The Devil Tavern

I saw this sign on an office build­ing on Fleet Street in Lon­don, and was intrigued.
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You don’t see pubs called “The Dev­il” much these days, even though Britain is actu­al­ly much less reli­gious now than it was in the 18th cen­tu­ry.

How did this long-gone booz­er get its dis­tinc­tive name? Well, it was orig­i­nal­ly called “The Dev­il and St Dun­stan”, but St Dun­stan got dropped. Samuel Pepys men­tions the Dev­il Tav­ern sev­er­al times in his diaries.

Here’s a bit on the his­to­ry of the pub:

The noisy “Dev­il Tav­ern” (No. 2, Fleet Street) had stood next the qui­et goldsmith’s shop ever since the time of James I. Shake­speare him­self must, day after day, have looked up at the old sign of St. Dun­stan tweak­ing the Dev­il by the nose, that flaunt­ed in the wind near the Bar. Per­haps the sign was orig­i­nal­ly a com­pli­ment to the goldsmith’s men who fre­quent­ed it, for St. Dun­stan was, like St. Eloy, a patron saint of gold­smiths, and him­self worked at the forge as an ama­teur arti­fi­cer of church plate. It may, how­ev­er, have only been a mark of respect to the saint, whose church stood hard by, to the east of Chancery Lane.

Quo­ta­tion from: ‘Fleet Street: Gen­er­al Intro­duc­tion’, Old and New Lon­don: Vol­ume 1 (1878), pp. 32–53. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45023 . Date accessed: 04 June 2007.

Old article on London Stout

450px-truman_black_eagle_brewery_2005.jpgIn the Novem­ber 1854 edi­tion of Fraser’s Mag­a­zine, there is a fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle called sim­ply “Lon­don Stout”. It paints a vivid pic­ture of how a mid-Vic­to­ri­an Lon­don pub would have looked:

One of the ear­li­est things to strike our coun­try cousins is the uni­ver­sal appear­ance of the names of cer­tain firms, paint­ed in the largest let­ters upon the most florid back­grounds of the numer­ous pub­lic house signs of the metrop­o­lis. “What does ‘Reid’s Entire’ mean?” asked a fair friend of ours the oth­er day, look­ing up with her brown eyes as though she had asked some­thing very fool­ish, and point­ing to the puz­zling inscrip­tion on a neigh­bour­ing sign­board.

Lat­er, the writer describes a street porter-sell­er “with his lit­tle rack of quart mugs brimmed with the frothy liq­uid, or rat­tling the shiny pots against the rails by their sus­pend­ed strap”.

The best sec­tion, to my mind, is a detailed descrip­tion of the inte­ri­or of the brew­ery of Tru­man, Han­bury, Bux­ton and Co at Spi­tal­field, East Lon­don.

After the process of mash­ing the wort is pumped up into a large cop­per, of which ther are five, con­tainig from 300 to 400 bar­rels each, where the wort is boiled with the hops, of which often two tons are used in a-day. The boil­ing beer is now pumped up to the cool­ers. To get a sight of these the vis­i­tor has to per­form a climb­ing process sim­i­lar to that required get at the upper gallery of St Paul’s, and, when he has reached the high­est point lad­ders are capa­ble of tak­ing him, he finds his nose on a lev­el with a black sea, whose area presents a sur­face of 32,000 square feet.

Pho­to adapt­ed from an orig­i­nal by , and used at the Wikipedia arti­cle on the Black Eagle Brew­ery, on Brick Lane.

Was Wellington a fan of IPA?

wellington.jpgOn June 12 1841, The Times ran a sto­ry about how the duke of Welling­ton was greet­ed by the staff and man­age­ment of the famous India pale ale brew­ery at Wap­ping.

On Mon­day last (says a cor­re­spon­dent) dur­ing the aquat­ic pro­ces­sion of the Trin­i­ty Board on the riv­er, the firm of Hodg­son and Abbot, pale ale brew­ers in Wap­ping, adopt­ed a nov­el mode of com­pli­ment­ing the Duke of Welling­ton, Mas­ter of the Trin­i­ty-house, as he passed their premis­es on his way to Dept­ford to be sworn in accord­ing to the annu­al cus­tom for the ensu­ing year. The riv­er frontage was dec­o­rat­ed with flags and ban­ners from the cor­ners of which hung bot­tles of India pale ale.

Lat­er:

A Par­ty of Con­ser­v­a­tive gen­tle­men in the draw­ing-room [of the brew­ery]… drank the health of his Grace when the shal­lop in which he was seat­ed was oppo­site the win­dow… in Her­culean glass­es of strong pale ale, each hold­ing a bot­tle and a half, and his grace appeared much pleased with the com­pli­ment, and bowed to the gen­tle­men assem­bled.

Those glass­es sound cool. How strong was the strong ale…?

Kannenbeer

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This adver­tise­ment from 1905 is for beer in stoneware jugs. The dis­trib­u­tors, based in South Tot­ten­ham, Lon­don, promised to deliv­er a min­i­mum of six jugs to your house in their Own Vans. I love that they claim “Ladies pre­fer it”, and that the “med­ical pro­fes­sion” sup­ports it.

I also find myself eager to try their Extra Nour­ish­ing Stout.

Pimlico Ale – update

We found anoth­er book that men­tions Pim­li­co Ale, which I spoke about in this post a few days ago.

William Carey, in his weird, lim­it­ed edi­tion his­to­ry of the area, pub­lished in 1986, writes:

The most pop­u­lar ale drunk in Lon­don between 1570 and 1700 was ‘Pim­li­co Ale’ oth­er­wise known as ‘Der­by Red Cap’ from the pink tinge of its frothy head. At first pro­duced only in Der­byshire at a farm loca­tion named “Pim­li­co”, it was brought to Lon­don in huge bar­rels down the Watling Way.

This is very inter­est­ing. What makes the head pink/red? Fruit could, but the head on some impe­r­i­al stouts is red­dish brown. More research need­ed – in books on Der­byshire, per­haps…?