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Three Hats, 19 Islington High street, Clerkenwell N1

Clerkenwell pub history index

Historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels.

Residents at this address.

It is particularly alluded to by Mawworm, in BickerstafFs comedy of " The Hypocrite ;" wherein he says, "Till I went after him (Dr. Cantwell), I was always roving after fantastical delights. I used to go to the Three Hats at Islington. It is a public-house. Mayhap your ladyship may know it." In a field behind the Three Hats, one of the first Equestrian Performers in England exhibited in 1758, - the celebrated Irishman, Thomas Johnson, who is represented in a plate in the Grand Magazine, published in the same year, riding on two, three, and four horses, in Astley's manner, and is there termed the "Tartar."' He was succeeded here by the no less eminent Mr. Sampson, in 1767, who had an opponent named Price, who displayed his equestrian talents at an adjacent place of amusement, called Dobney's Gardens. The exhibition of these two heroes so near to one spot, caused no small degree of jealousy between them; but Price contriving to render Sampson incapable of riding on horseback, by ensnaring him into gay company, the latter was obliged to dispose of his stock' to one Coningham, who performed at the Three Hats in 1771. But, about this period, this once popular place of resort fell into disuse, in consequence of the celebrated Hughes and Astley establishing themselves in St. George's-fields; and, although it remained as a "tea-gardens" for many years, it is now a mere public-house and wine-vaults.

In the neighbourhood of the Three Hats were the "Dobney's" pleasant tea-gardens and bowling-green, which occupied the ground between White Lion-street and Winchester-place, and were established at least as far back as the year 1718; they were also known as the Jubilee-gardens, and had boxes for refreshments, painted with different scenes from Shakspeare's plays. Soon after the death of Mrs. Ann Dobney, who kept the house many years, and died in 1760, aged eighty-six, the proprietor, anxious to extend his business, called in the aid of Price, an equestrian performer; and as the boxes surrounded the spacious bowling green, a circle was formed on it, and an amphitheatre was at once made, with little trouble or expenses. In 1769, "Johnson's Prospect and Bowling-green-house," as the place was then.   - St Mary Islington History 1842

"Yesterday his Royal Highness the Duke of York was at the Three Hats at Islington, to see the extraordinary feats of horsemanship exhibited there. There were near 500 spectators." July 17, 1766.   - St Mary Islington History 1842

3 "Horsemanship, April 29, 1767.
Mr. Sampson will begin his famous feats of horse-manship next Monday, at a commodious place built for that purpose, in a field adjoining the Three Hats at Islington, where he intends to continue his performance during the summer season. The doors to be opened at four, and Mr. Sampson will mount at five. Admittance 1s. each. A proper band of music is engaged for the entertainment of those ladies and gentlemen who are pleased to honour him with their company."
At Mr. Dingley's, the Three Hats, Islington. Mr. Sampson begs leave to inform the public, that besides the usual feats which he exhibits, Mrs. Sampson, to diversify the entertainment, and prove that the Fair Sex are by no means inferior to the male, either in Courage or Agility, will this, and every evening during the summer season, perform various exercises in the same art, in which she hopes to acquit herself to the universal approbation of those ladies and gentlemen whose curiosity may induce them to honour her attempt with their company."—July, 1767.
Mrs. Sampson was the first female equestrian performer; Sampson, in 1776, fitted up a riding-school in Tottenham Court Road, where he displayed "the grandest feats of horsemanship that were ever attempted."  - St Mary Islington History 1842

1789/Robert Beckerdike/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives *

1802/Frances Preece/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives *

St. John-street-road was, until 1818, called Islington-road. "On Tuesday next, being Shrove Tuesday, will be a fine hog barbyqu'd whole, at the
house of Peter Brett, at the Rising Sun in Islington road, with other diversions. It is the house where the ox was roasted whole at Christmas last."—Mist's Journal, February 9, 1726.

1822/James Henshaw/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives *

1825/Mr. James Henshaw, Three Hats, High street, Pentonville/../../Licensed Victuallers Association

1825/James Henshaw/wine and spirit merchant and victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives *

1826/George Harden/wine and spirit merchant and victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives *

1827/Robert Heathcote/../../../Licensed Victuallers Asylum and School subscribers *

1830/Joseph James Collins/victualler and wine and spirit dealer/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives *

1839/John Cooper/../../../Pigot's Directory *

The Three Hats, near the turnpike-gate, which was re-built in consequence of the damage its roof sustained from a fire, which destroyed two adjoining houses, January 6, 1839, was for many years a well-known and favourite place of resort.  - St Mary Islington History 1842

1848/David Edwards/../../../Post Office Directory *

1851/David Edwards/../../../Post Office Directory *

1856/John Emmerson/../../../Post Office Directory *

* Provided By Ewan


And Last updated on: Friday, 13-Sep-2019 13:59:41 BST