Revealed: What's in a London pub name

Royal Docks pub named after sailing ship

The Windjammer in the Royal Docks is named after a type of sailing ship - Credit: Annabel Staff

London is renowned for its bustling pub scene. 

The beauty of the capital is that, whatever your tipple, there are pubs aplenty to explore. 

We can all easily reel off the names of our favourite haunts, but fewer of us know their origins.

Luckily, Sam Cullen and James Potts have written a book on the very subject. 

‘What’s in a London Pub Name?’ is a real labour of love for the pair, who were inspired to write the book while walking through London in lockdown. 

Sam told the Recorder that while neither he or James are authors by trade, he has always been a pub enthusiast. 

“What I like about pubs is that there’s such a variety. I also appreciate what they are to communities – a real anchor.” 

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Once set in their idea, James contacted publisher Capital History. 

They were receptive to the pitch, and the co-authors got to work in around April last year.

Gathering information in a variety of ways – through library and internet research, alongside face-to-face conversations – Sam and James spent around six months pulling together their masterpiece. 

Sam explained that Newham, while admittedly not the capital's biggest pub hotspot, has a rich and intriguing history.

"Newham still provides plenty of fascinating stories in our book," said Sam.

"This varies from reminders of the borough's industrial heritage, like the Henley Arms in North Woolwich, named after a company which used to manufacture underwater cables locally, to those that look even further back, such as the Miller's Well in East Ham, referencing an old spring that once existed nearby."

This trend has continued with newer pubs in the borough, such as the Windjammer in the Royal Docks that's named after "a type of sailing ship which would have been seen working the Thames in the 19th century".

To buy your copy, visit this link.