incoming Licensee/../../Morning Advertiser
Era - September 27 1864 :
Cross keys, Lawrence street, Randal Benjamin Nind to William Isaac Cope
September 1866/William Isaac Cope/Outgoing Licensee/../../West Middlesex Advertiser
September 1866/Thomas Back/Incoming Licensee/../../West Middlesex Advertiser
1869/A J Foster/../../../Post Office Directory
1881/James Mortimer Howe/Licensed Victualler/40/Eastbourne, Sussex/Census
1881/Jane Wilson Howe/Wife/41/Fife, Scotland/Census
1881/James Mortimer Howe/Son/12/Greenhithe, Middlesex/Census
1881/Annie Wilson Howe/Daughter/10/Greenhithe, Middlesex/Census
1881/Robert Henry Howe/Son/5/Greenhithe, Middlesex/Census
1881/Jane Howe/Daughter/3/Greenhithe, Middlesex/Census
1881/Alice Blord/Servant Domestic/24/St George Southwark, Surrey/Census
1882/George Carey/../../../Post Office Directory
1891/Peter Astimore/Publican/48/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1891/Elleanor Astimore/Wife/49/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1891/Eliza Astimore/Daughter/20/Bethnal Green, London/Census
1899/Mrs Elizabeth Codd/../../../Post Office Directory
1900/Mrs Eliz Codd/../../../Post Office Directory **
1901/Elizabeth Codd/Licensed Victualler, Widow/46/Lambeth, Surrey/Census
1901/Wm Nelson Cleeve/Brother in Law, Shorthand Typist/54/Middlesex/Census
1901/Mary Cleeve/Wife/49/Lambeth, Surrey/Census
1901/Mary Florence Cleeve/Daughter/20/Clapham, Surrey/Census
1907/Mrs Margaret Mumford/../../../Post Office Directory **
1910/Mrs Margaret Mumford/../../../Post Office Directory **
1915/Mrs Celia Annie Bedwell/../../../Post Office Directory
My grand aunt is Frances Buxton. She was the landlady from April 1915 until her murder in January 1920. A family friend, Henry John Penn, took over the remainder of her lease. *
West London Observer 23 January 1920
Chelsea Cellar crime
Landlady brutally murdered
The inquest on the body of Mrs Frances Buxton, who was brutally murdered at the Cross Keys public house, Lawrence street, Chelsea, on Saturday night (being found in a cellar under some sacking which was on fire) was opened on Tuesday morning by Mr H R Oswald at the offices of the Chelsea Board of Guardians.
Frank Charles Buxton, proprietor of the Sussex Hotel, Bexhill on Sea, the deceased woman's husband, was the first witness, and he appeared deeply moved as he gave evidence. He said the deceased was 52 years of age, and so far as he knew. He had not lived with her for between 11 and 12 years.
Shepherd's Bush Man's evidence :
Henry John Penn, of 22 Stern street, Shepherd's Bush, a ball finishers assistant, stated that he was a friend of the deceased woman. He had known her about ten years. Before coming to the Cross Keys, four or five years ago, she had been licensee of the Old George, at Kensington, and the Star at Isleworth.
Asked whether Mrs Buxton had a working partner in her business, the witness said that she took a working partner named Cutting at the Star, and he came with her to the Cross Keys. "I remember on one occasion" said the witness, "Mrs Buxton came to my place at Shepherd's Bush, and asked me to come over and stay the night at her house to protect her, as this Mr Cutting had attacked her and held her down". He should say that was about three years ago. He had on occasions assisted Mrs Buxton with her business. He was last at the house on Thursday.
The Coroner : On Thursday when you were there, did you see any strange customers?
Witness : Yes I saw a tall man in the private bar next to the street. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall. He was wearing, I believe, a brown coat and a blue suit of clothes. That was about half past one.
Had you seen him before, or have you seen him since? No, never. There were others in the bar, but they were regular customers.
What struck you about him? He was sitting at the back, and he was all on the move. (Witness imitated the way the man was glancing about). Mrs Buxton was nicely dressed and was in the habit of wearing diamond rings and brooches in the bar, and he kept looking at her over the counter, and I could not help noticing that there was something funny about him.
