Categories
pubs

Up the junction: how the Cook’s Ferry Inn became a roundabout

“The Cook’s Ferry Inn? Why do I know The Cook’s Ferry Inn? Oh, yeah – because there’s a roundabout named after it.”

Variations on this statement are fairly common. Baker’s Arms, Green Man, Charlie Brown’s Roundabout – they’re all over London, certainly.

We came across the mention of The Cook’s Ferry Inn in The House of Whitbread magazine for April 1928, a new acquisition for our little library.

It has an eleven-and-a-half page photo feature on the launch of an ‘improved’ incarnation of this old pub at Edmonton, North London, on the way to Chingford. That’s the source of the images in this post.

An old print of the inn.

“The Cook’s Ferry, Edmonton, reproduced from an old print of uncertain date.”

The old pub seems to have been built in the 18th century as a waterside pub and was a local landmark throughout the 19th century. It was also popular with anglers.

In the inter-war years, it was decided to build a great north circular road to connect newly populous outer London neighbourhoods, open up space for industry and provide jobs. In 1927, the stretch between Angel Road, Edmonton, and Billet Road, Chingford was opened.

The old pub with the raised roadway.

“The old Cook’s Ferry… showing its position as the new arterial road was being constructed.” Photo by E.A. Beckett of Loughton.

The rebuilding of the Cook’s Ferry Inn was made necessary by the fact that the new road was higher than the narrow old lane it replaced.

In 1928, this was a grand, well-appointed pub – part of Whitbread’s commitment to make pubs bigger, smarter and more respectable.

Roadside pub.

“A view of the Cook’s Ferry showing the new arterial road looking towards Walthamstow.” Photo by Larkin Bros.

A modern bar.

Saloon Bar. Photo by Larkin Bros.

A basic bar.

Public bar. Photo by E.A. Beckett.

Dining.

Dining room. Photo by Larkin Bros.

Kitchen.

The kitchen, with Whitbread branded rubbish bin. We’re not sure we’ve seen a photo of an inter-war pub kitchen before. Photo by E.A. Beckett.

After World War II, like many of these hard-to-fill inter-war pubs, it had become ‘scruffy’ and morphed into a music venue.

First, it was a jazz club, founded by musician Freddy Randall and his brother Harry in the 1940s.

Then, in the 1960s, it became associated with ‘beat music’, mods and pop music, with performances by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and The Who.

Finally, in the 1970s, the North Circular was widened and the pub was demolished. Now, the spot where it stood is all concrete flyover and brambles.

Even the channel of water it once stood beside has gone.

Still, the name lives on, just about, on bus stops, road signs and maps.

3 replies on “Up the junction: how the Cook’s Ferry Inn became a roundabout”

I remember that the building became a pub again, I think a Berni Inn (or perhaps a Beefeater), as I occasionally visited as a youngster growing up in Walthamstow in the 80s for birthday and special occasion dinners. If I’ve got my dates correct that section of the North Circular Road was widened from around 1988 onwards, and that’s when the pub finally closed and was demolished – and the whole area is now something of a wasteland.

Very interesting article as ever. The picture at the top (date uncertain), is interesting as it portrays a country scene with gentleman angling in what looks like a decent sized river. I guess it speaks volumes for the encroachment of London that the pub is later demolished to form part of the North Circular.

Off topic the North Valley Hotel in Colne was actually on a roundabout, rather than being demolished to make way for a roundabout. Heaven knows what kind of Health and Safety risk that posed for customers at closing time.

Leave a Reply