Old London Taverns: Historical, Descriptive, and Reminiscent

by Edward Callow

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In February 1900, a journal review of Old London Taverns commented that the author was annoyed by mistakes in recounting pub history. So he embarked on this chronicle:

taverns“He tells us of various taverns, chop-houses, bakers’, butchers’, and kindred topics of considerable variety, places both new and old. He has done good service in putting together these facts, which have, indeed, a great tendency to get forgotten or confused. [As an example]… Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese’ is, perhaps, the doyen of London taverns. Herrick speaks of the ‘Cheese,’ along with the Triple Tun’ (no longer a tavern), in writing to Ben Jonson. This building, of course, perished in the Fire, but its successor has seen guests as famous—Pope, Congreve, Samuel Johnson, Goldsmith, and in later days Charles Dickens, Mark Lemon, and Thomas Hood. It remains much the same, though the ancient simplicity of its bill-of-fare has disappeared. Mr. Callow’s book is one to be commended both for its text and its illustrations.”

This edition is dedicated to John Hamill, whose researches into the beginnings of Freemasonry have made him something of an authority about the rites that the ancient taverns sheltered.