LocalThis was the road between two large farms, a main route south from London. The inn was there before 1800, maybe a long time before. Records from 1805 show a wooden building. The present red-brick pile dates from 1865, around the time the farms were sold off in parcels to developers and the sprawling suburb of Victorian villas, large and small, began to grow where fields of corn and sheep had been.
The inn was a stage for horse-drawn coaches, then a terminus for trams and later buses, the pivotal point of continuity in a landscape undergoing great change.
A few years ago it was bought by a big brewery and became one of their ubiquitous chain. In the face of loud local protests – a rare phenomenon in this quiet patch of commuterland, they changed the more-than-two-hundred-year-old name. All their pubs have the same name, you see. It’s one of those slightly ironic plays on traditional pub names.