The Horse & Groom, EC2

The Horse & Groom pub is on Curtain Road in Shoreditch.

The Horse & Groom, EC2. 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 12. Friday 10 June 2022 12:05

The Horse and Groom describes itself on its website :

Since opening our doors in 2007 the Horse and Groom has grown to be one of East London’s best loved pubs. Recognised as the original entrance for Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre, in 2012 we were protected as a venue and we look to keep Shoreditch drinking and dancing for a long time yet

TheHorseandGroom.net

The reason why the pub’s future might need to be mentioned is clear from the modern map. As you see from the 2022 street map, the pub and its neighbours are surrounded on three sides by a huge office and residential development “The Stage”.

The Horse & Groom (left) and its neighbours are surrounded by new build.

The pub not only survives, it thrives. Squaremeal.co.uk, a review site, says “The rickety Georgian boozer’s twin dance floors get hectic and steamy at weekends, when house, funk, and rare garage rule….”

Sketching in Curtain Road

I sketched The Horse & Groom standing in Curtain Road. At first I had a clear view, but cars gradually arrived, and vans, and delivery vehicles. I finished the drawing at my desk.

The pub is number 28. The building next door, number 26, is, or was, “Cincinnati Chilibomb”. One of the vans that arrived discharged a consignment of building materials. Construction workers started shifting tools and materials into number 26. So maybe there will be a change of use.

The building next to that, on the right of my drawing, must be number 24. Numbers 24 and 26 are listed, Grade II, Listing NGR: TQ3326982177. I cannot find any listing for the pub.

No 24: early C18, 3 storeys and attic, 2 windows. Rounded gambrel roof, tiled, with dormer. Painted brick with parapet front. Gauged segmental arches to later sash windows. Early-mid C18 shop front, with slightly altered glazing, on ground floor. No 26: house of early C19 appearance, possibly with older core, 3 storeys and attic, 2 windows. Stock brick with parapet, slated mansard with dormer, Gauged near-flat brick arches to modern plate glass windows. Ground floor mid-late C19 shop front.

Historic England listing

Number 24 is a fascinating building. What will happen to it? Currently it is gradually falling derelict:

Click and enlarge the pictures to appreciate the amazing carved woodwork on the door.

The huge buildings behind are described on the website for “The Stage”. The development has “over an acre of public space and landscape gardens surrounded by luxury apartments, cutting edge office space and prime retail…”

London is certainly a city of contrasts.

Here you can see the pen-and-ink drawing and the colour side-by-side:

pages in Sketchbook 12

The Artillery Arms EC1

Here is The Artillery Arms, a local pub, on Bunhill Row, London EC1

The Artillery Arms EC1, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 12, 30th May 2022

I sketched this standing outside the fence which surrounds Bunhill fields.

The Artillery Arms is near the Honourable Artillery Company. The Honourable Artillery Company is a regiment of the Army Reserve, and has occupied its current location since 1641, according to their website. It is very active: helicopters land there. Every so often there is a firework display which we can hear from our flat. At least I hope it is a firework display, and not the firing of actual artillery.

The pub is more recent. Up to at least 1852 it was known as the “Blue Anchor”, and became “The Artillery Arms” sometime before 1856 [1].

Here are some photos showing work in progress on the drawing:

I have sketched several other pubs in the area and further afield. Here is a collection:

The Crown Tavern EC1

Here is The Crown Tavern in Clerkenwell Green. The pub frontage dates from 1900, according to the historic buildings listing1. The building is Grade II listed. There has been a pub here for…

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The Fox and Anchor EC1

I set off on a warm afternoon intending to sketch a pub in Clerkenwell Green. On the way there, I walked along the north side of Smithfield. Down a side street I spotted…

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The Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

Here is The Horseshoe, in Clerkenwell Close. I enjoyed the way the pub is slotted into that corner space, amongst the taller buildings. The building behind it looks as though it might be…

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The Old Red Cow, from Cloth Fair

Here is a view of the pub “The Old Red Cow”, seen from Cloth Fair. The front of the pub is on Long Lane. When CrossRail opens, it will be very well placed…

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Rose and Crown, SE1

Here is the Rose and Crown, just south of Blackfriars Bridge. This pub stands amongst modern blocks: linking past, present and future in a swirling area of change. Behind the pub, unexpectedly, is…

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The Palm Tree, E3

Here is “The Palm Tree” pub, seen from the south. I have often puzzled about this pub. I pass it as I’m cycling or running on the Regent’s Canal towpath. It stands alone,…

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The Eagle, 2 Shepherdess Walk

Here is The Eagle. This is a very old pub, located at a significant junction on City Road. In the picture above, the alley on the right of the pub is called “Shepherdess…

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Note 1: Change of name of “The Artillery Arms”: https://pubwiki.co.uk/LondonPubs/StLuke/ArtilleryArms.shtml

St John’s Bar and Restaurant

Here is a sketch of St John Bar and Restaurant in St John Street, London EC1

St John Bar and Restaurant 6″ x 8″, commission

This was for a special client, a collector who wanted a small sketch, which is why it is 6″ x 8″.

