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Brentford Pubs Poem

The Brentford Pubs Poem names the beerhouses and public houses you would encounter if you walked westwards from Kew Bridge, along Kew Bridge Road, Brentford High Street and then across Brentford Bridge and along London Road, Brentford End.

Whether the pubs all existed at the same time is doubtful, but one has to admire the effort in creating the poem.

To find out more about many of the local pubs and breweries try Gillian Clegg's book "Brentford & Chiswick Pubs".

Thanks to the person who sent a typescript copy of the poem in 2004. See also another version of the poem, provided by Peter Ranshaw. A third version of the poem was located by Vic Rosewarne in 2017 and appears at the end, with his notes. He has worked out a likely date for when the poems were compiled...

Address: KBR = Kew Bridge Road; LR = London Road; the rest are High Street.

Poem Address Notes
When I was knighted with a Star and Garter KBR  
I was pushed into an Express. KBR  
On my way to Oxford and Cambridge 18 KBR  
I smashed into a Plough. 24 KBR  
And stood aside by the Waggon and Horses, 26 KBR  
Little beyond a Jolly Tar   1
With a Lamb by his side 409  
Receiving a Salutation. 401  
Presently Fox and Hounds dashed by 384  
A beautiful Hand and Flower. 378  
When I met the Marquis of Granby 369  
He fell into the Queens Arms 366  
Tugging with a Barge Aground 361  
A Bull starred me in the face 350  
As I crossed by the Brewery Tap 22  
The Prince of Wales stood the other side 346  
Up above Half Moon and Seven Stars 25  
With a Glittering Star by his side   2
Cross yonder stood a Drum 319  
Attacked by a Lion. 318 3
When I reached Alexandria 307  
I shook hands with George the Fourth. 50  
He advised to Salute the Waterman’s Arms Ferry Lane  
Then I was back into the Kings Arms 273  
Up went the roaring Cannon 267  
At the Rising Sun. 68  
I tried to lift one Ton, 254  
While Britannia stood one side 72 4
And I met the Duke of Cambridge 247  
He told me he had lost his Feathers 232  
A little beyond the Beehive 225  
And a Black Boy and Still 87  
Playing with a Catherine Wheel 94  
As I crossed the Barley Mow 98 5
There was a magnificent Castle 208  
Nearby stood a Lion 198 6
Three Pigeons overhead 195  
With Magpie and Stump, 124  
Beside it Magpie and Crown. 128  
Two Black Boys ... 140  
...ringing Six Bells 149  
Stood staunch the Magnet ... 152  
...with Lord Nelson 154  
I got in the Junction Arms, 166 7
They pushed me into the Duke of Northumberland 11 LR  
Beyond Stood the George and Dragon, 29 LR  
The Standard floating high   8
With the Angel of Peace LR  
When the Coach and Horses passed by LR  

Notes

  1. The Jolly Tar in the poem was before The Lamb; I thought the poem might be referring to the Royal Tar at no. 3, but this lay beyond The Lamb: so perhaps the Jolly Tar was a different pub. (But then why not mention the Royal Tar?)
  2. The Glittering Star is a mystery. Next to the Half Moon and Seven Stars was the Royal Hotel, which was never known as The Star. There was a Star Brewery in the mid C19 but it was in Boston Manor Road (B22).
  3. The Red Lion at no. 318 (Old Brentford)
  4. There was a beerhouse at around no. 72 in 1841 - 1861 (before the High Street was numbered) and it appears to be in about the right place to be the Britannia
  5. A beerhouse was established at no. 98 by 1841; in the 1881 census it was named as The BarleyCORN
  6. The Red Lion at no. 197 (New Brentford)
  7. You would come across the Grand Junction Arms before the Magnet and Lord Nelson
  8. I have not found The Standard on London Road Isleworth
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Another version

In August 2010 Peter Ranshaw sent a scan of the poem (from a newspaper?), accompanying the poem was a headline ' From the days when ale was halfpenny a pail'. This version is one line shorter than the one above, omitting the 'Jolly Tar' reference and there are slight differences in wording:

"When I was knighted with a Star and Garter,
I was pushed into an Express.
On my way to Oxford and Cambridge
I smashed into a Plough,
And stood by the side of the Wagon and Horses
With a Lamb by the side
Receiving a Salutation.
Presently Fox and Hounds dashed by
A beautiful Hand in Flower.
When I met the Marquess of Granby
I fell in to the Queen's Arms
Tugging with a Barge Aground.
A Bull stared me in the face
As I crossed by the Brewery Tap.
The Prince of Wales stood the other side.
Up above was a Half Moon and Seven Stars,
With a Glittering Star by its side.
Cross yonder was a Drum
Attacked by a Red Lion.
When I reached Alexandra
I shook hands with George IV.
He advised me to salute the Waterman's Arms.
Then I was back into the King's Arms.
Up went a roaring Cannon
At the Rising Sun.
I tried to lift One Ton
While Britannia stood one side.
I met the Duke of Cambridge.
He old me he had lost his Feathers.
A little beyond a Beehive
There was a Black Boy and Still
Playing with a Catherine Wheel.
As I crossed to the Barley Mow
There was a magnificent Castle.
Near by stood a Red Lion
With Three Pigeons flying overhead
With Magpie and Stump
And Magpie and Crown.
Two Black Boys were ringing Six Bells.
Standing staunch was the Magnet with Lord Nelson.
I arrived at the Junction Arms,
Calling on the Duke of Northumberland,
With the George and Dragon nearby.
The Standard was flying high.
There was an Angel of peace
When a Coach and Horses passed by.

