Wendover Woods again

Another early morning wake up call could mean only one thing. We are off for another adventure so I can show Lenny more walks and shenanigans in some of the lovely places around the Chilterns. We went for a whizz around the garden. It was a whizz for Lenny but a stroll for me as I have managed to damage my leg so I am on light duties. A quick breakfast and we find ourselves being loaded into the car and off we set. Who knows where? We know not.

Through the town and down the lanes, up the hill and past the pub sadly damaged by fire. The road winds and twists away into the distance as we travel in a direction I find vaguely reminiscent. Lenny leant on me through our travel crate bars and I reassured him that we were probably going somewhere fun and hopefully exciting. We were going somewhere good, as its turns out. Once the car stopped and the boot opened we both arooed as we could smell all the lovely scents of the forest filling our eager noses. This is Wendover Woods I told him. He looked at me blankly. We were harnessed to a human and gently allowed out of the car. When I say gently, what I actually mean is we leapt out and tried to run after the squirrel that had darted across behind us. Mum and dad weren’t particularly impressed.

Sniff, sniff this is fun

Off to the trails, we followed the path down the hill, turning left and right, sniffing all the while in the bracken and scrub which hugged the paths and covered the ground around the trees. There were so many scents here, we were both tired after a fairly short period of time. I looked at Lenny and he had a huge grin on his face, his tongue was hanging out and his eyes were trying to take in as much scenery as they could. We stopped to have a drink of water and found we were on the edge of the woods, with the fields and small villages beyond stretching away to the horizon. Lenny was loving these new scents and sights. I was quite enjoying it as well, to be honest.

This is great, just as you said it would be

We set off and immediately got onto an uphill section of the forest track. This is where our “four paw drive” comes into effect as we helped our respective human climb the hill with relative ease. Just as we thought the walk was over we heard the words “ooh look, there’s a trail to Boddington Hill Fort there, shall we go and see what its like?” We needed no second invitation so Lenny and I set off pulling the parents along the trail.

Is that a squirrel I see?

Back to the car and loaded in for the trip home and I can see that he’s not looking at me blankly any longer. We both fell asleep with “silly grins” on our faces. Another quick whizz around the garden when we arrived home and we were happily snoozing on our comfy beds.

Lenny and I can recommend Wendover Woods, its a great place for furs and humans alike. They even have things for the children to do with tree top walks and adventure areas. And there is the big scary Gruffalo looking out over the landscape. We didn’t see him this time so maybe next time we visit.

Return to Ashridge.

Today we decided that we would take Lenny to Ashridge. This is a National Trust estate between Tring and Berkhamsted, so quite close to where we live. We have visited Ashridge before Lenny arrived and given that it is now 2 weeks since his little operation, we thought it might be a reward for him not licking or chewing stitches whilst he’s been under house arrest.

Setting off in the car, I just dived into the boot so Lenny could understand that the car isn’t bad and, usually, there are good things when we stop and are let out to run around on the end of leads. He’s still a little sheepish about getting into the travel crate, but when he’s in, then he’s fine. In fact he is travelling better now and tends to lie down for a chill and relax. Mum and dad noticed that sometimes we sit up in our crates and lean onto each other as if to reassure ourselves that everything is ok. We are gradually getting Lenny more accustomed to travelling in the car. It was twenty five minutes to Ashridge this morning and he was really good.

When we arrived and the boot was opened I could immediately smell familiar scents. I told Lenny in no uncertain terms that this was going to be fun and it was a pity that we would be on the end of leads, as we would be able to run for hours. However we had to make do with pulling mum and dad around for a while, so this was almost as acceptable.

This is ace.

Across the common and round the edge of the woods we went. Lenny was enjoying all the scents and sights I had told him about. We were looking out for critters in the long grass, but I think they had been warned we were around today. The only downside was that we weren’t allowed in the woods as this was deemed to be “too exciting” for us. We were panting like a couple of steam trains but this doesn’t excuse mum and dad’s meanness at banning us from the woods. I mean, what could we possibly go wrong with a pair of beagles in the woods?

Wonder if that’s where the deer live?
Told you it was fun, didn’t I?

After a couple of hours it was decided we should return home. We slept most of the way back home so we had a great time and it was a good way to show Lenny another place we can enjoy. We took a slightly longer route home so it would test Lenny a bit more in the car. Forty minutes or so and he passed with flying colours.