Here’s a detail from the sketch.

St John Bar and Restaurant: detail

The collector kindly sent me a photo of the drawing at the framer’s, with its frame and mount:

Ready for framing!

A wonderful commission which was a joy to do.

3-5 St John Street – William Harris

These glorious buildings are at the south end of St John’s Street. This is the view looking north from the Smithfield Meat Market, Central Avenue.

3-5 St John St EC1, 18th March 2022 3:30pm, in Sketchbook 11

It’s a busy corner. I tried to show some the street life: couriers cycling, people sitting at the café, and people, like me, standing and looking. A little further up St John Street, on the right, is construction work.

There was a blue sky as I drew. But do not be deceived: it was cold, as you see from the person on the right, hunched under their coat.

Here is a work-in-progress photo and a map:

This is an ornate buildings: lots of fluting and complicated brickwork. Who thought all that was a good idea? Who could afford it? Number 1, on the left, slightly more restrained, was built for a Frederick Goodspeed, a grocer, in the mid 1880s. The architect was S.C. Aubrey. (reference 1 below)

Numbers 3-5, the building on the corner, has chimneys with all kinds of complicated brickwork, and a highly decorative frontage onto Smithfield. It was built in 1897 for William Harris, the “Sausage King”. He was a sausage manufacturer, and proprietor of a chain of restaurants specialising in sausage and mash. Mr Harris was evidently quite a character. He named all his three sons William, and all his four daughters Elizabeth (reference 2 below). This may have had practical problems, but it meant he and his sons could have fun with the Magistrates:

Woolwich Gazette – Friday 10 November 1905 from “https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk”

The “Sausage King” was somewhat eccentric, but this was to a large extent due to his love of “personal advertising,” which was his motto for business success. At all times of the day he wore a sort of evening dress, with an opera hat, and a blazing diamond in his white shirt, even when buying in the market, and he used not a scrap of writing or wrapping paper that did not bear his photograph. His trade mark, which he registered about forty years ago, depicts him winning the “Pork Sausage Derby” on a fat porker. His principal catch-phrase was “Harris’s sausages are the best,” and it spread the fame of his sausages all over the world. He also composed a lot of poetic advertisements, which caused much amusement.

This snippet from “London Standard, via the Montreal Gazette, 3 May 1912” reporting his death (reference 2).

He died in April 1912, leaving a considerable fortune. His death was reported far and wide, including papers in many parts of England and Ireland.

London Evening Standard – Thursday 06 June 1912 from “https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk”.

Note the reference to “William Harris No. 2”, that is, his second son, to whom he left all his property. I wonder what all the other sons thought – and the four daughters?

I am glad that the flamboyant house of this extraordinary man still stands. The architect was Francis John Hames, who also designed Leicester Town Hall. So you see what kind of league Mr Harris was in.

Reference 1: Thanks to British History Online who alerted me to The Sausage King: ‘St John Street: Introduction; west side’, in Survey of London: Volume 46, South and East Clerkenwell, ed. Philip Temple (London, 2008), pp. 203-221. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol46/pp203-221 [accessed 8 April 2022].

Reference 2: The piece from the Montreal Gazette is online at https://charlespearce.org/people/william-harris.html

I have drawn extensively in this area, both in St John St and around the meat market.

Here are my drawings of and around Smithfield meat market:

Boston Arms – relief print

This image is a by-product of the packaging print plate of the Boston Arms.

After I had cut out the packaging print plate of the Boston Arms, I was left with the “negative”: the top part of the plate. As it was on its way to the bin, I realised that I could use this to make another picture. So I retrieved it, and made this plate:

Relief plate*: top half is made of a biscuit packet. The bottom half of the biscuit packet was used to make the packaging print – see this post

I added a few people. This is a pub, so these are some people on their way to the pub.

I used this cardboard plate to make some prints. I painted it with shellac, to make it stronger.

Here are the prints, made on the Albion press at East London Printmakers. The prints are”collographs”: relief* prints.

I made the prints on top of some experimental monoprints made last year.

*A “relief” plate is one in which the ink is rolled onto the raised part of the plate. The raised parts print dark. A potato print, a lino print, woodcut or an ordinary rubber stamp is a relief print. This is by contrast to an “intaglio” print, in which the ink is wiped into the indentations and into engraved lines on the plate. The raised parts print light, and the lower parts print dark. My etchings and packaging prints are intaglio prints.

The Boston Arms – monoprint

The Boston Arms is in Tufnell Park, London, 178 Junction Road N19. I love the way this building presides over the junction.

