Imaginary Pub: Living Museum of London Brewing

Victorian or Edwardian pub livery

Just like the Brown Bit­ter Com­pa­ny, the fol­low­ing pub does not exist.

With­in walk­ing dis­tance of the Muse­um of Lon­don is a cav­ernous Vic­to­ri­an pub build­ing which, with the help of a cul­ture fund grant and spon­sor­ship from Lon­don brew­eries, has been ren­o­vat­ed and refit­ted as it would have looked in the 1890s.

This isn’t a sta­t­ic muse­um to be viewed from behind glass, how­ev­er – it is a work­ing pub, of sorts, spe­cial­is­ing in sell­ing beers cre­at­ed from his­toric recipes.

Bot­tles from var­i­ous brew­eries are behind the bar, with appro­pri­ate­ly vin­tage labels designs. On the bar, three hand­pumps for mild, porter and bit­ter, brewed to var­i­ous his­toric recipes espe­cial­ly for the pub.

In the back room, open dur­ing the day, and curat­ed by the Muse­um of Lon­don, a small but well formed exhi­bi­tion on the his­to­ry of Lon­don brew­ing.

This isn’t a place for row­dy booz­ing, and is there­fore com­plete­ly inau­then­tic in that respect. It is usu­al­ly filled with stu­dious types read­ing and scrib­bling in their note­books, as well as par­ties of beer tourists.

A par­tic­u­lar draw for geeks? The endan­gered beer guest brew pro­gramme.

Ques­tion for his­tor­i­cal types: does this imag­i­nary pub have the right beers on the bar?

8 thoughts on “Imaginary Pub: Living Museum of London Brewing”

  1. No, you’d need stout, Bur­ton Ale/Old ale and gin­ger beer on draught as well (see here. Won­der­ful idea, though. Can I be man­ag­er?

  2. What a great idea – walk­ing round Lon­don, par­tic­u­lar­ly the East End, you notice the huge num­ber of beau­ti­ful late Vic­to­ri­an and Edwar­dian pubs that have closed and been con­vert­ed to oth­er uses, maybe the next time a suit­able one is threat­ened we should be lob­by­ing the Nation­al Trust to step in (I think they already own The George in South­wark, though per­haps haven’t made as much of it as they could), or per­haps a Lon­don pub could be an out­sta­tion of the Brew­ing Muse­um in Bur­ton. When you look at the pop­u­lar­i­ty of places like Beamish or Iron­bridge, or the var­i­ous house-muse­ums in Lon­don, there definit­ley seems to be a large mar­ket for this sort of her­itage / social his­to­ry tourism.

  3. Beamish, Iron­bridge and the Black Coun­try Muse­um at Dud­ley all have recon­struct­ed Vic­to­ri­an pubs, although obvi­ous­ly they don’t sell recre­at­ed Vic­to­ri­an beers.

  4. Zythophile – wouldn’t you rather just live near­by and hang around the bar in a top hat and frock coat get­ting mer­ry on Bur­ton?

    Tom/Curmudgeon – it’s true, there are lots of his­toric pub exhibits, none of which (as far as we know) serve any beer. The Dock­lands Muse­um has a nice recre­ation of a Thames-side pub, and the Muse­um of Lon­don has a few Vic­to­ri­an streets includ­ing a pub.

    1. Not sure about Iron­bridge, but the Beamish and Dud­ley exam­ples both serve beer (the Dud­ley one, IIRC, Holden’s Bit­ter).

  5. As some­one who works in the muse­um exhi­bi­tions biz, “…a small but well formed exhi­bi­tion on the his­to­ry of Lon­don brew­ing…” is a near impos­si­bil­i­ty, because “small” and “his­to­ry of Lon­don brew­ing” are dia­met­ri­cal­ly opposed to each oth­er!

  6. No time to look it up now, but I wrote about this top­ic over at Alan’s blog sev­en years ago or so. I had vis­it­ed the Muse­um of Lon­don and found next to noth­ing relat­ed to beer and pubs. A Lon­don Pub Muse­um was what I had in mind, but that could eas­i­ly be com­bined with a brew­ing his­to­ry muse­um.

    The gin palace across the street from the old Young’s brew­ery – very seedy when I vis­it­ed some years ago, but still with high ceil­ings, mir­rors and glass, could be the place?

Comments are closed.