Return to Jeffrey Johnson’s pubs

As many of my friends and followers will remember, I saw a blog a while ago on Spitalfieldslife.com relating to some old pubs photographed by a gentleman called Jeffrey Johnson. As a result in April 2019 I sent my dad off to London to investigate if the pubs were still present and, if not, find out what is there in its place.

There were a number of extra photographs in the collection held at the Bishopsgate Institute which hadn’t been published. So we decided it was about time dad was allowed another day off and we packed him off to stroll through the streets of London. Thirteen miles of walking later, this is his report on a number of pubs and other buildings some of which appear to have ceased any existence and others which have changed their use.

All the original photographs taken from the 1960’s – 1980’s are the property of Jeffrey Johnson. All the new photographs are the property of me, @rescuedogdexter.

Wheatsheaf, Stoney Street, London Bridge

The pub was rebuilt in 1840. It was given Grade II listing in 1998 and then closed temporarily in 2009 for four years whilst the top storey was removed to allow another railway bridge to be placed directly above. Sadly the pub was caught up in the London Bridge attack in 2017.

Fullers pub, Monument

For a Fullers pub, there appears to have been a dearth of information on it. We believe it was called the Monument and was present until shortly after 1987. It was redeveloped as offices, a bar and Boots the Chemist amongst other stores.

Mappin & Webb, Bank Junction

The old Mappin & Webb building was designed in 1870 by a gentleman called John Belcher. It had listed status. Despite such protection, it was demolished in 1993 to make way for One Poultry which was completed in 1997. The building stands on the corner of Queen Victoria Street and Cheapside. It houses offices and, at one time, a rooftop bar.

St Ethelburga’s Church, Bishopsgate

First recorded in 1250 as St Adelburga the virgin, the church was rebuilt around 1411. At some time during the 16th century it had a wooden porch placed over the entrance to house 2 shops in order that the church could raise more money. The church was extensively damaged in 1993 when an IRA bomb was placed around 30 feet from the entrance and caused major damage to Bishopsgate. It was rebuilt in its original manner after a public outcry over plans for the building to be removed and altered significantly. The church is Grade I listed. It is now a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Magpie & Punchbowl, 86 Bishopsgate

A short distance along Bishopsgate from St Ethelburga’s was situated the Magpie & Punchbowl. It occupied a corner plot with one of the old alleyways prevalent in London through history, being Clarks Place leading to Wrestlers Court. This hostelry was another victim to the IRA bomb which devastated Bishopsgate in 1993. It was rebuilt and incorporated into an office block. However this was also subsequently demolished and is now part of the 100 Bishopsgate office project.

Aldgate office block

Aldgate is a ward in The City of London. It is bounded on the east by the line of the former London Wall, part of which remains and can be seen in an office just out of view in the photographs. The area bounded by Aldgate (the street itself) and Duke’s Place is now pedestrianised. The office itself is somewhat of a mystery regarding who owned it, or who was housed within.

The Rising Sun, Tower Bridge Approach

The Rising Sun appears to have been located in the Tower Hill, Mansell Street and Shorter Street triangle. The address was 12 Royal Mint Street, which is to the left of the old photograph. Due to the building of an office it was not possible to obtain a similar view to the original photograph, however the view toward Tower Bridge and St Katharine’s Way is clearly shown. The pub was closed in 1969 but was still present to be photographed in 1977.

Old Red Lion, 24-29 Whitechapel High Street, E1

Situated next to one of the entrances to Aldgate East Underground station, the Old Red Lion was built around 1835 and demolished in 1983. The older picture shows the pub between the Underground entrance and Lloyds Bank, and the P&O London office of Beagle House rising ominously to the rear. Now it is all swept away, with Aldgate Tower standing on the site. The entrance to Aldgate East remains (remodelled) on the right side of the latest photograph.

Christ Church Spitalfields E1

The church hasn’t changed since the original photograph was taken. However the surrounding area has altered significantly. The London Wool Exchange, in the row of buildings to the right of the church in the first picture, is now a glass office block with only a facade of the old brick frontage remaining. Spitalfields Market to the left of the pictures now houses a number of boutique shops and restaurants along with a market.