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Yet another version

In 2017 Vic Rosewarne sent this third (and final?) version found in a 1940 newspaper. He notes 'It is rather better written than the Brentford 51 doggerel, it mainly rhymes and has 24 four line verses. The article appends a list of the High Street pubs in order from Kew Bridge to Brentford End, for the two sides separately, listing most of the pubs closed before 1900.'

Vic has added notes about this third poem and also speculates about the date these poems were written.

*************************************

Middlesex Independent & West London Star, 13 January 1940.
Br. Lib. Ref. No. 958

THE STREET OF FIFTY INNS
Brentford’s Public House Record Recorded In Verse

Three weeks ago a letter appeared in these columns from a reader who said he heard Brentford High Street referred to as The Street of fifty Inns. He asked if any reader could tell him the names of all the public house that could be counted at one time from Kew Bridge to Brentford Canal Bridge.

This week we have received the following verses from a well known Brentonian, who enumerates all the public houses that were to be found in Brentford High Street.

I took a walk through Brentford town
On ‘Copy’ finding bent,
I scanned the buildings up and down
With harrowed feelings pent.

I saw a modest signboard swing
With legend Barge Aground.
Of public houses I’ll take note
Of nothing else till night.

Come by Express to Brentford down
For honours do not barter,
For at the entrance to the town
You’ll find the Star and Garter.

Geographers would never think
At Kew Bridge they would find
Oxford and Cambridge on the brink
Where silvery Thames doth wind.

A Plough the farmer he can get,
Waggon and Horses too,
And if on Lamb his thoughts are set,
He’ll find one close in view.

As o’er the Globe the sailors roam,
The Magnet for their guide,
Their Hope and Anchor is their home
Whatever may betide.

The North Star helps to guide their course
Until the Rising Sun,
And sweet Six Bells their sound discourse
To prove the days begun.

Lord Nelson brave, is twice assigned
To be a beershop’s name
Marquis of Granby much maligned
To public gives the same.

The Duke of Cambridge he might ride
His White Horse in our bounds,
Hunt White Hart near the Windmill’s side
Or follow the Fox and Hounds.

Alexandra and The Prince of Wales
Are both in Brentford found.
A Royal Tar may tell his tales
Ere Eight Bells give their sound.

A Royal Horseguardsman stands quite near
The Standard firm and loyal,
While Patriot and Volunteer
Both guard the Princess Royal.

Here heraldry is in full swing
Displaying curious traces,
Bricklayers Arms before us swing
And Waterman in two places.

Grand Junction Arms are there displayed
Carpenters Arms the same,
While Claremeux would feel dismayed
The Pottery Arms to name.

The Hand and Flower, Red Lion (two)
Bull, Harp and Feathers beside
Half Moon and Crown, and Royal Oak
In which King Charles did hide.

The King’s Arms and the Queen’s Arms both
With soldiers quartered oft,
While George the Fourth seems nothing loath
And looks down from aloft.

With Coach and Horses you may ride
And view Northumberland Arms,
With George and Dragon close behind,
And near an Angel charms.

Half Moon and Seven Stars combined,
And Seven Stars as well,
American and Turk may find
Their national pride to swell.

Black Boy and Still which does not run,
And Barleycorn quite near,
While not far off is The One Tun
Near which The Grapes appear.

As Shovel and Hoe on shoulder borne,
The Bee Hive left behind,
The Jolly Gardeners tired and worn,
Rest at The New Inn may find.

Within The Castle lives a king
Who like a man can’t feel,
Two Black Boys near can dance and sing
Or turn a Catherine Wheel.

A Salutation you may hear
When near the Magpie and Stump
You need not at The Cannon fear
Nor stay The Drum to thump.

Three Pigeons near Magpie and Crown
The Sportsman need not mark,
And Waterman’s Hall in yard far down
He’ll find it not too dark.

My walk is over, my task is done,
I’ve been the signboards round,
I hope I’ve not forgotten one,
Though I have done, I’ll be bound.

Sign of the times it is quite clear
I’ve followed them aright.
I think I’ve earned a glass of beer.
I’ll have one now. Good night.

