From criminals’ hang-outs to writers’ haunts and one-off moments that have changed the lives and course of the country, some of our local pubs have a big story to tell…
1. The Eagle and Child, Oxford
This pub lays claim to some stellar literary heritage – and possibly helped two of our best-loved authors, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, to hone their famous works. The duo and fellow writers, dubbing themselves the Inklings, met here to discuss their writing and nicknamed the pub ‘The Bird and Baby’.
2. Star Tavern, London
The Star has a reputation for having played host to some of the country’s wealthiest and most notorious criminals. In the early 1960s, members of the gang who pulled off the Great Train Robbery would sip champagne, alongside stars like Peter O’Toole and Albert Finney, and plan the heist. Bruce Reynolds, who coordinated the robbery, would apparently drive his Aston Martin from his home in Streatham to meet other members and discuss details.
3. Ye Olde White Hart, Hull
The ‘most historic pub in East Yorkshire’ is inextricably bound up with the Civil War, for it was in a room here in 1642 that the decision was taken to refuse King Charles I entry to Hull. This was said to have been the trigger for the Civil War.
4. The Crescent, Salford
Philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are said to have discussed their ideas and laid the groundwork for the Communist Manifesto in this Grade II listed pub in the 1860s.
5. Brown’s Hotel, Laugharne, Wales
Built in 1752, Brown’s was the favourite watering hole of poet Dylan Thomas, who famously left the bar’s phone number as his own. He loved listening to stories told by the locals here, which may have inspired him to write Under Milk Wood.
6. Kelly’s Cellars, Belfast
It was here in this vibrant pub, that the United Irishmen plotted the 1798 rebellion against English rule. One of the leaders, Henry Joy McCracken was finally caught about 300 yards from the bar.
7. The Angel & Royal, Grantham
In the dining room at this grand hotel and restaurant, Richard III signed the death warrant for the treasonous Duke of Buckingham.
Compiled with the help of Sykes Cottages