Good Morning everyone and welcome to another ‘Pub-sign Saturday’
Today’s pub continues my walk along the Thames North Bank at Wapping, although now we’re in Limehouse and in an ancient street called Narrow Street. Here is ‘The Grapes’ and rather disappointingly also a pub once called ‘The House they left behind’ - a truly great pub name! I had photographed this pub on my last visit to this quarter some 10 years ago and was horrified to discover that it had gone the way of many pubs recently and closed down, converted now into a very ordinary looking house… a great shame. But at least the building still stands with its sign still on one wall!
Anyway back to today’s pub which is ‘The Grapes’. It is believed to be the same pub that Charles Dickens refers to as the ‘Six Jolly Fellowship Porters’ in ‘Our Mutual Friend’. It is known that Dickens drunk here regularly, as he did in many London pubs!
This is what he wrote:
The bar of the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters was a bar to soften the human breast. The available space in it was not much larger than a hackney-coach; but no one could have wished the bar bigger, that space was so girt in by corpulent little casks, and by cordial bottles radiant with fictitious grapes in bunches and by lemons in nets, and by biscuits in baskets, and by the polite beer-pull that made low bows when customers were served with beer, and by the cheese in a snug corner, and by the landlady’s own table in a snugger corner near the fire, with the cloth everlastingly laid…for the rest, both the tap and the parlour…gave upon the river.
He also wrote of the pub having a ‘dropsicle’ appearance, with not a straight floor, and of the red curtains matching the customer’s noses! Today, as then, the great attraction of the pub is its wooden verandah hanging precariously over the river. However, the wooden ladder which descended from the verandah, so that waterman could reach the taproom from their boats, is no longer there.
Well worth a visit if you venture into this part of London! Their hot meals are highly recommended!
Thanks for looking as always!
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