Pubs have been a major part of Stoke Newington’s social and cultural fabric for centuries. The predecessors of the Public House as we know it today were Inns and Taverns that were built along main roads and junctions and offered travellers a place to eat, rest, water their horses and spend the night.
The Victorian building boom
The Victorian Public House with its lavish architecture, which mimicked the grand style of the Gin Palaces, emerged in the 19th century. As Stoke Newington was transformed during the Victorian building boom of the 1860s-1890s from a countryside village into a densely populated London district, its old Inns and Taverns were rebuilt as pubs and many new Public Houses sprung up to cater for the growing population.
Building development was different between the area south and north of Stoke Newington Church Street, which had an impact on the distribution of Public Houses in the parish, and later Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington.
The North and South divide
The area south of Church Street, referred to as the ‘Southern Division’ in annual reports of the Medical Officer of Health for Stoke Newington, was divided between different estates/landowners. The result was piecemeal development of relatively narrow streets and 2-storey artisan houses typically. In contrast, the area north of Church Street, historically the manorial land, was acquired by the Church Commissioners in 1881. Building development in the ‘Northern Division’ was more controlled and may have prohibited the building of Public Houses, though I don’t know that for a fact, yet.
The houses in the ‘Northern Division’ in streets such as Lordship Road, Lordship Park, Bethune Road and Heathland Road were relatively larger with wider streets than the ‘Southern Division’, and the leafy and quiet area attracted more affluent residents such as business owners, judges and politicians. In 1904, the population south of Church Street was double that of the ‘Northern Division’, which was purely residential without shops, workshops, factories and Public Houses. It’s no surprise that 19 of the 23 pubs in the walk are in the ‘Southern Division’.
About the walk
The walk is 6.5km/4mi starting outside Stoke Newington Police Station in the High Street where The Victoria was and finishing in Seven Sisters Road right in the middle between Green Lanes and Blackstock Road where the Hornsey Wood Tavern once stood.
The walk includes 22 locations of former pubs (including two Beer Houses). 10 pub buildings still stand and have been converted for residential use. The walk is divided into two sections:
- The Southern Division (South of Stoke Newington Church St): 4.2km/2.6mi covering 17 location locations:
- The Victoria, 33 Stoke Newington High Street [Demolished]
- The Earl of Warwick, 9 Beatty Road
- The Prince Albert, 33 Victorian Road [Demolished]
- The Nevill, 31 Nevill Road
- The Prince of Wales, 1 Allen Road [Demolished]
- Allen Arms, 8 Allen Road
- The Woodman, 190 Boleyn Road
- The Arundel Arms, 158 Boleyn Road [Demolished]
- The Howard Arms, 21 Howard Road [Demolished]
- Freeholders Arms, 28 Howard Road [Demolished]
- The Captain Cook, 37 Howard Road[Demolished]
- The Freemasons Tavern, 61 Howard Road [Demolished]
- Ebor Arms, 75 Howard Road
- The Atlas, 25 Winston Road
- The Pegasus, 109 Green Lanes
- The Albion, 2 Clissold Road
- The Falcon, 151 Stoke Newington Church Street [Demolished]
- The Northern Division (North of Stoke Newington Church St): 2.4km/1.5mi covering 5 locations:
- Free Trade, 17 Edward’s Lane
- Lordship Park Tavern, Lordship Park/Queen Elizabeth’s Walk [Demolished]
- The Happy Man, 89 Woodberry Grove [Demolished]
- Manor House Tavern, 316 Green Lanes
- Hornsey Wood Tavern, 376 Seven Sisters Road [Demolished]
You can see below when the pubs were active:
Area covered in the walk
The boundaries of the walk are those of the former Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington, which was formed in 1900 and abolished in 1965 when the boroughs of Stoke Newington, Shoreditch and Hackney were merged to create the London Borough of Hackney. I wrote a self-guided 9km walk around the boundaries of the Borough of Stoke Newington if you ever want to do you own ‘Beating the Bounds’ walk at some point.
A special thanks to Lyn Rennick, who helped with the research for this walk.
We loved the Boundary walk so much that a week later we did the Lost Pubs walk, and this was even better…so atmospheric, so interesting. This time we followed the walk from my phone…Amir has unearthed some great pics of some of the old, now lost, pubs…this walk is genuinely brilliant. Can’t wait for his next walk, really can’t.
“This is another really enjoyable walk that took me places and told me things about Stoke Newington I had no idea about before. It’s sad these pubs have closed, but perhaps it’s encouragement for us to take a break from the tour by stopping off in one of the surviving pubs it passes by, to ensure they don’t go the same way.”
Leo Walton: “Meeting a few friends to have a run around our neighbourhood has become a ritual in the latest phase of lockdown, having lived in the area (originally with this group of guys) for 8 years we all have our own routes and streets we like running. So meeting to do the Ghost Pubs Route was a great change, and really helped see Stoke Newington with fresh eyes.
It was incredibly interesting to see how 60s apartment developments, blitz bombs and the need for more housing had led to a few of the pubs completely disappearing, and I’d recommend strolling down Howard Rd, which originally had 5 pubs and now is a huge development with not a single one! Other highlights were the Atlas, which is a beautiful building, and I imagine was a top boozer; and the Happy Man (only recently closed) which is being torn down to make way for a housing development, and the beautiful tree at the front that locals are trying to protect from the bulldozers. So indeed the need for more housing is not just part of the neighbourhood’s history, but its present too.
We had a great time jogging around before heading home to start the working day. Try the route, it’s incredibly interesting and thought provoking, plus a great way to keep connected with friends when the the world is upside down.