Turks Head, 308 Brick Lane E1

Located at the northern end of Brick Lane a pub has existed on the site since approximately 1790. Originally addressed as 1 Turk Street before Brick Lane was extended. The pub was still open in 1968 and demolished sometime thereafter. The location of the pub on Turk Street appears to be on the corner of Virginia Road and Chambord Street.

Manchester Arms, 155 Hackney Road E2

A pub was on the site sometime prior to 1872. It had a name change in 1991 and was subsequently closed in 1994. It became retail premises and has been a ladies hairdresser, a taxi office and currently is a barbershop.

The Sporting Life, Wilmot Street, E2

Located close to Bethnal Green Overground station, a pub has been present since before 1792. The pub was originally called the Lamb. Its name was changed in later years to The Sporting Life. It was closed in 1993 and converted to residential use.

Hat & Feathers 2 Clerkenwell Road EC1M

A pub has been open on this site between 1782 and 1990, then closed for around 17 years and reopened between 2007 and 2011. It is now closed again and there seems to be no sign of any re-opening. A former Taylor Walker pub.

Princess of Wales 1 Bridport Place, N1

This was a difficult pub to locate due to the lack of information available from the initial picture. There are a number of pubs called Princess of Wales. The pub was bombed in 1944 during WWII and was completely demolished. Left derelict for a considerable period of time, housing now occupies the site.

Blue Coat Boy 415 City Road, EC1

The pub was known as the Blue Angel at the time of its demolition in 1990. Offices now occupy the space, with a home-brew pub called the Brewhouse & Kitchen on the ground floor.

Kings Arms, Gard Street, off Moreland Street EC1

A Banks & Taylor pub. Appears to have been opened around 1810 and closed in 1974. Subsequently demolished to make way for flats.

Cannon Brewery 160 St John Street, EC1

Founded in 1720 by Rivers Dickinson, John Dickinson & Richard Dickinson. Two of them were then declared bankrupts in 1817. It changed hands a number of times more. In 1863 it was owned by George Hanbury & Barclay Field. It became a Registered Company in 1895 with 110 public houses allied to the brewery. The business was acquired by Taylor Walker in 1930 and became Ind Coope (London) Ltd in 1960.

The White Horse 90 Fetter Lane EC4

A pub was present by 1766 and known in the early years as the Oxford House as it was the starting point for the stage coaches heading for Oxford. It was rebuilt in the style of the first photograph around 1899 and subsequently closed and then demolished in 1989. An office was built in its place, which was again demolished and replaced by the office seen in the latest picture.

The Globe, 1 Hosier Lane, Little Britain EC1A

Locating this pub was interesting. It is shown as No.7 Hosier Lane, however records show it as No.1 Hosier Lane. The building believed to currently occupy the site is shown as No.23 Hosier Lane. Located to the south of Smithfield Market, the former Charringtons pub had been open between 1869 – 1961.

Old King Lud 12 Ludgate Circus

The pub was built in 1870, purchased by Isaac Levy in 1894 and became part of the Chef & Brewer chain of pubs, selling Whitbread beer. A couple of closures followed for refurbishments until it was closed permanently in 2005 and turned into mixed use office and cafe.

Baynard Castle, 148 Queen Victoria Street EC4

On the corner of Queen Victoria Street and St Andrew’s Hill just south of St Pauls Cathedral, the pub was renamed Cos Bar in 2006 and is now a bar and restaurant called Rudds Bar.

We hope you enjoyed our walk through some of the lesser known parts of London. Sadly too many of the establishments have disappeared from sight, however their presence is maintained through the photographic records.

Marigold, our friend

I was going to write a blog this week on another set of wonderful people who rescue dogs and bring them to the safety and security of loving homes here in the UK. However, I heard some awful news overnight about one of my dear friends, who I never met, but whom I felt I knew.

I am writing too many blog articles about friends who are going to the Rainbow Bridge. Today is no exception and it fills me with dread and quite some sorrow to be tackling the subject once more.

Marigold lived in Midwest America, she was 13 and a half which is a pretty good age for a beagle. Marigold was one of the happiest, laid back, most outgoing and friendly pals I have ever woofed with.

Marigold happy as usual

Marigold was always out exploring the lake, the park, the parking lot and even the takeaway section of the local burger joint. She loved life, she never had a cross woof for any body or any pal. She is a thoroughly decent, kind and lovely friend.

