Public House: A Cultural and Social History of the London Pub

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Shaped by social, aesthetic and political movements, the extraordinary story of London’s pubs tells the story of the city itself. This book celebrates the incredible diversity, design and culture of London’s public houses from opulent Victorian Gin Palaces and homely medieval Taverns to contemporary Micropubs and community-owned breweries.

Including over 120 pubs from across all 33 London boroughs, Public House traces tales of craft, architecture, music, queer activism, black history, comedy, migration, sport and heritage. Featuring a wide range of contributors including comedian Isy Suttie, musician Bob Stanley, brewer Jaega Wise and politician Rupa Huq, the book is richly illustrated with original drawings and rare archival material, with a Foreword by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.



Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Introductory Essay

Editors Cristina Monteiro and David Knight of architecture and planning practice DK-CM introduce the history of the London Public House as part of the collective social and cultural heritage of the city. 


Jennifer Lucy Allan (Late Junction, The Quietus, The Foghorn’s Lament) on the aural and sonic landscape of the pub, using a memorable visit to the Hackney’s Hope and Anchor.

Nana Biamah-Ofosu (Kingston University, Architectural Association) speaking to 2018 Brewer of the Year Jaega Wise (Wild Card Brewery, The Food Programme) about the new wave of craft brewers moving into pub management, such as at Wild Card Brewery’s just-opened Tavern on the Hill.

Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey (Brew Britannia, 20th Century Pub) on the Fellowship, an improved pub of the interwar period now reaching new audiences and communities in the present.

Artist Ruth Ewan in conversation with Clare Cumberlidge about the artist’s use of the pub in her work and its wider role in culture, in particular focusing on the Mother's Arms, a pub established by Suffragette, Syliva Pankhurst which served as a community and media centre.

Paul Flynn (Good As You: 30 Years of Gay Britain) on London’s unique variety of spaces for LGBTQ+ communities, including the City of Quebec.

Laura C. Forster (History Workshop, Durham University) on the role of the Blue Posts in protecting and nurturing those exiled after the Paris Commune, and explore how pubs have promoted and embodied certain types of political activity.

Orit Gat (The White Review) on the experience of togetherness watching televised sport in The Hare as a means of achieving a sense of belonging in London and the UK.

Architecture critic Phineas Harper (Literary Review, The Spectator, Architectural Review) convenes a roundtable discussion of leading architects and design tutors to discuss the rich design history of the city’s pubs including Daniel Rosbottom, Eleanor Suess, Bernd Schmutz, Timothy Smith Jonathan Taylor.

MP for Ealing and Acton Rupa Huq leads readers on a pub crawl through the varied pubs of Ealing and of popular culture asking what their story says about the future for pubs in outer London.

Jonathan Moses (Bloomberg, Royal Holloway University) exploring the ad-hoc aesthetics of the contemporary pub, from micropub and Community-owned pubs such as the Antwerp Arms to the corporate industrial style of BrewDog.

Neal Shasore, Head of School at the London School of Architecture, explores the interwar ‘Inn Sign’ revival and makes a plea for a re-engagement with design and craft in the pub industry.

Bob Stanley (Saint Etienne, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop, Excavate!: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall) on the role of the pub function room and ‘the band in the corner’ as part of the pub’s vital role in fostering independent music.

Actor, comedian and author Isy Suttie (Peep Show, The Actual One, Jane is Trying) on the pub’s role in promoting and hosting stand-up comedy.

Luke Turner (The Quietus, Out of the Woods) on the Woodbine Inn as a pub on the very edge of the city and what’s possible in the periphery.

Lily Waite (Beer Writer of the Year 2020, Queer Brewing Project) on the future of the pub as a queer space.

Design and production

ISBN: 978-1-9160169-2-7
240mm x 170mm x 20mm
205 pages
Edited by David Knight and Cristina Monteiro
Designed by Studio Christopher Victor
Published by Open City