Boston Arms monoprint 1, packaging print, paper size 21″ x 17″, on Shiramine Select Japanese paper

This is one of five prints I made with this plate made from a cardboard box of biscuits, experimenting with the “packaging print” technique.

The technique produces a twilight atmosphere, which I like very much, and seems suitable for a pub in winter. Here is a different print using the same plate.

Boston Arms monoprint 2, packaging print, paper size 14″ x 10″ Awagami Washi Masa Japanese paper

The Boston Arms is a Grade II listed building. The listing says “Dated 1899 in a panel on the Junction Road front. Designed by Thorpe and Furniss”, and goes on to describe its “Corinthian pilasters to the flat frontages, engaged Corinthian columns to the bow, all of black polished granite, supporting a fascia; scrolled pediments over former entrances with subsidiary pedimented panels between the scrolls,…”. It concludes on rather a flat note: “The interior has no original features of interest.”

It looks like a good pub. I’ve passed it lots of times, usually on an early-morning run, but I’ve never been inside.

Here is the map from the listing, showing the location:

Location of the Boston Arms (Historic England, listing)

Here is the plate from which I made the prints:

Print plate made from a soup carton
Boston Arms print, detail

Langton Arms, Norman St, EC1

In the late afternoon, I walked round a corner near St Luke’s, and noticed the pub sign.

Langton Arms, Norman Street, EC1 sketched 29 Jan 2022, 4:15pm, in Sketchbook 11

The pub closed sometime around 1989, according to https://pubwiki.co.uk. It is now residential flats.

The pub was in existence in 1842, according to “closedpubs.co.uk”. There was a nearby Langton Street, shown on a map from the British Library dated 1901. The Langton Arms is marked “PH”.

1901 map. Langton Arms circled. Insurance Plan of London North District Vol. D: sheet 17 (British Library) Shelf mark: Maps 145.b.23.(.d)

See how dense the housing was in this area in 1901. Here is the same area today. Langton Street has disappeared.

Norman Street area, 2022 (c) Open StreetMap, Langton Arms circled
Pub sign today

I sketched the closed-down pub at around 4:30pm, as the light faded. The pub sign is still there, but eaten away at the lower edge now. The street sign “Norman Street” is the same one as shown in a photo from 1958. It has “Borough of Finsbury” written above the street name. The Borough of Finsbury was absorbed into Islington in 1965.

This picture is a story of vanishing: vanishing street, eaten away pub sign, closed down pub, a missing borough, sun setting in January. Behind me as I sketched I could hear the squeak of gym shoes on hard floors, the other side of the closed steel doors to Finsbury Leisure Centre.

Rose and Crown, SE1

Here is the Rose and Crown, just south of Blackfriars Bridge.

Rose and Crown, Blackfriars SE1, 20 November 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 11

This pub stands amongst modern blocks: linking past, present and future in a swirling area of change. Behind the pub, unexpectedly, is a beer garden, giving onto a wooded area around the nearby church, Christ Church.

Above the arched window of the pub, two dates are carved in the stone work: 1787 and 1887

Above the arched window: 1787 and 1887 (or 1881?)

The pub’s website says the building “is thought to date back to the late 1800s”. The marvellous “pubwiki” entry tells me that the pub “was established in 1787, re-built in its present form in 1887″. They trace the landlords’ names and dates through census and insurance records, and note a John” Clark, victualler at this location, in 1789.

1789/John Clark/victualler/../../Sun Fire Office records held at the London Metropolitan Archives” (data from Ewan of “pubwiki”)

Sketch map showing the Rose and Crown, SE1, and the viewpoint of my drawing, 20th November 2021

The roads round here have changed names. Colombo Street was “Collingwood Street” until 1937 (London Metropolitan Archives, notes on photos). Before that it was “Green Walk” in the 1789 insurance records quoted above. Paris Garden was previously “Brunswick Street”. The area in front of the pub, now the Colombo Centre and a Novotel, is a bombsite in a 1951 photo in the London Picture Archive.

The area continues to undergo change. North of the pub is a huge empty lot. Buildings were demolished in or around 2019, and construction has not yet started.

The planning application (2019) is for 4 levels of basement and 6 buildings from 5 to 53 floors.

Planning application 19/AP/0414 from “planning.southwark.gov.uk”

If you walk into my drawing and turn into the dark passage to the right of the pub, you find this notice, written in stone. Recently another notice has been added, asking patrons to leave quietly.

By my calculation MDCCCXIX is 1000(M) + 500(D) + 300(CCC) + 10(X) + 9 (IX) = 1819

The purpose of the watch house was to guard the adjacent burial ground from body snatchers, according to the note on the London Metropolitan Archive Picture Gallery. Here is the watchhouse in 1932. The pub would be immediatly to the left of this photo:

View of Christ Church Watchhouse, record number: 113829, Catalogue number: SC_PHL_01_366_A8882 Photo date: 1932 © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London) Used under licence.