Enjoying a stroll by the lake

Everyone loved Marigold and Marigold loved everyone. She passed to the Rainbow Bridge peacefully and with a piece of her mum and dad’s hearts going with her. If I am truthful, she has taken a piece of all her friends hearts with her. It is an honour to know of you Marigold, and it is an equal honour to know that I am one, amongst many, of your friends.

Come on, the critters are over here

Run free dear sweet Marigold for you are out of pain and suffering. Farewell my friend until we meet again and you can show me the way across the Rainbow Bridge. Today I patrolled in your honour.

Farewell sweet Marigold

Farewell but never goodbye, Marigold my friend. The world seems a little emptier today.

I have something in my eye.

Rest easy Winston

Sometimes I come across a fur who inspires so many people to do so many things.

I had the honour and good fortune to be able to interview Winston the Brave a short while ago and what came across in our discussion was the strength of character, resolve and determination to make sure that perceived disabilities did not hinder Winston’s desire to live as fun a life as possible.

Winston, Bruv (Maxx) and Mumz were a gang, a unit, a band of brothers if you will. They were given some potentially bad news about Winston with regard to a cyst on his spine that needed an operation. There was scar tissue and the initial diagnosis was “it would be easier to have him put to sleep”. This infuriated Mumz who saw clear and irrefutable evidence that Winston wasn’t in pain and needed some assistance instead of going on the longest journey too soon. Thanks to Mumz perseverance and Winston’s sheer determination to be as happy as possible for as long as possible, he lived on for many years after the operation. He got about fairly well on his hot wheels custom made for on road and off road travel. He had Mumz to help him all the while which allowed him to set up Zombie Squad. Bruv was the henchman, the sidekick who kept most of the ZS troops in line, when he wasn’t on the Baileys.

Now, whilst the primary reason of Zombie Squad was to fight the evil scourge of the zombie armageddon which humans are clearly failing to do properly, there was also the secondary reason behind it. So many people signed their dogs, cats, budgies, rabbits, horse etc up for Zombie Squad that it became an International service for fighting the undead. What it showed was that people from all over the world could come together and show compassion, kindness and civility to each other.

Winston took the longest journey on Easter Sunday. He had been suffering quietly for a while and decided that the time had come for him to join Bruv over the Rainbow Bridge. Whether he will join Bruv in the bar is another question entirely. His passing was mourned with sadness by many of his friends. However there also seems to be a sense of joy that so many people knew of Winston, were part of Zombie Squad, enjoyed reading his tales of adventure, enjoyed his cheeky backchat about Mumz and saw what he was able to do through Zombie Squad. To bring so many people together to be pleasant and thoughtful is a wonderful gift.

I never met Winston in the fur. I feel sorry that I did not do so. But I feel gladdened that I had the chance to woof with him, listen to him and to get some understanding of the fine fellow fur that he was. Rest easy Winston for your work here is done. Your legacy will live on, I am certain. That a dog with perceived disabilities was able to have an influence on so many is wonderful. Disabled, my paw. He had so much ability, strength, resilience and love in his paws that it was scary to consider.

Farewell Winston sir, never goodbye. Until we meet again, rest easy. *Saloots.

Vanishing pubs of London

As some of my readers will know, I have been to London a couple of times and enjoyed exploring the city very much. So when, some time ago, my dad saw a blog written by The Gentle Author, our inquisitive nature came to the fore. The Gentle Author is a blogger and writer, based in Spitalfields which is on the boundary of East London and the City. The blog in question related to some photographs taken by a gentleman called Jeffrey Johnson. Mr Johnson subsequently deposited the photographs with the Bishopsgate Institute. They were taken in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s and were of various pubs in London. Whilst looking through the photographs, we realised that some of the pubs were no longer there. As a result of our interest, we decided I would send out my Research Assistant, also known as my dad, to investigate whether the pubs were still standing. If they were no longer there, what is in their place, we wondered.

Over a few days dad photographed, we believe, the locations of the pubs and this blog deals with what he found. I must at this point say thank you to both the Gentle Author and to Bishopsgate Institute, without whose assistance and guidance this blog entry could not take place. The photographs are arranged in the order in which they originally appeared, with Jeffrey Johnson’s picture being shown first.