You mean he was taking special notice of Mrs Buxton? Yes. He took no notice of the customers in the bar, but only of Mrs Buxton.
Did you mention this to Mrs Buxton? I remained in the bar till the house shut, and I then went into the sitting room behind the saloon bar. I remained there the whole of the afternoon, talking to Mrs Buxton.
I said to her in an inocular way. "I see there was someone in the bar trying to give you the glad eye". She said "Yes. That man has been foxing me. I have got him set. She used words to the effect that he had been taking stock of her, but she only said it in a jocular way.
Witness explained that he left the Cross Keys about half past six on the Thursday, after putting on the lights for Mrs Buxton. Mrs Buxton was in the habit of keeping a lot of notes about her, and banking a great deal at a time. He had often spoken to her about this. He reckoned that the days takings would be about £12 or £13 on Saturday, but she might have had £60 or £80 in the house. It all depended upon when she had last banked. She had a safe, but had to break it open about two years ago as she had lost the key, "and it contained the club money or something", said witness. She had not had it repaired since.
Dr R B Ellworthy stated that there was a fracture of the skull. There was evidence of a certain amount of suffocation, but he held that suffocation was only one of the auxiliary causes of death. The woman died from heart failure due to shock and concussion from the blow or blows on the head, and her heart failure was accelerated by strangulation.
The inquiry was adjourned to February 3rd
1921/John Jelly/../../../Post Office Directory **
1934/Hy Sisson Hyde/../../../Kellys Directory
1938 - 1940/Herbert James Swain/../../../Post Office Directory
1944/William J Jones, Cross Keys, 2 Lawrence Street SW3/../../Post Office Directory
Chelsea News and General Advertiser 14 September 1951
Bill Jones, previously playing piano for the Dixieland boys, retired to running a pub with his wife, a native of Brecon.
Their first house was one in Shenfield. Later he moved to the historic "Jacobs Well" in Shoreditch, destroyed during the war. Thence to the Cross Keys, Lawrence street, Chelsea where they came nine years ago.
Chelsea News and General Advertiser 19 October 1951
A Chelsea Pub : Police Allegations
Police alleged at West London on Monday that during four nights special observation they found that the Cross Keys public house, Lawrence street, Chelsea, was "patronised almost exclusively by obvious homosexuals", and that their conduct was disorderly.
The then licensee, William John Jones, had pleaded not guilty to a summons which alleged that being the keeper of the Cross Keys he knowingly permoited disorderly conduct.
Westminster & Pimlico News 12 February 1960
Licensee dies after closing
Mr Garner A Wright, 65, licensee of the Cross Keys, Lawrence street, Chelsea, collapsed after closing the public house last week. He was dead on arrival at St Georges Hospital. Mr Wright was licensee of the Cross Keys for nine years. He was cremated on Tuesday. He leaves a widow.
1961/Cross Keys, 2 Lawrence street SW3/../../Pub Directory
Chelsea News and General Advertiser 20 June 1969
Mr Maurice John Herman Childs, aged 50, was found dead in his room at the Cross Keys public house, Lawrence street, Chelsea, on Sunday, by the licensee, Mr L C Wetherell.
Mr Childs of Cadogan street, Chelsea, a friend who had been staying with Mr Wetherell, was discovered at 9.45 a.m.
1971/Cross Keys, 2 Lawrence street SW3/../../Pub Directory
1981/Cross Keys, 2 Lawrence street, SW3 5NB/../../Pub Directory
Kensington Post 09 April 1987
Drinkers at the Cross Keys pub in Lawrence street, Chelsea, weren't about to let a few parked cars stand between them and their frothing pints. They rolled up their sleeves and helped landlord Arthur Goodall to 'bum' the cars out of the way so the brewery tanker could get past to deliver fresh supplies.
Eventually the tanker got through with three tuns of beer. While the satisfied customers toasted the success of their mission, five others drowned their sorrows. Their cars had been clamped.
* Provided by Daryl Poole
** Provided By Stephen Harris