London Picture Archive notes:

“The Parish Watchhouse was built in 1809 and stood in the Church Yard until demolished in 1932. The Watchhouse was used to guard new burials against body snatchers. The Rectory, a new building similar in style, stands on the same site. Colombo Street was previously known as Collingwood Street.”

Here is work in progress on the drawing. You see the current rectory, which replaced the watch-house, on the right.

Location:

The pub cat, sleeping.

The Palm Tree, E3

Here is “The Palm Tree” pub, seen from the south.

“The Palm Tree” 127 Grove Road, Mile End, London E3, 28th September 2021, 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

I have often puzzled about this pub. I pass it as I’m cycling or running on the Regent’s Canal towpath. It stands alone, in a field of green, strangely isolated. Has it always been like that?

The Palm Tree stands isolated by the Regents Canal.

The answer to that question is no. It was not always isolated. It used to be surrounded by houses.

Its Historic England entry (1427142) tells me that when this pub was built, in 1935, it was surrounded by terraces of houses, Palm Street, Lessada Street and Totty Street, which have since vanished. The entry says: “the pub is the final remnant of a once built-up, industrial part of London, destroyed in the Blitz and in subsequent clearances”

Usually, an elderly resident will gesture to dense terraced housing and inform you that “this used to be all fields”. But in this area of Mile End, the reverse is true: this open green area used to be all houses!

Here are a selection of maps. You see the dense housing and close-packed streets in the late 19th century, damaged by bombs in 1944, and then replaced by pre-fabricated housing in the 1970s. The post-war prefabricated housing was demolished in 1977. In the 1979-85 OS Map, the streets are still there, but the housing has gone. By 1995 it was “all fields”, and the Palm Tree pub stands alone, as it does today.

The reason the pub has an entry in the Historic England listings is that it is Grade II listed. Amongst the many architectural delights described in the listing is the saloon bar:

The saloon bar, accessed from the furthest door along the north-east elevation, appears to remain almost entirely unchanged since construction. The higher class of the bar is apparent in the fielded dado panelling on the walls and on the curved bar counter; otherwise the internal decoration is similar to the other bars, retaining its bar back, chequered counter edge tiling and chimneypiece[……]A dartboard cabinet, possibly from the original pub, was reinstalled in the late C20. Unlike the public bar, which originally had only gentlemen’s toilets, the saloon was served by male and female toilets (set either side of the fireplace); both of these remain largely unaltered, with original doors and door furniture, tilework and, in the gents’, a Royal Doulton urinal.” [Historic England Listing number 1427142]

Reason enough to visit the pub when it is open!

Part way through this sketch it started raining, then the rain became heavy.
I finished the sketch at my desk.

The main colours are: Mars Yellow for the brickwork and plants, Fired Gold Ochre for the reddish brickwork, Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue, plus some Mars Yellow, to make the greys, and Green Apatite Genuine for the darker greens of the trees, with highlights of Green Gold. There’s a bit of Buff Titanium for the whitish tiled part on the ground floor. All colours are Daniel Smith watercolours.

Thanks to the staff and curators at London Picture Archive, I can add this marvellous photograph of The Palm Tree in 1971:

Palm Tree Public House 1971, LCC Photograph Library, image © London Metropolitan Archives (City of London), record no. 344336, catalogue number: SC_PHL_02_0976_71_35_340A_14A, used with permission, under licence.

Note the street sign: “Lessada Street” on the right which has vanished, and the brick block at the back on the left which has completely gone, as has the wonderful lamp-post.

Apart from that, it’s not very different. All around it has changed.

“The Palm Tree” from the North, 2nd Oct 2021

Mud Dock, Bristol

After a swim in Cleveden at high tide, I walked along the docks at Bristol.

I remember when “Watershed” was a kind of hippy place, half-derelict, half-dwelling, with a shop selling joss sticks, and a long smock-style dress in a wood-block print, that I should have bought. Or may be I did buy it. Or may be I agonised over the price, and waited, and thought, and now Watershed is a totally different place, with a cinema, and several bars, and they’ve mended the pavement outside, and parked yachts outside, and built a bridge.

The bridge leads past the art gallery called “Arnolfini” to the restaurant and bike shop called “Mud Dock”. I sat on a cast iron mooring post, and drew a picture.

Mud Dock, Bristol 22nd September 2021, 10″ x 8″ in Sketchbook 10

I did the pen and ink on location and added the colour back home at my desk.

This picture includes some collage: the slivers of paper on the bottom right are stuck on with rice glue. Underneath them, you see the “shadows” which I made by placing slivers of paper on the wet watercolour and waiting for them to dry.

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