The Hoop & Grapes, Aldgate

It is the oldest licensed house in the City of London, dating from 1593. Originally called The Castle, then the Angel & Crown, then Christopher Hills and finally the Hoop & Grapes. This is a reference to the sale of both beer & wine and was given the name in the 1920’s. The pub is a Grade II listed building.

Sir Walter Scott, 2 Broadway Market E8

The first reference we could find of the pub was 1851. The pub is now the Market Cafe. It stands on the corner of Broadway Market and Andrews Road, close by the Regents Canal.

City of Dublin Bottling Co., Dericote Street, nr Broadway Market E8

The building appears remarkably similar however it is clearly a private residence now. The history is somewhat shrouded in mystery, although we understand that it was part of the Guinness empire.

Knave of Clubs, 25 Bethnal Green Road E2

Grade II listed, present in 1735 the pub became a restaurant around 1994 before closing in 2001. It has since reopened as a bar & restaurant called Dirty Bones which is still open today.

Crown & Woolpack 394 St John Street, Clerkenwell

Believed to date originally from around 1851, the pub was open until 1990, then closed. It has undergone some refurbishment and is currently a hairdressers, called The Chapel.

Centre Page, Knightrider Street EC4V

Originally known as the Horn Tavern, the pub can be seen on the left when crossing the “wobbly” bridge from Tate Modern to the north bank approaching St Pauls. Another Grade II listed building, this time built in the mid 19th century. The other buildings in the area around the pub have changed significantly.

Brunswick Arms, Macdonald Road, Archway

The pub appears to have been on the corner of Macdonald Road & Vorley Road. It was demolished in the early 1980’s. The Archway Leisure Centre stands adjacent to the site and there is no trace of the pub. The flats behind the pub remain.

Queens Head, 31 Blackfriars Lane EC4V

The pub was situated immediately adjacent to the Thameslink rail line at Blackfriars. It was demolished in 1999 and now offices are in its place.

Crooked Billet, Wood Street & Chingford Road, Walthamstow

It’s believed a pub was on the site from 1742 – 1991. It was subsequently demolished for a roundabout known as The Crooked Billet on the A406 North Circular Road.

Old Bell Tavern, Pancras Road

The history of this pub appears to be difficult to come by and very little seems to be on record. The building has been swept away to provide taxi ranks and a pedestrianised area for King’s Cross and St Pancras stations. The German Gymnasium in the background of both pictures was the first purpose built gymnasium in England. It was built between 1864-1865 and today is a restaurant.

Magpie & Stump

Opposite the Old Bailey (or the Central Criminal Court) the Magpie & Stump was apparently nicknamed Court no.10 as it was regularly filled with detectives and reporters to discuss the proceedings. The old building has been replaced by an office incorporating the pub.

Mackworth Arms, 158 Commercial Road, E1

The pub was present in 1817 and closed around 2005. It’s latest use seems to be a clothes shop, however that also looked like it had been closed for a while.

Red Lion, 217 Whitechapel Road

Originally known as the Old Red Lion, the pub was present by 1839, when it became known as the Red Lion. It survived as a pub until around 1989 and is currently a shoe store under the name Sidhu.

Green Man, 7&9 Bucklersbury, St Benet Sherehog, EC4

The pub was situated in St Benet Sherehog, which now seems to be Sise Lane. It was demolished to allow the building of One Poultry, which was completed in 1997. There is another Green Man pub incorporated into the One Poultry development.

Marquis of Anglesey, 77 Ashmill Street, NW1

The address was changed prior to 1915 from 77 Devonshire Street to Ashmill Street. The pub closed around 2009 and became offices.

Bulls Head, 80 Leadenhall Street, EC3A

Demolished in 1990 to make way for an office development. Opposite Hartshorn Alley leading to Fenchurch Street.

White Horse, 8 Little Britain

Now known as 1 Little Britain. The sign is hidden behind the barred gate. There seems to have been a pub on the site since 1765, it was rebuilt in 1892 and closed around 1971. Converted to offices.

Olde Wine Shades, Martin Lane, EC4R

Now seems to be called El Vino The Olde Wine Shades, the pub remains on the same site. The establishment was built in 1663, so predates the Great Fire of London by 3 years. Due to the architectural and historical significance, it is Grade II listed.

