I found a great bargain in the Holborn Library 20p book sale this week, “London Free and Dirt Cheap” by Joe Fullman (Frommer’s.)
The copy I obtained was an edition from 2007 but I am sure you’ll be able to find an up-to-date version quite cheap (prices from £3 inc p+p on amazon!)
There’s some classic cheap London moments here and loads of stuff we didn’t know about, e.g. Best Free Hidden Gem: The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, lots of cheap eats ideas including somewhere with the great name of Porky’s Pantry (now sadly closed,) free oddities to visit like The London Stone, free music and concert ideas and free tickets to TV shows too.
Go out and get a copy and get ideas for having fun for (next to) nothing! P
While walking around London this weekend, the family and I stumbled upon Newman’s Passage in Fitzrovia. It’s a small mews that links Newman and Rathbone Street. If you enter by Newman Street you get spat out just under the Newman Arms pub (which is very cosy).
As well as being a very atmospheric little place, it also had a tableau of seal, boy, angels and green shed. I really have no idea what’s going on but the kids liked it.
Also, it had some lovely stencilled letters high up on a wall, which I love.
And if you walk down there one day and wonder where you’ve seen it before…well it used to appear in the opening credits of Minder.
On one of our lunchtime strolls last week, myself and W spotted the change of direction of the salubrious Chatterbox bar in Farringdon Road. It has gone from being just a “topless” bar to a “hostess” bar so it says above the door.
The best thing is, is that the sign’s been economically corrected. They only changed 3 letters thus saving them some signwriters fees into the bargain. Brilliant! P
It’s turning a bit chilly, so let’s hear it for the winter pub. Dark, wood panelled with plenty of ale on tap. And what could be better than the Old Cheshire Cheese at 145 Fleet Street? With it’s complete lack of any natural lighting, you can sit and imagine Dickens’ characters coming to life before your eyes. Or think about the old brothel that used to be upstairs…it’s up to you.
Get in for lunch, and stay till they chuck you out. W
A couple of posts ago W mentioned the “Secret London” book and it reminded me of a great birthday present I received some years ago (cheers Sophie!) It’s a publication from 1973 by Timothy M. Richards and James Stevens Curl called “City of London Pubs” (David and Charles). It’s an exhaustive list of the City’s pubs, even though many of them are no more as the old man’s boozer is fast disappearing in London.
My copy has additional biro marks from a previous owner with the likes of “now demolished”, “semi-clean toilets” and “large dartboard” that adds to the fun. There’s mad pub names mentioned like The Clanger in Houndsditch EC3 (an “All Bar One” now shamefully stands in it’s place ), Ye Olde Crutched Friars in Crosswall, EC3, and The Dandy Roll in Bread Street, EC4. Great eh?
I doubt in forty years time they’ll have a book about today’s coffee houses (Coffee Mates, The Ministry of Nescafe etc), the ones with the same bare-bricked interior, overpriced cakes from the Nigella Lawson cookbook and Shoreditch-type baristas with stubble. Bring back those old man’s pubs! P