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The Grapes

By tony64  
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!


Tags: Photo journalism London Architecture Charles dickens Limehouse Pub sign The grapes Our mutual friend Humour and fun

Voters: VIKI, KevinWalsham, BERTRAM and 5 more

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VIKI 16 18 1 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2008 8:13AM
Superb close up.
13 Dec 2008 8:43AM
a very nice clear detailed image well captured Smile kevin merry christmas to all
woolybill1 Plus
16 39 79 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2008 8:51AM
Extremely well-captured sign supported by detailed history and reference. I always find "The Grapes" an odd name for an English pub which is supposed to serve beer, ale, porter and stout in preference to wine Wink
Of course the signs were originally landmarks for unlettered people, like the candy-striped barber's pole..........
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2008 8:56AM
I much prefer grapes to hops... Interesting story, and regarding the House they left behind, did you see The Money Programme last night on the current spate of pub closures?
tony64 18 204 9 England
13 Dec 2008 4:47PM
Hi Moira and Bill, no I missed the money Programme. How bad is it?

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