The Crispin, 1 Finsbury Avenue EC2M

The original pub appears to have been rebuilt in the 1980’s and was then redeveloped as part of the Broadgate Development. It closed permanently in 2012. We cannot find details as to when the pub was first noted on the site of Finsbury Avenue.

Blue Posts, 73-75 West India Dock Road E14

The area has changed out of all recognition from the original photo. Westferry DLR station sits just a little behind the location of the pub. The original pub was present by 1800 and extensively rebuilt by 1876. It was demolished around 1987 – 1988 for the widening of the West India Dock Road.

Ticket Porter, Arthur Street, EC4R

The early address shows as 5 Arthur Street West however by 1910 it was shown as 17 & 19 Arthur Street. It is thought that the name came from the Ticket Porters who’s job it was to carry goods across London. The site is now redeveloped as part of the Bank interchange upgrade. The latest photograph was taken from slightly further down the hill toward Upper Thames Street.

Weavers Arms, 36 Sun Street, Finsbury EC2M

There appears to have been a pub called Weavers Arms since 1869 when it was thought to be at 13 Crown Street. The pub appears to have been demolished as part of the Broadgate Development and is known as 3 Finsbury Avenue which has taken the place of the southern side of Sun Street.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog. As you will see, some of the pubs still remain and are open for business. However sadly many are closed, redeveloped or swept away in the tide of change and progress that is forever present in cities such as London.

The Gentle Author’s blog can be found at http://spitalfieldslife.com and the Bishopsgate Institute can be contacted through their website at https://www.bishopsgate.org.uk . They have many interesting articles and information for everyone to view and enjoy.

Wendover Woods wander

Come on, come on. The sun is up, the sky is blue, I am a Beagle, I need a view. What do you mean it’s only 7 am. Ugh lazy bones. Boing, boing, boing, arooo. The day has begun and here I am waiting on my parents to get themselves together.

Uh oh, this could be trouble, as I see both of them putting on their walking shoes. And dad has the car keys. I may live to regret waking them up “early” as there seems to be a steely determination in their eyes. They’ve not even had breakfast and I am being harnessed and made ready to go. What delights await me today? Into the car and off we go, through the lanes and past the rescue centre that I came from. Down the hill and I have no idea where we are. I have never been here before. Excellent a new adventure!

Somewhere new to explore.

As we park, mum is quickly around to get me out of the travel crate and my eyes take in the view. Trees, trees and more trees. This can only mean one thing. Squirrels. And walks. And fun. And shenanigans. OK that’s four things but hey I am a beagle and usually only count the minuscule amount of noms on my tongue.

It appears that none of us have been to Wendover Woods before so we set off at some speed. Well, not exactly speed as sadly I am shackled to mum. At least I have some leeway for pulling instead of having to drag dad around. The scents fill my nose, the sights fill my eyes, the sounds of the woodland creatures fill my ears, the gravel path is under my paws so I only need to taste some stagnant puddle water to have to full sensory experience.

Lets go on the Hillfort walk I hear them say. Pffft I’m not having that, we are going on the Firecrest walk and we divert quickly off the intended path. It’s mighty warm trying to investigate all the new places that I am trying my best to reach as quickly as possible so I am drinking plenty of water.

Dogs everywhere, having fun

There are so many other dogs out here enjoying it all, as well. Most of them are off lead so can wander in and out of the trees and undergrowth. I know I am not allowed off lead so will enjoy myself in my own special way. Come on mum, hurry up.

The lovely Chilterns

Through the woods and along the track, up hill, down hill and then around the zigzag bends. That’s a nice view they think, however I still have much dexploration left in my paws. There are so many smells here that I want to smell them all at the same time. More water and I am starting to slow a little. This is warm, but not that warm. Maybe I’m getting a bit old, who knows. Anyway, not to worry, we are off again and I can smell a squirrel in the trees. But which tree?


Slow down? Pffft.

All too soon we are climbing the hill toward the car and the inevitable return journey home, but there seems to be a large monster looking at me. I have my picture taken with the Gruffalo and we are off to the car for the return journey.

What do you mean, he’s behind you.

That was great fun. I didn’t know about Wendover Woods. I had such a good time and saw so many things. I am definitely going back.

Follow in my paw steps