The Poshing up of the Chequers

The Chequers, London E17.

When we lived in Waltham­stow in East Lon­don, we nev­er once vis­it­ed the Che­quers, halfway up the High Street in the mid­dle of the famous mar­ket. We admired the grand Vic­to­ri­an cor­ner build­ing and enjoyed the Tay­lor Walk­er liv­ery sur­viv­ing on its sign, but it nev­er looked remote­ly invit­ing. In fact, it looked down­right threat­en­ing.

The Krays moved to Waltham­stow when they’d made a bit of mon­ey and sup­pos­ed­ly made their way to the Che­quers imme­di­ate­ly after bump­ing of George Cor­nell at the Blind Beg­gar in Whitechapel. Every pub in East Lon­don has a Krays sto­ry but, true or not, it says some­thing about the Che­quers’ rep­u­ta­tion. When we read that the land­lord and land­la­dy had vol­un­tar­i­ly closed the pub ‘under police pres­sure’ as a result of accu­sa­tions of drug deal­ing, we weren’t mas­sive­ly sur­prised.

What did mas­sive­ly sur­prise us was the news (gos­sip, for now) that it is to be tak­en over by Antic, the pub chain behind the excel­lent Red Lion in near­by Ley­ton­stone. That should mean a brand-new-vin­tage makeover and an excit­ing range of beer from Lon­don brew­eries and else­where. From a self­ish per­spec­tive, we can’t help but be pleased.

But what about the reg­u­lars? Though it wasn’t our cup of tea, it did have a steady clien­tele, and they’ll prob­a­bly feel as unwel­come in the new Che­quers as we would in the old. Let’s hope the mar­ket (and, indeed, the Mar­ket) con­tin­ues to pro­vide a range of pubs so that every­one can find one in which they’ll feel com­fort­able.

2 thoughts on “The Poshing up of the Chequers”

  1. enjoyed the Tay­lor Walk­er liv­ery sur­viv­ing on its sign …
    That’s the 1980s revival ver­sion, using the logo of the old Can­non brew­ery, Clerken­well.

    George Cornell’s real name, inci­den­tal­ly, was George Myers: he changed it when young in an attempt to dis­so­ci­ate him­self from some ear­ly ‘form”.

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