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From Kew Bridge to Brentford End there were the following public houses :

Right Hand side. -
Express, Lamb, Salutation, Fox and Hounds, Hand and Flower, Marquis of Granby, Queen’s Arms, Barge Aground, Bull, Prince of Wales, The Drum, The Red Lion, Alexandra, King’s Arms, The Cannon, The One Tun, Duke of Cambridge, The Feathers, The Bee Hive, Castle, Old Red Lion, Three Pigeons, Waterman’s Arms, The Ram, Grand Junction Arms

Left Hand side
Star and Garter, Oxford and Cambridge, The Plough, Waggon and Horses, Royal Tar, Half Moon & Seven Stars, The Brewery Tap, The One Star (Royal Hotel), George the Fourth, Waterman’s Arms, Bunch of Grapes, Rising Sun, Sportsman, Black Boy and Still, Catherine Wheel, Magpie and Stump, Magpie and Crown, Two Black Boys, Six Bells, Magnet, Lord Nelson

Brentford End
Northumberland Arms, George and Dragon, Half Moon & Crown, Angel, Coach and Horses

*************************************

PUBS LISTED IN POEM:
Vic noted the following names:
Barge Aground
Express
Star and Garter
Oxford and Cambridge
Plough
Waggon and Horses
Lamb
Globe
The Magnet
Hope and Anchor 10
North Star
Rising Sun,
Six Bells
Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson
Marquis of Granby
The Duke of Cambridge
White Horse
White Hart
Windmill 20
Fox and Hounds
Alexandra
The Prince of Wales
A Royal Tar
Eight Bells
Royal Horseguardsman
The Standard
Patriot
Volunteer
Princess Royal 30
Bricklayers Arms
Waterman Arms
Waterman Arms
Grand Junction Arms
Carpenters Arms
Pottery Arms
The Hand and Flower,
Red Lion
Red Lion
Bull 40
Harp
Feathers
Half Moon and Crown
Royal Oak
The King’s Arms
Queen’s Arms
George the Fourth
Coach and Horses
Northumberland Arms
George and Dragon 50
Angel
Half Moon and Seven Stars
Seven Stars
Black Boy and Still
Barleycorn
The One Tun
The Grapes
Shovel and Hoe
The Bee Hive
Jolly Gardeners 60
The New Inn
The Castle
Two Black Boy
Catherine Wheel
Salutation
Magpie and Stump
The Cannon
The Drum
Three Pigeons
Magpie and Crown 70
Sportsman
Waterman’s Hall 72

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Vic's Notes

There is the mention of Claremeux, in the context of heraldry, a google search seems to imply that this referred to William Camden, Clarenceux, King of Arms, in the reigns Elizabeth I and James I; who was incidentally called the father of English Local History !

The line - “Within The Castle lives a King” - this is a reference to George King who was landlord of the Castle 1871-77. In a couple of newspaper articles he is humorously referred to as the “King of the Castle.”

The lines
      American and Turk may find
      Their national pride to swell.

is I assume a reference to the flags of the two countries, the American Stars and Stripes and the Red Crescent and Star, the emblem of the Ottoman Empire from 1844.

Checking the poem with the 1882 List of houses I sent you, I found almost all of the pubs extant at the time are included, the only ones missing were : --
      The Royal Hotel
      The Brewery Tap - by the Royal Brewery
      The Brewery Tap, Catherine Wheel Yard
      The Crown and Anchor, if that is not the Crown mentioned in the poem

The omission of the Royal Hotel is strange, that of the Brewery Taps can explained as the writer may not have considered them as separate houses, from their breweries.

The three others missing were where there were two pubs of the same name : --
      King's Arms, High Street & Boston Lane
      Jolly Gardeners, Drum Lane & Windmill Lane
      Grand Junction Arms, 12 & 166 High Street.

* * * * * * * *

The almost complete listing of the houses extant around the early 1880s has led me to the following speculation. The Griffin is not included, which opened about January-February 1894, immediately on the closure of the Two Black Boys, which is in the poem. The Griffin was licensed on the consideration that the Two Black Boys would be closed. This transfer is detailed in the article on the Two Black Boys (to be added in coming weeks).

Also the Crown and Anchor is not mentioned, which had closed by March 1883, the poem therefore lists all the houses extant, with the exceptions listed above, for 1883.

I wonder, therefore, whether the poem was written in 1883 or is based on a list compiled during that year, possibly from a trade directory, or from a printed list made at the licensing sessions in March 1883, like the three lists I sent you.

I then looked at the “Other Brentford Poems” and these include the Two Black Boys and again omit the Crown and Anchor. Curiously the Royal Hotel is also omitted. This then gives the same date for these poems of 1883.

The other poems omit the Half Moon (and Crown ?), instead naming the Standard. There was a pub called the Royal Standard in Isleworth, but it was at South Street, in the centre of the town.

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Published December 2008, updated September 2017